Social media influences reactions to nationwide tensions

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Posted at 2:43 PM, Jun 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 16:42:18-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Scrolling social media, it's not hard to notice a divide in how people are interpreting the tensions going on around the country. Are they protests, riots, or something else?

"Now we're starting to see the divide that's starting after the weekend of riots and protests in our cities," said Dr. Eric Claville, the Director of the Center for African American Public Policy at Norfolk State University. "Is this a peaceful protest protecting first amendment rights or now do we need law and order to punish these bad actors who are creating riots?"

The answer to the question depends on your perspective, influenced by social media and the news media. Claville cautions social media can mislead or not present the full picture. "Everyone has an opinion. If their opinion is given on half of the information or only some of the information, it could be misguided," he said.

The passion of this moment has been an emotional response to video of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Combined with a history of of unfair laws and practices targeting African Americans, America has reached a boiling point.

"By ignoring these effects, we see a bubbling up of resentment of anger of hopelessness come up and now you're seeing people in the streets protesting," said Claville.

Moving forward, America needs to have a reckoning with its past and acknowledge and correct mistakes, said Claville. In addition, he says bad actors in law enforcement need to be prosecuted and held accountable.

"Going back to normal is not acceptable," said Claville. "Normal got us to where we are now. We need a new front. We need a new order. We need a new direction."