Protests: helpful or hurtful to Black Lives Matter?

Thousands of people gathered to protest police brutality in Wisconsin.

Systemic racism, a lack of change in the treatment of people of color, feeling unheard, living in fear, Tucker Carlson’s ignorant insistence that “all lives matter” made to a daily audience of 4.5 million viewers…and frustration is understandable.

But with several dead protestors are the marches a good idea?

Do protests help or hurt the Black Lives Matter movement?

Laura

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

I understand that the best way to change the world is to vote, but how many voting cycles have occurred and still a police officer nonchalantly leans on a black man’s throat while the man pleads for him to stop amid a crowd of people that pleads with him to stop?

How many voting cycles have occurred yet seven rounds are unloaded in the back of a fleeing black man?

Recently, there’s been a call for federal regulation to ban chokeholds. Recently, there’s talk of defunding police. Whether or not you agree with these moves, the conversation has been pushed forward–maybe because we can’t ignore the protests.

Tim

You quoted Martin Luther King, but didn’t Martin Luther King push peaceful protest? Would he have supported riots?

Our President doesn’t seem to believe in the core issue of systemic racism or care about police brutality. Instead, he uses the riots to bolster his “anti-crime” position. He’s the guy that used tear gas to clear a crowd from a church so he could wave a Bible in the air for a photo op. He talks about “when the looting starts the shooting starts.” He wants to use the military and national guard to shut down protesters. He seems to like being tough on crime and the more he talks about it–like at the Republican National Convention–the higher his poll numbers go.

Protests are increasing the President’s chances of being reelected.

Laura

Rodney King was an unarmed black man who was pulled from his car after a high speed chase and brutally beaten by police officers. Six days of deadly riots followed in Los Angeles. That was 1992.

It’s so frustrating that we are literally dealing with the same issues decades later.

Worse, I feel like I don’t even understand what’s going on around the country because some news outlets and social media feeds show endless videos of rioting protesters while others show endless loops of abusive policing.

Check out this video of a peaceful protest that turned violent–at the hands of heavily armed police. It’s not a Venezuela. This is Philadelphia, PA.

Protesters were surrounded by police and then tear-gased–even though there were no violent incidents at that protest.

It’s one of the most disturbing videos I’ve ever seen.

Tim

The terror that we feel when we watch that video is exactly why people support a strong tough-on-crime leader. It’s like it doesn’t even matter who is responsible for the violence.

A Princeton professor named Omar Wasow did a bunch of research on violent versus nonviolent protests in the 60’s. From it, he concludes that when protests were able to remain nonviolent–especially in the face of police brutality–they increased white support for the movement. When protests turned violent, they increased support for Republican party and helped to elect Richard Nixon.

Laura

So, even though the Philadelphia video clearly shows police brutality, since the on-screen events are so terrifying people are more likely to support the leader that stops the violence than the leader that works toward ending the root cause of the it.

Tim

Exactly.

Laura

And even though we are still struggling with systemic racism and over policing in the black and brown community–after decades and decades of fighting for change–we first and foremost want the violence to stop.

Tim

Exactly.

Laura

So it’s totally possible that protests that turn violent are hurting the Black Lives Matter movement.

Tim

And may be helping to elect our President to a second term.

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