Quick note for MLK’s quote: “A riot is the language of the unheard”
When I quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “A riot is the language of the unheard”, people would tell me: “But that’s a crime! It’s barbaric,...
When I quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “A riot is the language of the unheard”, people would tell me: “But that’s a crime! It’s barbaric, unlawful. It’s not right!” I would tell them: But languages are not always beautiful. What you heard, dear friend, is a desperate plea for help. It is the gutteral sound of a black man being choked. It is the sound of the underprivileged millions crying out in unison under the systemic oppression of the privileged. It is the sound of the poor, the discarded, the outlawed, the vulnerable clawing at each other for scraps at the dinner table, while the utterly oblivious bourgeoisie sits in the comfort of their own homes and judges. These people are without a voice, without a home, and without a future. These people have to make themselves be heard somehow, and what better way to do this than to set things on fire? Fire is destructive. It burns, it razes, it consumes. It burns down the facade of prosperity, of peace, quiet, and harmony within the United States. It razes the naive belief that class struggle no longer exists. It consumes the game of make-believe that ‘everything is still fine’ that the middle class seems so eager to play every morning when they wake up and feed themselves to the Machine. A riot may not be a beautiful utterance, but it is a language nonetheless.
No, I do not condone violence nor bloodshed nor wanton destruction of people’s livelihoods. Rioting was never right nor moral nor justified. But it is a cry for help. It is when a true leader must acknowledge the grievances of rioters, and pledge to make amends to end the riots. Threatening to shoot at his own people is not a good way to end riots. It is an undeniable fact that these riots are happening right at this very moment. Hear their pleas, understand their cause, act on their behalf. Any refusal to do so will rip this already fractured society apart and irrevocably bring about bloody, bloody revolutions. Perhaps, that would be a more favorable outcome?
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