The Pros and Cons of Peaceful Protest

Jathan Williams, staff writer

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Peaceful protest. It has shaped American History for the better. However, in today’s society, peaceful protest can have very negative effects on a community. That’s not to say that our right to protest is bad, but rather some people don’t understand what “peaceful” means. Therefore, there are good and bad points to our Right to Assemble.

There are many examples of good protests that have proven their point without violence. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most influential people in the Equal Rights movement. This movement was not easy, but an essential fight for civil rights. Today, because of King’s  efforts, black Americans all around the country are guaranteed the same rights as others. This is sometimes hard to see since the lens is often tainted by blacks and whites alike. His is by far the best example of positive peaceful protests that led to change. It sets the golden standard for what all peaceful protests should be.

Although peaceful protests can change history for the better, in today’s age, peaceful protests have been molded into a sinister scapegoat to commit hateful actions and crimes. The Right to Assemble and to Speak, often ends with property damage, injury, and crime These are not peaceful protests,in my opinion. Intent get swayed by a “gang mentality” and the peaceful protest often ensues a riot, which is illegal. Tension and differences of opinion can lead to dangerous things.

Overall, peaceful protests have fallen from grace. They have gone from a noble cause to something that can be used as a get out of jail free card. We used to use peaceful protest to fight against tyranny, now they’re being used to tear our country apart. We must remember the actions of Dr. King, Rodney King, and countless others in history. When we try to promote change, we need to communicate the need, not commit a bad deed.