Are Protests Effective Anymore?

The Color Purple 2023

Lecia Brooks, director at the Southern Poverty Law Center, gave a presentation on the Civil Rights Movement at Colorado State University’s Diversity Symposium. Brooks went in depth about the importance of protest against discrimination. She offered a first-hand experience into what it was like to be apart of the Civil Rights Movement and how the movement still has impacts today.

Brooks started her presentation with an explanation of what purpose the Southern Poverty Law Center serves. The organization was formed in 1971 by Morris Dees and Joe Levin.

The Southern Poverty Law Center

“We’re currently tracking more than 1,600 extremist groups operating across the country,” The website for the SPLC reads, “we publish investigative reports, train law enforcement officers and share key intelligence, and offer expert analysis to the media and public.”

Brooks then gave the audience a history lesson concerning the Civil Rights Movement by dispelling some myths. She gave more context on many issues that the average American knows by heart.

Brooks then finished the presentation by addressing how important continued resistance to oppression is.

With more modern oppression that often seem so integrated in American culture many question the effectiveness of protesting. When asked the question about the efficiency of protest in today’s era, Brooks underlined the importance of protest specifically.

I still believe that it’s important to counter protest and especially in the current climate because there’s a real push to normalize white supremacist thought.”

“I take issue with the premise that they are completely ineffective,” Brookes said, “I think they should be used in combination with other things. And I still believe that it’s important to counter protest and especially in the current climate because there’s a real push to normalize white supremacist thought.”

Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek are leaders within the modern Marxist movement and they have a more biting philosophy when it comes to protesting.

“If we look at the protests today as an exercise in public awareness,” Williams and Srnicek write, “they appear to have had mixed success at best. Their messages are mangled by an unsympathetic media smitten by images of property destruction—assuming that the media even acknowledges a form of contention that has become increasingly repetitive and boring.”

An interesting perspective when it comes to protests is how people that harbor hidden diversity find their place in social activism. Jessie Yang of Hong Kong University, documents the struggles her friend Kristy faced when it came to protesting in a country where she was not born.

Protesters in Hong Kong

Kristy was born in South Korea and moved to China when she was 16. When a scandal came out concerning the president of South Korea, Kristy felt helpless.

There are so many social issues in Korea right now,” Kristy said, ”but I don’t have the power to change anything.”

TCK’s have an interesting challenge when it comes to enacting change. Since they have many identities it is difficult to participate in social change. They may be in a different country than the one they were born in, however they regard these issues as much as any person.

The effectiveness of the protest has come into question especially with a new generation of 21st Century Citizens. The past has proven that protests do enact social change, but in a today’s era protests have yet to prove effective.

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  1. The large and high quality visuals drew me into the article and kept me moving throughout the story. The strategic block quoting emphasized important points and left a lasting impression. I enjoyed the different points you hit in one article and how you related the presentation to broader social issues and ultimately the TCK population. It would have been interesting to read more about what Lecia Brooks had to say.

  2. This was a very well thought out article! It was clear the author really considered spacial awareness and took time to compose the piece. I really appreciated how they brought in diverse perspectives to the article.

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