Who Are We Listening To?

In the wake of the Florida school shooting just over a month ago, a lot of people have begun speaking out against the loose gun control in this country, and many others have started to really listen. The marches organized by the Parkland students, specifically, gained a lot of media attention and started a bit of a snowball effect in terms of protests and school walk-outs. However, as an article for Huffington Post by Sarah Ruiz-Grossman points out, the fast success of this anti-gun, anti-violence movement can bring into question why a relatively small group of white students are being listened to more than black victims fighting against gun violence. This is a very complicated issue, then, because the topic of gun control is finally being addressed very vocally nationwide, but why it is only now being addressed in this capacity when groups like Black Lives Matter have been trying to talk about it for years? This all comes back into class discussions of anti-black violence and demonstration to get political progress, but this time comparing the effectiveness of the demonstration based on the group’s race. Granted, this new anti-gun movement the Parkland kids kick started is very new and has hardly had enough time to make any lasting difference, and considering how popular in media coverage the Black Lives Matter movement was when it first started, so I’m a little hesitant to fully compare the two movements just yet. Still, there is clearly the sense, from my perspective, that many people see the Parkland kids’ movement as the first real protest against gun violence, which it definitely is not. And while I am glad that this issue is being addressed, I, too, am more than a little disheartened at the fact that it was ignored for so long simply because of who was presenting the issue.

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