Written By Halle Unthank
After the unfortunate death of Breonna Taylor, protesting and riots have been very prevalent throughout the country, especially here in Louisville, Kentucky. With some people against rioting and others participating, there is an underlying question: Is violence an answer to solve inequality? For this question to be answered, you have to take a look at the history of the United States.
Several social psychology evaluations that have taken place to fully comprehend why riots start in the first place. Most riots occur after an incident happens, in this case, it was a police officer killing an innocent bystander. Deeply rooted anger, repetitive frustrations, and the disappointment of no justice galvanizes people into a manic and destructive state. Once a riot begins, people begin acting on a whim and relentlessly seeking new outlets. When riots happen, you must look away from what is happening there, and take into account the devastating factors that have driven these confrontations.
When we look at the United States, and what rights we currently have, it comes from a long history of rioting and violence. The United States didn’t gain freedom from Great Britain by asking the king peacefully. Independence was gained from events like The American Revolution, which stemmed from violence and rioting. It’s the same for other rights like ending slavery and LGBTQ+ rights. The civil war took place to end slavery and the march at Stonewall took place to gain marriage rights for the LGBTQ+ community.
In a perfect world, peacefully requesting equal rights would be an effective way to gain them. Unfortunately, a study conducted by the philosopher Karl Popper, explains that being non-violent and calm doesn’t always work. The Paradox of Tolerance was a study shown that to be able to live in a tolerant society, you must be intolerant to the intolerant. While this may seem paradoxical, you cannot defend tolerance with tolerance.
Some people who haven’t experienced the type of racism today may have difficulty understanding why people are resorting to violence. But is it anyone’s say to tell oppressed groups how to deal with their oppression? As Martin Luther King Jr once said, “a riot is the language of the unheard.” Violent protests take place because marginalized groups feel as if they have no other choice. There are still consequences to riots, and people rioting comprehend that they could end up in jail or even dead. So before you completely disagree with the rioting currently happening, put yourself into other people’s shoes. How far does someone have to be pushed to risk it all?