The Sexist, Racist Implications of the ’Walk Up, Not Out’ Movement | Alternet
The student walkout itself has drawn protest from those who disagree that gun control is the solution. The "Walk Up, Not Out” movement is led by parents who believe more “kindness” among students, rather than gun control legislation, will end gun violence. Those at the helm of Walk Up have shared ideas such as increased school security measures that would effectively transform schools into prisons and could have negative consequences for students of color. They have also expressed support for mental health resources while ignoring how scapegoating the mentally ill fails to address the real problem. The real problem is guns and insufficient regulation of gun owners who have access to weapons that kill hundreds in minutes (the mentally ill are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of gun violence).
Walk Up’s ultimate premise is that the responsibility for ending school violence should be placed on the shoulders of young people who are in school to learn, while demanding nothing of the policymakers who are actually in positions to make change. The movement seems to place the blame for shootings on those who are purportedly complicit in the bullying and marginalizing of students who go on to become mass shooters.
Wald also addressed this in her post: “This argument only applies to crimes overwhelmingly committed by white boys. Their crimes are tragic betrayals of an underlying innocence that is never attributed to black boys selling drugs on the corner.”
In 2015, a 14-year-old Muslim boy was handcuffed and taken into custody for building a clock. In 2014, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by police for brandishing a toy gun in a playground. In 2013, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot by a vigilante for walking on the streets at night wearing a hoodie. We have no problem with accepting black and brown people as dangerous, but we pull out all the stops to humanize mass shooters hailing from white communities. Women are disproportionately affected by gun violence, yet they are pressured to proactively stop the hypermasculine violence that targets them. Walk Up’s message of telling young people to just “be nicer” to one another ignores the implications this language has for young women and the pressure it places on them.
A number of statistics exemplify the connection between gun violence directed at women or initiated by people with records of abusing women. Every year, hundreds of women are killed for rejecting men; more than 1,600 women are killed by men every year. Annually, an average of 760 Americans are killed with guns by spouses, ex-spouses or intimate partners, and the majority of these cases involve guns and collateral damage that claims the lives of other victims. Domestic violence victims are five times more likely to be killed when their abusers have access to a gun.