Protest can be good (See Morocco, for starters). They can also be ridiculous–and college campuses seem to lead the pack–as we forget that college is a developmental time when most of us need some space to be stupid. But, as Thomas Friedman explains, there is a dark side:
That we are becoming more morally aroused “is generally a good thing,” argued Seidman. Institutionalized racism in police departments, or in college fraternities, is real and had been tolerated for way too long. That it’s being called out is a sign of a society’s health “and re-engagement.”But when moral arousal manifests as moral outrage, he added, “it can either inspire or repress a serious conversation or the truth.”
Quoting Dov Sideman of LRN, protest and the subsequent outreach can lead to action–that may cause harm, “as opposed to a virtuous cycle of dialogue and the hard work of forging real understanding and enduring agreements.”
What is the relationship between protest and forging a real discussion versus shutting down conversations?