Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baltimore and Either-Or Thinking

A quick thought about many of the opinions I've been seeing in regards to the riots going on in Baltimore. I seem to be seeing two major streams of thought.

On the one hand, there are people (including the family of Freddie Gray, the victim whose death sparked this violence, along with the much larger peaceful protests) who are condemning the rioters. There is no benefit to this kind of violence, they say. It's reckless and immoral to destroy property and, much worse, injure people, especially when no good can come of it.

On the other hand, there are people who point to the underlying, systemic racism of our society, and the constant disenfranchisement of large swaths of our communities as the underlying, root cause of the violence. Nothing will get better until we start fixing that fundamental problem. Riots and violence will always be simmering, waiting to explode, as long as some members of society feel oppressed. Because, when people have no reasonable recourse, they resort to unreasonable actions.

I'm pretty sure that we don't have to pick between these two streams of thought.