The Instigator
Pro (for)
8 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The Riots Following the Murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson were/are Morally Justified

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/24/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,521 times Debate No: 65765
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (21)
Votes (2)




Rd 1 - acceptance and rules
Rd 2-5. Debating

Each debater must have a credible source for all definitions and claims. Treat each essay like an academic paper. Citations are a must.

BOP must be shared, judges should vote for whoever made the best case. Nothing can be proven nor disproven since this is an ethical debate.

Normally I'm more specific but I'm typing this on my phone. I trust my opponent will accept the spirit of the debate and not force me to define it ad nauseum.


I accept this challenge and I await my opponent's argument.
Debate Round No. 1


People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them...One day to everyone"s astonishment, someone drops a match in the powder keg, and everything blows up."

-James Baldwin-

Anthony Crawford grew cotton in Abbeville, South Carolina. He married a kind woman named Tebby and started a family. They grew their farm into the most prosperous in the county. There was only one problem, he was a black man. In 1916 he was lynched by over 200 Whites because he refused to lower his cotton prices. The murderers walked free, they were never charged with a crime, and there was no response from local Blacks. The Crawford family was forced to lower their prices and the once prosperous family fell into poverty. Blacks were too terrified to riot, protest, or seek further legal action. The problem only got worse. Lynchings in the region continued with impunity. African Americans in the South and throughout the country were kept down and stayed down lest they face the fate of Anthony Crawford.
(NBC, 2005: )
(Johnson, 1998:

Historians believe that at least 2-3 blacks were lynched each week in the American South throughout the 19th and 20th century. There are over 500 documented cases of lynching in Mississippi alone, the figure climbed to over 5,000 documented cases Nationwide from 1882 to 1968.
(PBS, 2009:
(Berea College, 1999:

Why did the Civil Rights movement begin in ~1954, and not 1914? Why did it blossom forty years too late for Anthony Crawford and the millions like him that were subdued through fear and intimidation?

The answers to that question could fill many books, but there was one change that was critical to the budding of the American Civil Rights Movement.

The beginning of World War II saw the mass recruitment and military training of African Americans. For the first time, unlike WWI, many African Americans fought on the front lines, led combat units, and engaged in special combat missions. Black soldiers came back home, organized and demanded respect. There were several race riots in major American cities throughout the 1940s, most notably in Detroit in 1943. Hundreds died, both black and white, and millions of dollars of property were destroyed.
(PBS, 2013:

For the first time, white society had an incentive to address the grievances of African Americans. For the first time, since the Civil War, there were serious consequences for the systematic oppression of Blacks in the United States. If a child never stands up to a bully he can be bullied indefinitely. Once the child stands up for himself, there will be a struggle, but the bully will be less likely to engage in the same behavior. The riots of the 1940s led to early reforms and in 1948, Truman desegregated the armed forces and began pushing for Civil Rights legislation.

But the Civil Rights movement was led by peaceful leaders such as Martin Luther King, right?
Throughout the Civil Rights Movement there was a good cop and a bad cop unconsciously working together to compel progressive legislation. Police use the good-cop bad-cop routine to compel suspects to confess to the sympathetic good-cop because they are so afraid of the hostile bad-cop. There were several militant wings of the Civil Rights movement that served as the "bad-cop" the MLK"s "good cop." The government was afraid of hostile militant groups like the Black Nation-of-Islam, Black Nationalists, and the the Black Panthers. So the state negotiated and compromised with the sympathetic non-violent side led by Martin Luther King. Both sides were essential to bring about this result. The threat of chaos and violence gives society an incentive to share power with African Americans because they understand the current racist system will only lead to further riots and the collapse of civil society.

The Civil Rights Movement was not won by the moral arguments alone. Articulate champions of equal rights for African Americans have been around since 1776. Only when African Americans and their allies have seized power through violence or assertive political action has positive change taken place.

Violent Factions Give Authorities a Powerful Incentive to Compromise with the Non-Violent Factions of the Same Movement
This was true of many of the liberation movements of the mid 20th century.
LBJ compromised with MLK because they were afraid of more riots and militant factions.
The British compromised with Gandhi because they were afraid of militant Hindu Nationalists that had been widely militarized during WWII.
Nelson Mandela"s political party and his allies eventually ended White colonial rule in South Africa because many factions in his party were well-armed and prepared to plunge the country into civil war.

TODAY many of the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement have been undermined by a lack of investment in communities of color and a criminal justice system that oppresses blacks and destroys hundreds of thousands of lives with impunity through police brutality and mass imprisonment.

NOTE: I'm afraid I didn't have time to finish today due to family commitments during the holiday season. My humble apologies. Below appears an outline of the rest of my arguments so my opponent will have the benefit of knowing my entire case for this debate. I'll provide evidence and flesh out my arguments below in rd 3.

Local Government Abuses -
Ofc. Wilson fired 12 shots (6 hit) into an unarmed minor
ii. Body of Brown lied in the street for over four hours
Police did not complete report, did not know how many shots were fired
iv. Repeated pattern of behavior, showing they have racist leadership and a reckless disregard for the lives of African Americans by using an inappropriate show of force against unarmed non-violent offenders

A2. Federal Government Abuses
Highest prison population in the developed world
ii. African Americans have a high conviction rate than Whites for the same crime, especially for drug offense, though whites use drugs at about the same rate.
Pattern of behavior: Trayvon, Cleveland boy x, Michael Brown, X, Y, Z, - in all cases police killed an unarmed black ma and faced no legal consequences.
iv. Local & Federal abuses = lack of public trust in essential government institutions

A3. General American Government Failures
Lack of public education
lack of proper welfare and rehab programs
Failure of police, society, and justice system...
Mass incarceration, felony law - no ability to get job
A + B + C = NO HOPE".. NO HOPE for people = Loss of social contract".

Altogether, the state has destroyed the social contract for millions of African Americans by failing to protect their natural rights.

Collapse of social contract, no investment in communities of color:
"What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
or does it explode - "
HOPELESSNESS = Despair & Genocide (destruction of life"s meaning and purpose) or Revolution".

Government failure, on every level, to respond properly
Failure of reform, political plutocracy
Society far less democratic, democratic foundations of our republic are collapsing...
Failures of non-government reform, Failure of non-government reform - corrupt WHITE media
Myth of National _Ethical Debate_ is red herring distracting us from the real power struggle and oppression"
Problem with national discourse". general bias"..
White response to murder of black".
a" hesitation
reasoned - thoughtful"
finds ways to moderate the response
No indictment
No charges" grand jury wasn"t even necessary...
White response to murder of white
Prosecutor indicts immediately and move directly to trial
Most indicted (charged) with murder are convicted" especially African Americans...

THEORY: Right of Revolt / Kritik
US Declaration of Independence
Jefferson and Enlightenment Thinkers
Natural Law v. Man-made law
Social Contract, people have the RIGHT to rewrite it and start over when government authorities violate social contract
The government"s violation of the social contract suspends most man-made laws (vs natural laws)
Suspension of man-made laws means that property rights and local ordinances about protest permits, noise ordinances etc. are TRUMPED by people"s right to reclaim power from the government so they can rewrite the social contract the government destroyed.
Rewriting of the social contract and reforms can take place once (a) people reclaim power or (b) government realized people have the potential to seize power and begin negotiating with less militant party (American Civil War, Civil Rights Movement (good cop v. Bad cop) in South Africa, USA, India.

ALTERNATIVE/PLAN::::::: Vote Pro and Affirm the right of Blacks to revolt against cultural genocide perpetrated by the American federal, state(s), and local government(s)...

SOLVENCY: By demonstrating the people have the CAPACITY to seize power and abolish the government - it will spur the government to pursue reforms to preserve the government.
Either the government must RESTORE the social contract
or the people will do it by force...


DavidMGold forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has chosen to forfeit his first constructive. He was given 3 days to respond, the maximum allotted by Yet he chose not to respond. Therefore all of my arguments in rd 2 stand as true. My opponent has rds 3-5 to respond to my remaining arguments.

Rd 2 Review...

The violent wing can encourage authorities to compromise with the non-violent wing of an anti-colonial or civil rights movement, just as suspects will often confess to the 'good cop' to escape the fury of the 'bad cop.'

Because my opponent failed to respond, all of my arguments from my first constructive in rd 2 STAND. Violent riots and militant factions within anti-racist or anti-colonial movements have been essential to that movements success. As I showed in rd 2, the American Civil Rights Movement, and the anti-colonial movement in India and South Africa all depended on a violent wing to succeed.

My first constructive in rd 2 focused on these histories to demonstrate how riots often spur vital social reforms.
My rd 3 constructive will demonstrate how the Ferguson rioters, specifically, are justified in rioting.

African Americans in the United States of America, especially those in Ferguson, have suffered numerous violation of their natural rights creating a sense of hopelessness through the destruction of the social contract. The loss of the social contract justifies radical civil disobedience and citizen revolt to compel society to restore the social contract so that their natural rights are properly protected.


All human beings have a natural right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as enshrined by the U.S. Constitution. These rights have been violated numerous times by the Ferguson police. The Ferguson police have overwhelmingly targeted African Americans for arrest and used a disproportionate show of force to brutalize and kill African Americans in Ferguson, Missouri.

African Americans make up 67% of Ferguson yet police stop African Americans 86 percent of the time. 94% of the Ferguson Police are White.
Over 92% of arrests are arrests of African Americans
Yet according to the study conducted by the Missouri Attorney General, Whites are more likely to carry illegal contraband than Blacks in Ferguson.
State of Missouri Report:
Buzzfeed News Overview:

Michael Brown is just the tip of the ice berg. In the St. Louis area, from 2003 to 2012, police have killed 39 people (32 of which were African American). In everyone of those 39 instances no police officer ever faced jail time. A police officer was only indicted once, but was later acquitted.
According to the same report, African Americans make up over 90% of the homicide victims in the St. Louis area.

African Americans feel both unprotected and violated by the police. Some believe that the rioters are ignoring "Black-on-Black" violence and focusing narrowly on police violence. This is not true. Everyone understands and universally condemns "Black-on-Black" violence at every opportunity. The significant different between "Black-on'Black" and "White Police on Black Civilian" violence is that the white police never go to jail. Any African American violator (by-in-large) is quickly caught, tried, and convicted. While far less than 1% of police who kill an unarmed black men are ever indicted. Police kill with impunity. That's why people are so righteously enraged.


A. No Equal Protection Under the Law
Nationally, African Americans face a dire picture that mirrors the fierce inequalities found in the criminal justice system in Ferguson and St. Louis, Missouri.

African Americans are more likely to be arrested, convicted, and face a longer sentence than Whites for the same offense.

African Americans are approx. 4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than Whites.

Incarceration Trends in America

From 1980 to 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled-from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million people
Today, the US is 5% of the World population and has 25% of world prisoners.
Combining the number of people in prison and jail with those under parole or probation supervision, 1 in ever y 31 adults, or 3.2 percent of the population is under some form of correctional control
Racial Disparities in Incarceration

African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population
African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites
Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population
According to Unlocking America, if African American and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates of whites, today's prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50%
One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime
1 in 100 African American women are in prison
Nationwide, African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained, 46% of the youth who are judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of the youth admitted to state prisons (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice).
Drug Sentencing Disparities

About 14 million Whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug
5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites
African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.
African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)

HARM -3 / INHERNECY: Loss of Hope

African Americans are far more likely to be born into poverty and increasing income inequality makes social mobility far less likely in the USA than for most of the developed world. That means the vast majority of the poor stay poor and will likely have poor children.
45.8 percent of young black children (under age 6) live in poverty, compared to 14.5 percent of white children. - See more at:

Education Does NOT Solve Racial Inequality for Most
This cycle of poverty is exasperated by a unequal education system that too falls on racial lines.

Media Discourse Does NOT Curb Racism: The Media, by in large, tends to dehumanize black people.
African Americans are most often portrayed as criminals or side-characters that are often pigeon-holed into a "token" side-kicks that are only valued for wise-cracks or physical intimidation.

Democratic and Electoral Avenues to Correct Abuse Often Fail...
Case in point, Ferguson is over 67% African American, yet almost all of the elected officials are white and support the Ferguson police dept.
The wealthiest candidates normally win and campaign money outside of an electoral jurisdiction can have a huge influence on the outcome of the election.

The violation of their natural rights: their lives by police brutality, their freedom by mass imprisonment, and their dignity by a culture that dehumanizes them has destroyed the social contract for Black America.

This loss of hope gives African Americans no legal way to channel their grievances and rage in a way that will likely address these grievances and prevent future abuse.

"What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?..........Or does it explode?"
-Langston Hughes-

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government....."
-Thomas Jefferson-
U.S. Declaration of Independence

Riots and violent wings often lead to vital social reforms, see my rd. 2 arguments.


DavidMGold forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I'm quite disappointed that my opponent has chosen to forfeit his last two responses.

Voters, extend all of my arguments. They all stand as true in this debate since my opponent did not respond to a single one.


In debate when you do not respond to an argument, it is "dropped" and becomes true because it was never refuted or challenged. As an ethical debate, the BOP was shared so you must weigh our burdens equally. Because any moral statements can never be "proven" because they are value claims not, empirical claims.

It's important to weigh responsiveness otherwise the debate could be corrupted by the preconceived opinion of the voter. I think most understand that you vote for the best arguments, not the position that you already agree with.

Therefore, seeing my opponent has dropped all of my arguments, you must vote PRO.



DavidMGold forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Hierocles forfeited this round.


DavidMGold forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Hierocles 1 year ago
@Vaj - read this article in The Atlantic:

Maybe you'll learn something.
Posted by Hierocles 1 year ago
@Vaj - the statement "Blacks are substantially less intelligent than, & genetically inferior to, Whites." is absolutely racist and unsupported by any scientific study. That's hate speech and it should be offensive to everyone here. You don't deserve to be on this website. You are suffering from a sickness. I pity you for your ignorance and the degree you have limited your life by pushing away people who look different from you.

The books by Richard Lynn just shows that African Americans, on average, did poorly on some standardized tests. However, there is overwhelming evidence that intelligence is influenced most by environmental conditions, tests cannot measure innate intelligence, and many of them are culturally biased.

In debate, you vote for the best argument, not what you already agree with. If CON doesn't provide any arguments, you must vote for PRO by default.
Posted by Hierocles 1 year ago
Wow @Vaj, you're a racist. I reported your comment and it should be deleted shortly.
Posted by Vajrasattva-LeRoy 1 year ago
The idea that Pro's arguments are good, true, etc. , doesn't make any sense.

Calling the dropping of a black-skinned body MURDER
automatically biases the issues ,
so no real debate is possible.

Blacks, on average, score 16 points lower on IQ tests than Whites.
Blacks are substantially less intelligent than, & genetically inferior to, Whites.
Study "The Bell Curve" , "The Global Bell Curve" , books by Psychology Professor
Richard Lynn of the University of Ulster, etc.

"Racism" doesn't exist.
Posted by Hierocles 1 year ago
@Nomagic - agreed, I'll accept a challenge on this debate from anyone. I'll debate it with you if you like.
Posted by NoMagic 1 year ago
To bad Con chose to not respond. Was looking forward to an interesting debate. Skimmed Pro's arguments and found them to be good. Will reread more closely. Strong open Pro, sucks that Con tapped out. Maybe repost it and see if you can get a good opponent. Would like to see both sides argued for.
Posted by Hierocles 1 year ago
@Cheyenee - I can see you take issue a wide range of matters. Why don't you challenge me to a debate?
I'm not going to respond to every little comment you make.
Posted by cheyennebodie 1 year ago
And why don't you address why you called it murder?Just because democrats lynched people in the past has nothing to do with what happened.
Posted by cheyennebodie 1 year ago
What you failed to address is that has always been democrats that have kept blacks down even to this day.
Posted by Hierocles 1 year ago
It sounds like you both already know everything there is to know. I guess you never need to read a word ever again. Congratulations, your education is complete. Go out and teach the world your perfect wisdom. I pity you, you're done learning.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Robert_Weiler 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: CONDUCT - Clearly CON had no intention of engaging in this debate.
Vote Placed by NoMagic 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made strong arguments. Con forfeited very round. Would have liked to see Con present some arguments. Pro deserves the win. To bad Pro didn't get someone to argue against his points.