Causes Of Civil Disobedience Essay

When governments continuously disenfranchise their population by lack of economic opportunity or education, they have a right to revolt against their governments. Both violent and nonviolent protests develop under the same conditions and fight for the same causes, therefore, both forms of civil disobedience are justifiable. Historically, marginalized groups, especially black communities in the United States, have experienced terror by the hands of police for centuries.

After centuries of harassment, black communities have taken a stance against the injustices committed by those who are sworn in to protect them. Civil disobedience, whether violent or nonviolent, is universally a justifiable method to achieve social change. When the media reports on racially motivated protests, often times they focus in on the looting aspect of civil disobedience. Although, the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore started off as peaceful, the media specifically focused in once the protests turned violent.

Mainstream media has the ability to shape the publics perception on certain issues, in this case news outlets like CNN reported on the same burning car for hours (Taibi). The media focused on a small percentage of looters who stole products from retail stores. However, the media scarcely showed images of the peaceful protests that occurred for days before all the violence erupted. In addition, focusing on looting does not contribute to the actual issue at hand, which is the excessive force committed by the police force.

Although, looting is not part of the solution of police brutality, the media often solely focuses on looters and never provides any information as to why they loot certain stores. Questions such as the following can provide insight to the looting but are never asked: Are these storeowners doing anything to uplift the black community? Are these stores taking away profit from black owned businesses that are trying to help their own communities? Are these stores causing more harm than good? Looting is never an answer but the anger from looters is justifiable.

However, I am not saying that there are not looters who do take advantage of these situations. ) When the media focuses on looting it derails the conversation of police brutality and further contributes to racist stereotypes that black men and women are criminal and dangerous. Privileged groups policing how others should protest is problematic because it comes off as pretentions but also because they have never experience racially motivated police brutality. The public will tell protestors that they need to remain calm and protest peacefully.

Often times the public will try to control protestors by comparing them with Martin Luther King Jr. , who preached non-violence. Peacefully protesting got MLK a bullet to the head by his very own government (Herman). It does not matter if protestors are peaceful or not, the media will find a way to dehumanize and derail their very real issues with the police force. The media will refuse to report on peaceful gatherings and protests because that does not gain high ratings. People who are in a privileged position will tell marginalized communities that violence is not the answer.

But where are these very same people when it comes to the unarmed murdering of black children? Does the violence perpetrated by the police not matter? Do black lives not matter? Privileged people have never experienced true fear with police contact, so what gives them the right to police how these communities should feel and act? Going through the proper legal channels to attain justice has already been proven to be inadequate. Eric Garner, a resident of New York, was caught on video being illegally placed in a chokehold, which ultimately caused his death (Meyer).

The legal system failed Eric garner and all of New York citizens. When an oppressed group has experienced true terror and harm, violence will always be the answer. Fighting against injustices committed by your own government has never been a nonviolent battle. Oppressed people cannot simply ask their oppressors for them to stop murdering and persecuting them. Historically oppressed groups have always had to participate in civil disobedience or commit violent acts if they want to gain their freedom or establish legal protection under the law.

When looking at other revolutions throughout history there has always been some form of civil disobedience. In late 2010, Mohaamed Bouazizi set himself on fire after officials stopped him from selling vegetables (NPR Staff). This act of civil disobedience in Tunisia erupted and spread throughout the Arab nations. The youth within these countries rose up against the injustices committed by their governments, extreme poverty, and a demand for democracy (Ajami). Both the Freddie gray Protests and the Arab spring have a common cause: government oppression.

Although, the Freddie gray protests ideally about police brutality also stems further into the treatment of African Americans in society. In both movements, the lack of education and social mobility has led to a population angry about their disenfranchisement. These protests are also similar in the way that the government responded. In both cases the government used either the military or increased militarization of the police force to repress the protests. In Baltimore a curfew was put into place, use of excessive use of tear gas and rubber bullets and numerous illegal arrests (Cleary; Daileda; Sampson).

In Tunisia the government implemented a curfew and ordered the military to shoot civilians (Kirkpatrick). In conclusion, civil disobedience, whether violent or nonviolent, will always be a justifiable response to oppressive governments. I do not think that the actual number of victims of police shootings is important but rather the response. How the government or police forces handle unlawful killings of civilians is more important than the number. When the government continuously lets police murderers free and our judicial systems fails these communities is when the riots become justifiable.