The Difference in Our Actions


Graphic by Gabby DeRose

Gabby DeRose, Staff Writer

As world issues become more prevalent, ordinary civilians across the globe take action for the sake of themselves and others. Protests have become a common trend around the world. More people are educating themselves on issues at hand in order to strive for what they think is right. As protests begin to rise in popularity, though, privilege begins to play a role in mainstream trends of protesting.
Hannah Brown, who wishes to remain anonymous, has some thoughts on movements.
“Places like Twitter and Instagram allow retweeting and reposting, which can spread the word like wildfire,” Brown said. “Which can be both good and bad, but I think more positive things have come out of it as a result rather than the latter.”
However, Brown notes the downside of social media when it comes to taking action.
“Social media and everything like that are cool for spreading the word, but it’s overused,” Brown said.
Brown believes the rising disinterest in genuine action toward a cause leaves serious matters to shrink into simple online trends. Protests like the fight for climate change have become prevalent in the previous couple of months, but despite its extreme media exposure, people have noticed the lack of real work put into the fight for change.
“So many people think that putting something on their story or simply retweeting a post is them throwing their penny to the cause,” Brown said. “It gives people an excuse to act as if they’ve done their part, and then go on with their day. These people don’t realize the privilege they have, while others are taking action fighting for things so serious, risking their lives going against their governments or raising awareness. Social media shouldn’t be the end of one’s protest. It should be the beginning of one’s push to fight for the cause they believe.”
Some protests, however, have taken to the streets. The Hong Kong protests have caught the attention of the entire world within the past few months as the protestors fight to better their lives.
The Hong Kong protests started in 2019 when China proposed a law that would have allowed the transfer of fugitives to mainland China. This would let the Hong Kong Police extradite fugitives from Hong Kong who are wanted in territories with which Hong Kong did not at the time have any extradition agreements, including Taiwan and mainland China. The demonstration has since escalated, with protesters occupying entire university campuses as their safe havens and bases.
The Hong Kong Police have used tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons and armored vehicles to counter protesters. Both sides of the fight have reported injuries. Police officers have sustained attacks from bow and arrows, while protesters have sustained eye injuries from tear gas and hypothermia from water cannons.
Senior Edmund Bousho shares his support for the protests and those involved in the movement.
“Since the beginning I was, and remain, a strong supporter of the protesters and their fight for representation and freedom,” he said.
Bousho went on to explain his immense support.
“It’s only natural to want for them to have, at the least, as good of a life as I, with my privileges and freedoms that they currently lack,” he said. “In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”
From an opposing viewpoint, senior Shelby Smith, wishing to go anonymous, voiced her rejection of the Hong Kong protests, commenting on the portrayal of the protesters in media.
“I kept up with the Hong Kong protests for a month or so, largely because I have Chinese relatives,” she said. “There’s a very large narrative difference between media [in the United States] and media [in China], but what I find a little disconcerting is that in this country where we’re talking about freedom of speech and democracy and how the government doesn’t control us… people are praising the actions of people who are trashing the national institutions, universities, harming civilians and being praised as apocalyptic heroes all over social media.”
Smith went on to express her views on the protest as a whole, as well as its effect on Chinese locals.
“I can’t say too much on whether or not it should happen or should not happen, honestly,” she said. “People participate in protests for different reasons, and for the civilians, I can’t say that this would benefit all of them.”
With new changes taking place as the newer generations take the stage, the world is intent on watching with analytical eyes. Whether these protests take the form of marches, social media callouts or street walks, one thing is certain: people are dedicated to their causes.