Trends in Conversations around the Protests

In trying to follow the unfolding of the Michael Brown shooting and protests and the Burnaby mountain protests I am noticing several different trends in the conversation.

1. Individual Justice vs Corporate Justice – Many of the protests are about a larger injustice that is taking place, but the arguments against the protests are almost all at the individual situation. A protester might point to the stats about the racial injustices of the prison system, a anti-protester will point to the fact that Michael Brown was coming from a robbery. While a protester might point to the oddity that our federal government is taking the side of a multi-national corporation, an anti-protester would say that the current protesters need to go get jobs or wonder how the protesters got to the protest.

2. The rhetoric directed at supporters of the protesters (note: not the protesters themselves, just towards the supporters of protesters) is almost always framed as “you aren’t willing to listen to both sides, you idiot!” On almost every pro-Darren Wilson post I have read there is a commentor or the article itself will include a derogatory remark towards the ignorant people who probably won’t read the post. The defensiveness is telling. Of course, this is especially true in the social media whirlwind where people refuse to engage in actual arguments or the opposite argument but just need to shut down opposition to give themselves a stronger leg to stand on.

3. I think the most annoying insult is when anti-protesters yell something about the protesters needing to get a job. This has been a common theme towards the Burnaby protesters. What if someone took vacation JUST to attend the protest? What if they quit their job to attend? Saying protesters don’t have and need to get jobs is like accusing slaves that their opinion doesn’t matter because they don’t have masters. Give it a break.

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