Be careful of the “us vs. them” mentality

By Parker Senska

My Facebook wall, and even my Twitter feed, have been covered with reports and opinions on the rioting these last few days, some condoning such actions, others calling the entire movement BS, and a few calling out the rioting while also sympathizing with the idea that the system does need to be reworked.

I fall among the latter. I don’t understand how rioting is going to help a cause; all it will do is increase the stigma people have for the marginalized group. I also agree with the sentiment that some people don’t care about the movement and are selfishly using it as an opportunity to steal or take out their anger at the world. 

Now that I’ve gotten my stance out of the way, I have to wonder why the riots are all the media seems to be reporting on. Where are the peaceful protests? Where was the coverage of the march that was going on in Sioux Falls the same day as the riot on the other side of town? Where was the coverage of the march in Flint, Mich., where the town’s sheriff even showed his support and joined in? Where was the coverage of the peaceful protesters stopping those trying to incite violence, protecting stores and even handing offenders over to the police like in Washington, D.C.? Where’s the coverage of the officers in many locations across our country taking a knee with protestors?

Instead, most of what I’ve seen reported by big media are the riots, police attacking protestors, rioters attacking police. Because that’s what brings in ratings – sensationalism sells. But this kind of irresponsible reporting just incites outrage and violence and continues to push our country into this “us vs. them” mentality. 

It’s not a surprise coming from the media that already enjoys pitting Republicans and Democrats against each other. That’s why I don’t trust networks like Fox News and CNN that use language to cast blame on the other side. The screenshot included with this column illustrates my point. Neither of these titles tell us about what was passed; instead, they immediately begin attacking the other side. News networks should portray the barebone facts for the viewer to decide how they feel, not portray their own opinions as facts. Be careful not to fall for this trap. Casting the blame on everyone in a single party or group would be like saying “all cops are bad.”

As for the rioting, understand that I’m not suggesting media only portray the “kumbaya” moments, as that would skew the perception that there’s no need for social reform. I just want to see both the peaceful protests and the riots, a well balanced view of the situation. Instead of this oversaturation of anger and despair, let’s bring a little camaraderie and hope into the world.

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