Home / Fall 2015 / Blazers against bigotry

Blazers against bigotry

Valdosta citizens protest Syrian refugees coming to America. VSU students a counter protest in support of Muslims. (Photo Courtesy: John W. Rogers)

Written by Jordan Barela, Editor-in-Chief

The media and the recent presidential debate coverage have been rife with anti-Muslim remarks and bigotry. And on Saturday, that prejudiced reared its ugly head as two protests were held in quaint downtown Valdosta.

One was an Anti-Muslim protest against allowing Syrian refugees to come to America. The other was a counter response from Valdosta State students promoting harmony and equality.

I live for a good protest. Not simply because it helps bring pages to life in The Spectator when students get involved in protests, but because I am a big believer that people should be able to voice their opinions peacefully and respectfully.

While I am a big advocate for peaceful protests, I think the Anti-Muslim protest was full of stereotypes. Many of these stereotypes stem from post 9-11 stigmas.

Labeling an entire group of people as “terrorists” for something a small group of extremists did is simply wrong. Think about the prejudice that many minorities face and the stereotypes that are negatively pinned to them, like the stereotype that black people are “ghetto” or that gay men and women are “feminine” or “manly”.

Furthermore, the protest focused on keeping Syrian refugees out based on religion. Since when did a person’s religion determine whether or not they are allowed to come to the United States in order to escape a war that is wreaking havoc on their homes?

How can you protest refugees coming to seek shelter in our country, no matter who they are or where they come from?

This just comes off as selfish and much of the hate-filled speech from the protest was laced with narrow-mindedness and ignorance.

And while I don’t agree with the beliefs behind the Anti-Muslim protest, I believe that the protestors did have the right to protest and voice their opinions no matter how awful they were.

To the VSU students that took a stand against the bigotry, kudos. It was nice to see fellow Blazers standing for what they believe in.

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