To Riot or Not to Riot: That Is The Question


The aftermath of 18 year old Michael Brown tragically being gunned down by a St. Louis police officer, after visiting his grandmother’s home in Ferguson, Missouri, has been nothing less than a mass pandemonium for the past two days.

As I awoke Monday morning and started to check my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, I came across many posts regarding the tragic occurrence and it appeared as if many people were angered, frustrated and fed-up with these unjustified episodes of white men with guns, feeling as if they have the power and the authority to kill unarmed and non-threatening young black men.

I’ve read several articles regarding the riot that occurred in Ferguson on Sunday afternoon after a peaceful candlelight vigil was held, honoring Brown who was scheduled to begin his freshman year in college on Wednesday. Though I do not necessarily agree with looting and rioting as a response to what has transpired I understand the reasons behind such wrath.

The black community has been fighting the “system” and the phenomenon of superiority for decades and, historically as a group of people, we have always united and fought TOGETHER when one of our own has been unjustifiably harmed. Some may wonder why, as a generalized perception, black people act violently when we feel we’ve been violated; the answer to that question is that, it’s a learned and internalized behavior.

We are mimicking what we have seen our white counterparts do to us throughout history. When Black Wall Street was developed in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early 1900s, Black entrepreneurs, educators, lawyers, doctors, and etc. were flourishing. As soon as white America became threatened by the progression of black folks, what was done? White America burned down and destroyed the entire town of Greenwood (suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma where Black Wall Street was established). This is only one example of many cases where it has been historically documented that the black community’s response toward threatening circumstances, has been learned and adopted by the response of the dominant culture.

32 people were arrested Sunday after the rioting and looting occurred. A video of the riot captured a police officer calling the black protestors “animals”. For a moment, I have to be honest and admit that I thought to myself, “well, he could be justified in his thoughts…they are acting as animals, vandalizing and stealing things that don’t belong to them.” But, as I thought more about the historical and social construct of racism, it has always been black people who were seemingly in the wrong when protecting ourselves and our people, but when white folks do it, it is ALWAYS justified. The “Stand Your Ground” laws have vindicated armed white men who have shot and killed unarmed young black men just based off the notion that the white men, in these cases, felt threatened.

Ruth Latchison Nichols said, “People are tired. They have reached the end of their rope…Enough is enough. This is a state of emergency”, after the NAACP Forum was held Monday night.

Unfortunately, cases such as the case of young Michael Brown, happen day-in-and-day out all across the nation, yet these cases go unnoticed and unspoken. Modern day lynchings are occurring. Organ harvesting is taking place on a consistent basis, and is particularly being done to young black men who have been murdered; makes you wonder what “they” were doing with Trayvon Martin’s unidentified body for two full days before the parents were notified.

I would say, if anything, I would be more against the mass response of rioting for the mother who lost her child’s sake. I wonder how she feels about the chaos that has manifested throughout the past two days, just after losing her son. Does she feel as if the community is backing her up? Or is she praying for peace within her community?

Kara Warner is an upcoming author, blogger, and educator from Omaha, NE, by way of Hammond, IN. She has placed much emphasis on supporting, and becoming an advocate for women and youth who struggle with self- esteem, image, and perception issues.

In 2009, Kara founded a program entitled, ‘Beauty Is Skin Deep Movement, Inc.” in order to reconstruct the perception and image of women of color in American society. She has conducted classes for the YMCA, Urban League of Nebraska, Middle School Learning Center, and Girls Incorporated of Omaha.

Kara is currently working on a book titled, ” False Feelings Appearing Real”, a compilation of experiences and stories by women who have, throughout their life, struggled with understanding their feelings and are now learning how to cope with them.

Follow Kara @Conquistanoir (IG) Livelifwpurpose (Twitter)


  1. How is stealing ish helping the situation? These fools out here turning this situation into a reason to get themselves a new flat screen TV for free should be slapped silly by our communities. Once upon a time fools like this would have been handled. Now, they are almost seen as folk heroes. When whites are wronged they don’t riot. They mobilize and seek vengeance in an orderly fashion. Just ask OJ Simpson. It took them 15 years but they eventually got him. Rioting isn’t the answer, mobilization is. If these rioters want to do something constructive, go burn down the home of the killer cop, or better yet, kill him. This doesn’t happen in Italian neighborhoods because cops know they’ll be dead if they wrong one them. Rioting hurts the community, mobilization to exact vengeance helps.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree, Dana! there are so many opportunists that use situations like this to do wrong and feel like they’re justified.

  3. Black people are under fire, due to the insecurity and inferiority complex that some white men have towards black people. We are being murdered in the streets and left like road kill, and regardless of what we do to combat this epidemic it still will not bring back these human beings. We mustn’t add to this modern day lynching by making a damn fool of ourselves by stealing, burning and vandalizing our OWN communities. All of America should be up in arms regarding this bleak situation, however our colour keeps on blinding them. I`ll tell you this, they will “see“ when their blood is spilled.
    BTW, I don`t condone violence even if it is revenge. In the end we all have to answer to God.

  4. will Iam a home owner in fergerson
    and I am thinking will my home owner’s Insurence and car insurence go up , now that this has went down with the stealing crime going on now.
    this is the time for prayer and all I know is that a mother and father has lost there baby.

  5. Let me ask all of you who are commenting this: Are you watching the news OR the live feeds from camera crews trying to show you the real deal of what is actually going on in Ferguson? A handful of looters does not represent an entire group of people. I’m a bit disappointed in these comments! Smh.

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