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Sunday, May 03, 2015

On the Baltimore riot

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.

riots 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).

have 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.

if 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.

when 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 problem.

that, 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 Revolution happened.

don't 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.

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