Chat with Cat: Not the right response


Credit: Owen Smith

In this installment of Chat with Cat, managing editor Caterina Tomassini discusses the recent riots spreading through the nation due to George Floyd’s death.

Caterina Tomassini

Unfortunately, our world has come to the point where we need to burn buildings and start fights in order to be heard.

In the past week, the death of a 46-year-old Minneapolis man named George Floyd has dominated the media. Shocked, Americans didn’t know what to do about the viral video of former officer Derek Chauvin restraining Floyd’s neck with his knee, ignoring the dying man’s pleas for air, but we knew that we needed change.

As Instagram began to flood with posts honoring George Floyd and bringing attention to racism in America, tensions were beginning to increase. We were not going to stand for the blatant racism terrorizing our country; we were not going to let Derek Chauvin off the hook as we have with other officers in the past.

And because our nation has not heard our voices yet, we made sure to be heard this time.

On Friday night, I was startled by the image of a group of protesters outside of CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Confused, I began to wonder why a man with a skateboard was pounding on the building’s large glass windows. Police began to form a wall around the protestors, but they continued to throw objects into the building.

Before we knew it, the small riot outside of the CNN building became more violent, with buildings brutally vandalized and cop cars set on fire. The protests against the death of Floyd spread across the country, dominating D.C., Los Angeles, Sacramento, New York City, Kentucky, and now Boston, London and Berlin. Enormous crowds of angry Americans are flooding the streets day after day, starting fights, lighting cars on fire, throwing objects and holding signs to reflect their strong feelings toward the recent incident.

Throughout these past few days of protests, many have had mixed feelings. Some feel that the rioting is wrong, that it doesn’t solve anything and only creates more of a mess. However, I understand the built-up fear and anger fueling the violence. In my entire life, I’ve never seen anything as bold, as desperate, and as urgent as the current nationwide protests, but at the same time, I’ve never seen any chance of change.

The violence we are seeing on the streets today is a reflection of the people governing our country.

We’ve been silent all these years, trying to earn the government’s attention through Instagram posts, memorials, and kind words, but it has yet to work. Now is the time for us to effect change, and since peaceful means aren’t working, we’ve resorted to violence. As disruptive as the violence is, it is the only way to bring government attention to the problem. We need them to act, and until the Trump administration decides to take such reasonable, tangible action, the violence will continue. Trump tweeted on Saturday saying “congratulations” to the National Guard and calling the protesters “anarchists.” Since Trump’s method of addressing the country is through an informal social media platform, we cannot expect much from him in the way of real changes. However, the riots have been disruptive enough to grab the attention of some state governments.

Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, commented on Trump’s counterproductive behavior on CNN, saying that he thinks “it’s just the opposite of the message that should have been coming out of the White House.”

Rather than posting divisive commentary on Twitter, Trump needs to address the country formally in an attempt to unify it. He should stand up and say that the riots are not the answer, but that he hears our voices. We need somebody who is going to take our actions seriously, somebody that is going to end the escalating racial violence and help us solve the problem together.

Sure, Trump has stated that “the death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy,” but what has he done to take a stance? We want justice. We need a president that cares about such pressing problems. We demand that our nation come together to prevent horrid acts of blatant racism in the future.

Without government support, the violence will continue. Seeing as the riots have not stopped yet, Trump needs to take immediate action. Violence is not the answer—it’s not going to create immediate change, it’s not going to cure racism, and it’s certainly not going to bring Floyd back—but until the government provides a sufficient response, it’s the only way to ensure that our voices are heard.

Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.