The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility. -Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King also said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

Wonder if MLK made a distinction between riot vs protest. Riot is a widely used term to describe a protest involving communities of color. And often these peaceful protests end in riots when government operatives or opposition groups infiltrate to agitate and incite violence that nullify the message or intent of the protest.

With so much government spying, can riots or protests lead to real change?

They haven’t so far, yet, we see more and more protests or riots to increase awareness and more and more opposition to that awareness. Change requires long-term commitment while protests or riots are as MLK said, reactionary emotional catharsis. Plus protests or riots are vulnerable to outside inference that dilute their message.

How else can we attract media attention to increase awareness about important life and death issues?

Author: Angela Grant

I am a first generation Jamaican immigrant whose experiences and accomplishments were made possible by the courage, sacrifices and the heroic acts of many whose bodies have rotted away in unmarked graves. Those are my heroes. Their sacrifices and death paved the way for my children and I. Failure to Listen is a token of my eternal gratitude. Failure to Listen is a tribute those generations of unmarked graves occupied by people of all races whose ultimate sacrifice of life opened the door for me and others, THANK YOU. Failure to Listen uses cultural lenses to appreciate and understand the relationships between current events and our values, beliefs and attitudes. Culture is everything without it we are nothing. Failure to Listen will take you on a journey to recognize the beauty of our differences as the seeds to creativity, innovation and resolving disparities. By sharing my personal and professional experiences, I hope to do justice to the perspectives of those who are rarely heard or listened to. This site is not to incite anger but rather to provoke thought. It is my hope that Failure to Listen will work to foster intergroup dialogues and motivate readers to step outside the box and get to know ALL PEOPLE. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, let's join hands and remember his famous speech about a dream... A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

8 thoughts on “Riots”

  1. If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. – Malcolm X

    It was true then and still true today.


  2. Good post. I would also like to add to your point that the word “riot” is selectively used. What happened in Ferguson and Baltimore were called riots, but not The Battle of Berkeley or anytime people trash stuff after a big game (see Philly’s reaction to the Super Bowl or Vancouver losing the Stanley Cup finals years ago). Gee, I wonder why? There’s a reason why some people call what happened in Black Wall Street the Tulsa Race Riots. No matter how intense Ferguson, LA, and Baltimore were, the Black people involved NEVER did as much damage as what happened to the citizens of the Greenwood District in 1921. Shoot, that massacre was also the REAL first air strike attack on US soil twenty years before Pearl Harbor happened. The selective language and outrage is baffling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard to swallow on a daily basis the injustice and hypocrisy we see and hear in the media.

      The Tulsa massacre is one of the many massacres of black communities at the hands of white mobs. Throughout American history, white men and women plotted with the US government to commit violent crimes against black people. In many instances, black men were charged for crimes committed by white men and women. We were scapegoats for white crimes.

      Again the media shapes our thoughts. And Black people cannot trust white media to tell the truth.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. Such is the downside of waking up to the reality around everyone.

        Of course. I learned about Rosewood and Slocum where similar situations have happened. I recently told a co-worker about Black Wall Street and she was shocked while wishing more people knew about it.

        That’s true and I never realized how much damage it did to my mind and self-worth. I’m still trying to reverse the cerebral affliction.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. If you want to go with riots or protests, they will cause changes once a critical amount of people participates. Why is that? Because it’s then when the oppressing party starts significantly fearing the opposing party. This fear can lead to a variety of behavior, but if the opposing party has reached (emotionally) the “point of no return”, they will simply remove the oppressing party from power. This is what happened for instance in France (1789) and Russia (1917). Some people call this a revolution. However, judging from what historically really happened, in particular the results coming from it, I rather would call it, “more of the same crap in a different wrapping”.

    Liked by 2 people

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