Letter to the Editor: Patrick Curnin-Shane responds to “I went to a peaceful protest–it was a sign of hope in a deteriorating America”

Letter to the Editor: Patrick Curnin-Shane responds to

Patrick Curnin-Shane, Contributing Writer

Dear editors,

In your recent article “I went to a peaceful protest-it was a sign of hope in a deteriorating America,” you expressed dismay at the rioting and looting in this country, calling it “mayhem” and quoting Dr. King as disapproving of riot. It is inappropriate to use this language without also acknowledging that Dr. King said “riots are the language of the unheard.” People of color in this country are definitely unheard; if one way to express their grief, frustration, and fear, is rioting, we as white people don’t have enough perspective to call their actions unjust. This article also seems to lack historical basis on which to make its claim. Throughout American history riots have been an effective tool in making change. For example, on December 16th 1773, citizens of Boston rioted and destroyed valuable property in order to protest taxation on tea without representation in their own government. Today rioting and looting are also being used against a commercial and mercantile government that cares not for the rights of their own citizens. There is yet further historical evidence of the effectiveness of violence in the stonewall riots and in the violent protests of the suffragettes.

To quote Trevor Noah: “there is no right way to protest” because the point of protesting is to inflict discomfort and worry into the hearts of people. If a protest from black people makes us feel better as white people who profit from the system, the protest is not working.