Today, society thinks that it can solve its problems by not working. You heard that right, not working. Doesn’t this seem counterintuitive? In my opinion, it is and is partly why I believe that walkouts for protest are not effective at solving any problems.
First of all, walkouts aren’t done at the right time and often cause problems while trying to fix problems. If walkouts occur at work and school, which by definition, they do, then there is a massive disruption. As The College Voice says in their article, “Sometimes, a walkout lasts for months and aims to disrupt those unaffected by the injustice at hand.” An example of this happening was the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 to protest financial inequality across the world which disrupted Wall Street and the economy.
Another reason why walkouts are, in the end, not very effective, is because they can quickly snowball out of control. The thing about walkouts is that they’re collective, and are prone to being bandwagoned by people ( where people join just to be included or to miss work/class). This means that people who aren’t invested in the subject or aren’t informed about the problem suddenly have power, swaying the direction the movement goes in.
This is partly why Dakota Hanchett, a junior in Hanover High School didn’t participate in his school’s walk out about gun control and spoke out to CNN as a result. While the walkout was initially made to mourn the loss of 17 lives in the Florida shooting of February 14, 2018 and attempt to get better school security, the protest quickly became an anti-gun riot.
Walkouts are also ineffective because they are prone to change and are vague. If you initially agree with a walkout’s cause, you’ll be disappointed to know that in many cases, the focus of a certain walkout will change, like in the Florida walkout. As Noha Borba, a student in Minnesota, said in his interview with CNN, “I would not like to associate myself with something I could end up disagreeing with it in the future.”
Because walkouts are disruptive and can cause more problems than they claim to fix, in addition to being prone to change, they really aren’t all that effective. Other ways of peaceful protest exist, such as going to the Capital and peacefully demanding change outside of work hours. That way only people who care about the subject attend, and nothing is disrupted. Change in America is possible; it just has to be attained in the correct way.
Caden Robertson, Staff Reporter