Letter to the Editor: Simon Wu comments on appropriate methods of protest in the wake of George Floyd’s death

Simon Wu, Contributing Writer

Dear Editors,

After reading the opinion article written by Logan Schiciano, “I went to a peaceful protest–it was a sign of hope in a deteriorating America,” I knew what was coming. Backlash and criticism erupted from within the Masters Community and I could see why. After all, Logan published a pretty controversial piece where he was horrified at the riots and stated them to be “counterproductive.” I was happy to see that Logan has exercised his First Amendment Right and in return, others have too. I was also happy to see that Logan was not personally attacked for his beliefs. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. A friend of mine who consistently posted pro-Trump and anti-riot material on his Instagram story suddenly deactivated his Instagram account which can only make me assume he was harassed until he couldn’t take it anymore; after all, people would post on their own story demanding others to attack him and one even wrote, “He should not be able to come back to school.” 

I would like to reiterate the point that the way Floyd was killed was inhumane and unjust.

That being said, rioting is not a productive way to achieve change. Stores being looted and burned down and owners attacked is not going to bring the justice George Floyd deserves. Neither do I understand why small businesses are being attacked and looted who had nothing to do with the death of George Floyd and other innocent black Americans. I understand there are good protesters right now, and I fully support their freedom to protest, but there are also bad protesters. 

The goal of the riots is to fight against systemic racism and violence towards people of color. The irony here is that these “protesters” are destroying businesses that people of color own and jobs that people of color rely on to feed their families. These riots are doing much more harm than good. People are violently destroying property which in turn justifies brutal force against protesters, resulting in more people destroying property and more force being used. The outcome of this would be an endless cycle of destroying property and inhuman force being used. The common argument against this is that these businesses have insurance and they can just rebuild and restock is just ridiculous. Assuming they all do have insurance, it still doesn’t justify the fact that these small businesses, that people have devoted their entire lives into, should have burned down in the first place. That’s like saying, “Well, since you have health insurance, I should be allowed to break your legs.”

It pains me to read everyday on social media from ex-classmates to people I consider friends, justifying violence in these cities. My friends shared a tweet that President Trump tweeted out. He said, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts…” Twitter flagged this tweet as inciting violence despite the thousands of tweets daily telling people to assault cops and burn down buildings. The irony here is that they say, “I can’t believe Trump would post something like this! He’s encouraging violence!” and their next post, they encourage people to run cops over with cars. People are claiming that it should be okay for black people to burn down the entire country if they wanted to, yet they fail to recognize citizens from other races/ethnicities live in this country too. From the seventh-generation African American family, to the newly immigrated Japanese family to a generation of Italian immigrants, all are Americans too. They should not not suffer the outrage of brutal and unjust murder at the hands of police officers, nor should they have their homes burned to a crisp.

It would be unfair for me to only comment on the rioting side without acknowledging the problem at hand. I too am tired of innocent black men, women, children, LGBT+ community members, and other minorities being killed by ruthlessly racist cops. Racism exists in America, no matter how large or small, and people granted with the privileges of power are abusing the same power civilians entrusted to them. Should cops be prosecuted? Yes, like any ordinary criminal, a cop should be prosecuted if there was wrongdoing.

Should cops serve jail time? Yes, like any ordinary criminal, a cop should serve jail time if there was wrongdoing. There are good cops and bad cops. The good ones keep the vulnerable safe while the bad ones destroy innocent lives and families. I know the justice system and the police system is not the best, but it’s also closed-minded to say all of America is racist. I’m not saying there aren’t bad cops because of course there are. These recent events unveiled the police system as a whole and I have to say, these cops are digging their own graves.

I have written this to come forth and defend Logan, but more importantly, to say I have chosen to be neutral. I have seen posts that claim if you have chosen to be neutral, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. This can’t be further from the truth. I have chosen this position because I do not want to be associated with aggressive rioters and looters who insist they have the right to tear down the entire country; on the other hand, I do not want to be associated with disgusting police officers who prey on the innocent just so they can establish a sense of dominance. Being neutral does not mean, “I don’t support the people of color fighting for their rights”; being neutral does not mean, “I believe every single cop out there is doing God’s work.” Being neutral means, “I will fight for the rights of all races while simultaneously defending the genuine cops out there who want a better society for all. I encourage everyone, especially the people who disagree with me partly or entirely, to message me on Instagram and talk to me so we all can come to an understanding.”