March 7, 2021

Rioting against a Virus—that’s not what the Beastie Boys Meant.


Many of us grew up listening to the famous Beastie Boys song “Fight for your right.”

And many of us like to party—but most of us understand that a global pandemic is not the best time to throw a street party with hundreds of students.

Some of us couldn’t believe what they saw when images from Spring Break 2020 in Florida went viral—but now, we are talking about Boulder, Colorado.

Actually, we are not only talking about Boulder because this has become a worldwide phenomenon. Party animals in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and in many parts of the United States found themselves literally fighting the police for their right to party in early 2021.

Really? Is this what we are doing in 2021? Fighting a fight to party while a contagious virus is threatening the lives of loved ones?

Flipping cars, burning firecrackers, and attacking the police because it is the first sunny weekend of the year? I understand that many of us are missing fun get-togethers with friends, but that’s not a reason to attack law enforcement or private property.

Many of us can agree that attacking Capitol Hill because one doesn’t accept or like the outcome of an election is wrong—can we also agree that rioting against a contagious virus is almost as silly?

Especially when it is conducted by students who should know better.

And that’s what is really bothering me about this worldwide phenomenon of folks fighting for their right to party:

This not activism. It is a display of privilege. Business owners, families, and healthcare workers are facing challenging times and have all the right in the world to be upset and maybe even react in an emotional way to certain developments—but if your only problem is that you are not allowed to chug a few drinks with friends in public, then please double check your perspective and privilege. 

I don’t think that a family who is about to get evicted from their home would fight the police for a party. I am pretty sure a single mom trying to make ends meet has better things to do than flipping cars on a sunny day, and it is needless to say that a person on a ventilator is fighting for their right to live—not to party.

We have come so far in this pandemic. There are several vaccines available, better treatments are on their way, and there is hope that we will return to something similar to normality by summer—unless we lose control over the mutations of COVID-19 that are spreading in many areas of the world.

I also love to party, and I can’t wait to do silly things with friends and have a good time—but it is not the time yet.

I know the last 12 months had been frustrating on many levels, but let’s not ruin our progress by rioting, partying, and being ignorant toward science—especially when you are in the privileged position to receive a college education.

When I was a bit younger and participated in political protests, there was one rule almost everyone would agree on:

Political activism and partying must be separated. The moment you start drinking or doing drugs, it is not a political protest—it’s a gathering. 

So, please don’t even start claiming that the riots in Boulder or elsewhere are a way of expressing disagreement with lockdown restrictions or a form of activism.

Let’s call it what it is: It is a display of privilege.


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