Love Doesn’t Always Win


Nathan Keirn [email protected]


Siri Yendluri, Senior Opinions Editor

Love is pointless….when it’s a protest.

But that’s OK because , protests are not acts of love. Love is not the instrumental tool we need to fight injustices. Although a depressing thought, love cannot solve all the problems the world faces.

We often try to make the language surrounding protests sound loving and optimistic instead of what protests really are: acts of defiance against oppressors.

Especially after the 2016 election, I have heard people shout slogans like “love trumps hate” and “love, not hate, makes America great.” While these are great mottos, they often cause people to misconstrue the purpose of protests and how they are not the same thing as love.

In fact, through these misconceptions, we are also undermining movements and their progress, not through love but through forms of violence. I’m not talking about killing people for the cause. I’m talking about civil disobedience.

Before the Black Lives Matter movement came into existence, police brutality (believe it or not) existed, but nobody talked about it. Now, the movement is one of the most controversial and well-known movements of today.

And why is that? It’s because supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement are marching on the streets and forcing the media to pay attention. For example, last year’s Black Lives Matter protest took the media’s focus off the election for once and directed it towards the riots in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In contrast to this, arguments for love instead of protest are actually ineffective and just become excuses for inaction. How many people who attended the Women’s March marched for Black Lives Matter when they had the chance? How many of them called their senators to inform them of their support for DACA?

Some of the people who attended the Women’s March now act as if we need to accept Trump’s presidency and act loving towards the very people who voted for him. Love can’t always be the answer. Nonviolent protest doesn’t always work.

The very argument for nonviolent protest is actually a very privileged one to make. Not everyone has the luxury to be listened to when they protest without a riot. These arguments for loving protests come from people who have an audience when they say something they believe in and those who can wait for change to occur.

Even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated for violence and said that violence in the form of riots is justified. When people say they support Dr. King’s civil rights movement, they are being selective in what parts of his movement they like.

People often forget that Dr. King actually supported forms of violent protest. In 1968 Dr. King explained his views in his speech “The Other America.”

He said, “A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.”

We cannot tell people who are fighting against injustices to treat their oppressors with love. The argument that “we need to come together in times like these” mostly comes from privileged people who are hurt when people criticize their bigotry.

Maybe instead of telling people to love the very people who don’t treat them with respect and try to overlook the harmful rhetoric they use, we should encourage them to fight against injustices.

Love can be a good thing, but it is not a form of protest. While it is well-intentioned to fight hate with love, we cannot expect love to cause change all the time.