There are some people at my college who are starting to think protesting is the new “cool” thing to do.
Two weeks ago several aggressive flyers with statements such as “stop denying transgender rights” and “you can’t control where I have to pee” were stuck up against the glass windows of my college’s cafeteria. I soon learned that the LGBT community on campus desired a greater number of transgender bathrooms on campus. The signs got so aggressive (one stated “here’s what students have to say about transgender people: transgender people are shaming the name of God) that administrators called for an open session to discuss the issues surrounding the demand for gender neutral bathrooms on campus. My friends and I agreed that we would go to the discussion to support the assignment of some bathrooms as gender neutral, but not all of them. One of my main concerns with making dorm bathrooms gender neutral is unfortunately there are sexual predators who will take advantage of the situation.
When I arrived at the meeting, I was surprised by what the actual leaders of the LGBT community had to say. The main student spokesperson said, “We would like to have one gender neutral bathroom in every non-residential building on campus.” The spokesperson and other prominent LGBT leaders weren’t even addressing gender neutral bathrooms in dorms. However, the topic definitely came up and one girl said she didn’t want all residential bathrooms to become gender neutral because she had been sexually assaulted in the past. A student immediately calls for the mic in response and stated, “That’s actually not a valid reason because 50% of transgender people get assaulted in bathrooms, so I’m sorry, but transgender people need to feel safe too.” Another individual took the mic and said, “Right now students take a vote in first year dorms to determine whether their bathrooms are gender neutral or not. This completely undermines the minority and everyone who votes otherwise is victimizing transgender people.” I quickly realized that the actual LGBT leaders on campus had not moved their community to start this protest. A small group of ‘protestors’ started putting up signs in high traffic areas to state their cause. Now the entire LGBT community as a whole was paying the price in having to sit at this meeting, acting a fool. If probed they would tell you on any given day that they would like gender neutral bathrooms to be available in all major buildings, but were content with special housing provisions provided to those who needed them.
The week of Eric Garner’s death, the Academic Affairs Committee had an unrelated meeting concerning test taking policies that needed revision. So a bunch of professors and administrators were packed in a hall talking about revisions to testing methods. A number of student activists decided to lay on the floor outside the exit door, imitating dead bodies. Other student activists held up signs such as “racist” and “killing black people is a crime”. When the meeting adjourned and professors had to leave to teach classes or get to work, they had to carefully step around the bodies. A student protestor I know said, “it was extremely offensive that the professors didn’t take the time to pay respect to the dead bodies”. By dead bodies he was referring to the activists laying on the ground. I later talked to a faculty member I am close with and she stated, “I was really confused. I didn’t know if they were calling me a racist and I didn’t know what to make of it all. I mean what did they expect? I had a class to teach right after that.” I later gathered that the purpose of the protest was to raise awareness of racial prejudices that exist on campus as well as the rest of the United States. However, the protestors were protesting to the wrong audience. I can safely say almost all professors on campus are as liberal as they get. Actually raising awareness of prejudices could have been accomplished by allying with the academics on campus to address problems in the community.
Yesterday as I was walking over to the main building to get my lunch, I heard a bunch of students talking about their trip to Baltimore to “watch” the protests. They shared their “cool” stories of protestors throwing stones at police and law enforcement arriving in riot gear. Later that day three people in my economics seminar also recapped “watching” the protests in Baltimore. By the tones of their voices you would have thought it was another story about how they climbed on top of the roof of their apartment after consuming too much alcohol. It was just another “cool” story to share. At the same time the more direct activists are posting signs like “Maryland police have killed 111 people since 2010, but they only declare a state of emergency when people throw rocks.” In some form or another, both of these groups of individuals are trivializing the violence occurring in Baltimore. Stores were looted, property was destroyed, cars were set on fire, people were throwing bottles and bricks in the streets. A massive fire covered Federal Street and Gay Street in smoke. Peaceful protests turned into a day of violence, ironically as Freddie Gray was being put to rest. I can’t believe that individuals at my college are trivializing these events.
*Rant mode engage*
In all three of these instances, there is a trend. A heavy price is paid to accommodate social justice nut jobs who think they can fix the world in two seconds. The LGBT community never started that protest. When asked they simply stated it would be nice if every main building on campus had some gender neutral bathrooms for those who felt more comfortable using them. The professors were equally disturbed by the footage of Eric Garner saying “I can’t breathe” as a police officer held him down. But the activists had to alienate them anyways because protests aren’t successful without dethroning the established regime. There are hardworking people in Baltimore losing their property, having their jobs placed in jeopardy, and the city came to a standstill. Meanwhile “social activists” sit and cheer as a police officer was dragged through the streets (not literally cheer, but felt no sympathy whatsoever). I’m concerned about racial equality too, but I don’t condone mass violence or attacking law enforcement.
The price to be paid for such radical behavior comes in the form of disrupting the lives of everyday people. These so-called “social activists” think they’re improving the lives of the marginalized everyday people that get overlooked by the media and the government. Well the truth is radical activism is just hurting the very individuals it intends to save. I see so much selfishness in these over eager activists. They condone violence, jeopardize the physical and mental safety of others at any cost to promote their cause, and inhibit the people they intend on helping from living their lives. On top of that I’ll go so far as to say they don’t really give a shit about “social justice”. They’re so hellbent on radically protesting that they’ll protest for the hell of it. What about the girl at the meeting who was raped? What about the hardworking everyday black people that these activists ignore in our own community? It’s not just about Ferguson and Baltimore. Never saw any one of these activists give a poor man food. That’s a real action that can be taken right here, right now. There’s plenty of starving homeless people in my neighberhood and they’re definitely marginalized racially and economically. What about them? Instead it’s more convenient to condone killing police officers and looting/burning stores. These people need to take some fucking time to think about the consequences of their actions. There’s a difference between actually caring about a cause and radical activism. People who care run non-profits, house victims of violence, and dedicate their regular actions to their cause. Radical activists are weekend warriors who post slogans on Facebook and protest out of convenience.
The featured image I took is a rougher part of town that I walk by every day on the way back to my apartment. There have been several shootings in that area recently and the town folks who live on that particular block are really suffering. Meanwhile the social justice nut cases are back at it again. But when did they actually look at these houses and fight for the rights of the people suffering directly in front of them? They’re too busy “changing the world” to see the issues staring them in the face. Too selfish to use positive energies to stem the suffering.