Opinion: An uneasy opinion

Amanda Paniagua is a graduate art history major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at azabudsk@kent.edu.

Amanda Paniagua is a graduate art history major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Amanda Anastasia Paniagua

Since the news broke about Friday’s attack in Paris, I have been searching for the words to articulate my many mixed emotions and overall, cognitive dissonance.

I suppose there are no easy answers, only uneasy opinions. At the very least, perhaps it will open up the possibility for conversations that are critical of nationalism and borders because of their often volatile status. People are willing to kill for their allegiance to them and it is inevitable that innocent people will die as a result of such allegiances.

I am working daily to live without borders and national allegiance. It is difficult to not be critical of the global state of the world when you are striving daily to be a global citizen.

I find the loss of life to be atrocious, of course. I do not want to sidestep that position at all. However, the overall reaction garnered from this event is what I have struggled to grapple with.

All last week, campuses across the United States rallied in solidarity with students at the University of Missouri to bring attention to racial inequality at predominantly white institutions. These protests are, in my mind, an extension inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement which seeks to address racial inequality in society as a whole.

Narrowing the focus of racial inequality to a college campus is brilliant because the college experience is a microcosm of the real world. In my personal experience, it has been one that has reminded me that there are still some serious problems a lot of students are not ready to discuss, let alone try to solve. 

All last week I attempted to formulate some observations about this ongoing issue, but then Friday happened. I opened my Spotify to a music playlist labeled “peace” and saw my Facebook newsfeed flooded with profile pictures adorning blue, white and red alongside memes reading “pray for Paris.”

I suddenly became numb and confused. Imagine my disgust when I saw there were people who, as Salon has reported, “told Black Lives Matter activists fighting for basic civil and human rights, fast-food workers seeking livable wages and union rights, and students challenging crippling debts that their problems are insignificant because they are not being held hostage at gunpoint.” 

How is it that I am supposed to “pray for Paris?” Where were the media’s outcries when churches were set on fire here? Why didn’t Spotify create a playlist for “peace” when Elliot Rodger and Dylann Roof carried out their heinous acts of terror? What about Beirut just the day before?

The truth is that, on a global stage, some nations are privileged over others in regards to the tragedies that befall them even when those same nations have been the cause of devastation per their foreign policy. The sudden display of pro-Parisian solidarity in the United States has been a very confusing and strange thing to behold, but I get it when I think about global hierarchies and, to be quite frank, white supremacy.

Amanda Anastasia Paniagua is an opinion writer for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].