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< Back to question Is rioting ever justified? Show more Show less

Throughout the world, riots have erupted in reaction to injustice experienced by the population from those in power. Many are quick to suggest that the violent nature of the protest takes away from the cause. Others point to the real political change that arises from protesters' (and rioters') demands. But is rioting ever justified?

No, rioting is never justified Show more Show less

There is no situation in which rioting is justified, as rioting always takes away the moral high ground of the injustice of those rioting.
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Rioters are usually unconcerned with the cause they claim to uphold

Protesting and rioting are two separate actions, and drawing a clear distinction between them is important. While protesting serves as a social or political message, rioting simply denotes a call for violence and anarchy.
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The Argument

The American Civil Rights movement in the 1960's, as well as the George Floyd protests occurring all over the world in 2020, are key indicators that violence, robbery, and arson are not affiliated with the peaceful movements that look for real change and understanding. Though many people today state that the riots are a necessary reaction to George Floyd's death, the peaceful marches and demonstrations in the 1960's more effectively secured the black vote for Democrats, and a similar formula can be seen today. According to Ross Douthat of the New York Times, "the political history of both the 1960s and the 2010s suggests a strong presumption against the political effectiveness of looting or vandalism or arson, to go along with the direct costs for the communities where riots are most likely to break out."[1] These riots, instead of causing some sort of revolution or societal upheaval, are harming the poorer communities they purport to be fighting for.

Counter arguments

In the political arena, rioting is sending a message and it is a necessary evil in toppling the higher powers that look to control people of color. There is no other way of clearly definitively telling political pundits that no one can stand for injustice in any capacity, violence being the only equal response to violence on black bodies everywhere. To show that the people of the country are angry and dissatisfied with the current system, aggression and force are the sole avenues towards hope and freedom marginalized people can gain in a systemically oppressive society.

Premises

[P1] Protesting and rioting are separate instances of demonstration altogether, and the distinction is important. [P2] Peaceful protesting as proven to be more effective and less costly toward marginalized communities than riots and mass violence. [P3] Rioting is not the answer for justice or equality.

Rejecting the premises

[P2] Rioting sends a certain message that peaceful protesting simply cannot. The upheaval of society and violence against the violence committed upon a marginalized group for generations is entirely justified, and should be encouraged. [P3] Rioting is certainly the answer to inequality and hate.

References

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/30/opinion/sunday/riots-george-floyd.html

This page was last edited on Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 07:24 UTC

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