Shutdown protests or an excuse for white supremacy?

Maria Perez 11-1

Since the U.S. economy has been shut down due to the expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic, all over the country many Americans have felt the need to fulfill their freedom to protest and display their discomfort for having to stay home. These protests have been mostly seen in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Texas, Florida, and even a well-known liberal state, California. Last weekend in Waukesha County, Wisconsin thousands of citizens stood side by side to protest “stay at home” orders. This particular protest didn’t just turn heads due to the lack of health protection but because of the confederate flags and “Trump 2020” signs being waved around. The protest also displayed signs that read “ Freedom over fear” and “ Shutdown the shutdown”.

Throughout the U.S., these protests are being seen more frequently, with an increase in size and intensity. They started out as a couple of people with signs and in the course of a few days things have wounded up to thousands of people carrying firearms and minority-targeted derogatory signs. Organizations like black lives matter have gone out publicly to demand answers on why last week an African American man was forcefully dragged off a train for not wearing a surgical face mask, but caucasian protesters were allowed to protest without any sort of protection. Tensions on this matter grew when in San Diego a freedom rally was organized and allowed to continue after San Diego’s Governor Gavin Newsom issued those non-essential workers who gather publicly can receive from a $1,000 fine to six months in jail. After being questioned by Shane Harris, leader of the People’s Alliance for Justice, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit expressed that he wasn’t all against the ongoing protests over the U.S. making matters more strained. 

    For the last couple of days, Michigan has also been a target of public scrutiny, as these so-called shutdown protests are being seen as anti-black movements. Especially since the protests began soon after the African American community made up 76% of all deaths due to the COVID-19 disease in Detroit. The media is pointed towards state officials because as of yesterday Michigan state Senator Dale Zorn wore what looked like a confederate flag face mask to a senate vote on Friday. Even though earlier today he issued a public apology saying he didn’t mean to offend, the big question is was this his way of supporting these alleged anti-black protests? 

      The mortality rate for black Americans is said to be 3.7 times greater than THAT of white Americans. Even though the minority only makes up 13 percent of the entire U.S. population they make up around 30% of all deaths from the virus. The increase in these deaths only heightens the intensity of protests from anti-shutdown groups, as well as the public exposition of unfair treatment due to race when it comes to COVID-19 protection. It’s fair to say that with everything occurring the pandemic has brought to light some consequently buried issues regarding racism in the United States. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *