NOTICE: Re-posted from my Facebook account. I was inspired to write this after the umpteenth time of seeing people saying that the riots are BADWRONG and not conducive towards effecting change to resolve the problem highlighted by the death of Freddie Gray. Flame me if you will, I'll just ignore you and continue in my merry way.
are the language of the oppressed. it has been the case for as long as
there have been people oppressed in *any* society. you can find examples
on the matter of race going back at least to the Civil War era (if not
longer). some of those riots were not termed such, but rather 'slave
rebellions' (because the rioters were slaves).
there been riots by those who are in the dominant group? yes but the
majority of riots that have happened over the course of history are the
oppressed attempting to force change. and they get called riots by the
dominant group because it belittles what the rioters are moved to
violence over and their acts of rebellion.
you are going to say that a riot isn't the way 'civilized' people
effect change, you are taking an exceptionally narrow and elitist view
on history. sometimes, the only way change happens is because of the
pressures placed upon the dominant group through the uprising of the
oppressed group(s) and one of the ways the oppressed puts pressures on
the dominant group is through violence.
they've been stripped of 'legitimacy' and 'credibility' by the dominant
group (who systematically undermines peaceable efforts to effect change
by the oppressed, because that's what oppression does), the oppressed
people are left with a limited range of ways to force society at large
to take notice of their situation and demand redress of grievances. in
an ideal world, people could peaceably assemble and air their grievances
with the expectation that just action would be taken to rectify the
however, is not the world we live in. when systemic oppression reaches a
limit where it is intolerable, people will violently move to throw off
the limits of oppression. this is part of the reason why the American
like it? then actively work to see justice done for the oppressed and
give them back their voice, legitimacy, and credibility in our society.
if no one does anything, this will continue to fester and get worse. not
because rioting is bad but because oppression is like cancer and will
spread to other areas as the people who are in positions of power
attempt to expand it.