University Newspaper Editor: Violence Is an ‘Unavoidable Consequence of Oppression’

Black Lives Matter in Ferguson
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An enlightened social justice warrior from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, who identifies as a pacifist, argued in a recent op-ed that violence committed by minorities is often a justified response to structural oppression.

University of Wisconsin student Thomas Valtin-Erwin, who is the Sports Editor of The Daily Cardinal, argues in an opinion piece that the nonviolent ideologies of white Americans are born out of the privileges that are afforded to them by society.

Valtin-Erwin argues that the violence committed by members of oppressed groups is often a justified response to the oppression that they have been forced to endure. He justifies the Dallas shooting that killed five police officers by arguing that their deaths were the ultimate result of a protest effort that began with nonviolence.

It’s also important to recognize that violent protests are invariably preceded by myriad attempts at nonviolent protest. Black Americans have been oppressed since the foundation of the country; are we really dull enough to trick ourselves into believing that there was radio silence leading up to any given violent outbreak? That the individual who shot and killed five police officers in Dallas earlier this year did so as a first response, and not because countless attempts at nonviolent reconciliation have been met by yet more bodies?

The University of Wisconsin junior, who is an African Cultural studies major, argues that his personal commitment to nonviolence doesn’t apply to members of oppressed groups. As a “privileged person”, Valtin-Erwin claims that he must learn to “accept violence as an unavoidable consequence of oppression.”

So I will likely continue to oppose violence at all costs, as I always have. But the realization that I may be unfairly basking in the privilege afforded me at birth has shocked me to my core. I think that nonviolence is good, and that we should all strive to avoid violence if possible. But I now recognize that, as a humongously privileged person, I must learn to accept violence as an unavoidable consequence of oppression, something that I’ve simply been too blind to notice until now.

Lost on Valtin-Erwin is the work of Martin Luther King Jr., who insisted on a nonviolent resistance against oppression during the American Civil Rights movement.

Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that ‘‘nonviolent resistance,’’ is ‘‘a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love.” Both ‘‘morally and practically’’ committed to nonviolence, King believed that ‘‘the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.’’

Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at