Why People Protest and Why I Don’t

It has been one hell of a week of demonstration, media, and protest. Death upon death has happened within our country and it seemed as if the 1960’s were on repeat. There were people out involved in a physical protest. Additionally, the police were there to keep the situation “under control” (or whatever you want to call it). The fight for black people’s right to simply breathe and exist was on full display for the past week.

Protest isn’t always agreed upon, however. Many people don’t truly see what purpose it serves. Also, many people ironically want to get into the unnerving thought of “fixing our own problems” before we say anything. All of these demonstrations have brought a nice pocket of interracial unity. Still, it pales in comparison to the many black people that don’t agree or simply see the point.

Let me eradicate a sweet lie that many of us live by: protest, by and large, is pointless.

Protest – Why Do It

Actually, the reason why people don’t understand the point of a protest is due to the real reason why it is necessary. A protest is all about bringing attention to a situation of unrest. When one protest, they are basically calling out a situation that some other “powerful” entity has placed on them. But, how would anyone know that what is happening is a problem for the people? Like Zora Neale Hurston warned us: if you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.

Dallas Police Chief, David Brown
Dallas Police Chief, David Brown

Plus, different protests have caused policy changes, solidarity, and strengthens activist relationships. For example, the deportation bill labeled H.R. 4473 was repealed due to protest back in 2006. This particular bill caused hundreds of thousands of people in key cities to set their differences aside for a common cause. From there, the people knew who they could count on to go against the unfair declarations and policies of the government. As innocuous as protests may seem, they have a knack of bringing people together to fight the power.

Protest – Why I Don’t Do It

However, my answer to a protest has always been “Nah”.


The main reason why I say this is because many of the issues are past their prime with me. I’m not going to keep having demonstration after demonstration over police brutality and governmental slacking. I would rather take on an action that will maintain my sanity and actually affect change. While I did note that many policies can be affected by protest, a lot of our present ills aren’t about policy. Many of them are all about the actions of entities that historically haven’t wavered.

Instead, I would rather want to put effort into making sure these situations don’t occur again. Alas, I am not confident in any elected official to take charge on this. So, systemic changes in how black people function as a unit has to happen. Whether it be a rearrangement of our economic support to the evolution of our police force, there has to be some documented actions that the citizenry takes on. In my eyes, there is problem solving and then there is problem prevention.

I go for problem prevention every time.

Protest – The Understanding

Protest has its place in our society. It tends to bring about attention, change, and the unification of the people. However, there are instances where protest isn’t enough. That is when the people have to take the situation and make the necessary changes themselves. If you can’t trust the powers that be, then the powers that be may not need to have that power anymore.