On Violence


 It’s easy for white dudes to say that when white dudes who riot are never representative of their demographic and white dudes who kill always have a good reason because of those rioting black thugs and demons and animals.  It’s easy for white dudes to say we should trust the system when it consistently and persistently disenfranchises and disrespects and disregards and dispossesses and disillusions black Americans.

Violence is never the answer, we say piously, looking at TV images of looting and burning.

Violence has always been our answer.

Where we fall down, in these discussions, is in our definition of violence.

Deliberate neglect of black neighborhoods is violence.

Predatory lending is violence.

Food deserts are violence.

Laws designed to discourage minority voting are violence.

Economics is a weapon. Development is a war. And we are not all on the same side.

After all, if the protesters in Ferguson had just thrown some tea into a harbor we’d be building statues of them today.


2 thoughts on “On Violence

  1. And that’s why being a pacifist is anything but passive. Injustices of the sort you list in this post are indeed violence inflicted on segments of the populace. So it is not surprising that that violence engenders a violent response. The people being oppressed by that violence don’t have the economic or political wherewithal to pay their oppressors back in kind, so they react with the violence they have access to, which is physical violence. Pacifism has to be ahead of the violence curve, rectifying injustice before the oppressed turn to physical violence.

    Oppressors generally control the most effective means of physical violence: Stockpiles of arms, weapons, chemicals, and the manpower trained to use them. Physical violence is actually the passive response to a situation, and when the oppressors gin up an excuse* to use physical violence on the oppressed, it’s a sure tip-off that the oppressors are reinforcing their dominance of the political and economic system.

    *Such as, for example, withholding unpopular news until well after nightfall while hyping that news all day long, knowing full well the sequelae to their mischief.

  2. butbutbut why aren’t the poor satisfied w/ the crumbs? tinkle down should make them happee! low taxes! yay!

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