50 Riot Quotes To Better Understand Revolution

Take a moment and read through our riot quotes and sayings.

Riots occur all over the planet.

What are riots?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once famously espoused, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

Riots are a popular expression used by people who are passionate about something but may not have their needs acknowledged. 

Historically, rioting has been a popular cultural response to changes in laws, policies, and worldviews.

The definitions can be tricky when asked to define when rioting is an appropriate response, our country’s laws differentiation between riots and unlawful assembly. 

Most people would say it is their first amendment right to assemble to express their concerns peacefully. 

Britannica says, “Assembly becomes unlawful when persons gather to commit a crime involving force or a noncriminal act in a manner likely to terrify the public.”

There are multiple viewpoints on an act of force or an act likely to terrify people. 

Riot quotes by MLK and others

1. “Betty White is a riot. She is a good time!” — Odette Annable

2. “I was arrested when I was 19 for inciting a riot.” Wyatt Cenac 

3. “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

4. “We’d all survive if Twitter shut down for a short while during major riots.” Louise Mensch 

5. “Rioting is always an expression of rage at the hopelessness of the rioters’ condition.” Damian Green

6. “Samuel L. Jackson is such a riot. He’s so incredibly normal, and he’s a blast to be around.” Dove Cameron  

7. “I got kicked out in grade school because I staged a riot because I wanted more library time.” Bitsie Tulloch

8. “For me, a good comedy town is filled with people on the verge of a riot. They need something to relieve the tension.” Jim Norton

9. “People who have been educated well enough to feel that they have a good future in the society in which they live will not riot.” Damian Green

10. “A riot’s unchecked destruction of livelihoods and property is certainly newsworthy, threatening as it does the very possibility of civilization.” Heather Mac Donald 

Insightful riot quotes 

11. “Why do we have to have another riot?” Ty Dolla Sign

12. “People walked the streets, but it wasn’t a riot – it wasn’t mayhem. It was a unified feeling of euphoria.” Mike Colter 

13. “If riot info and fear is spreading by Facebook and Twitter, shut them off for an hour or two, then restore.” Louise Mensch 

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14. “At one of the live events, somebody had a sign that said ‘If Eva Marie Is Here We Riot.’ I thought that was pretty cool.” Eva Marie 

15. “I won a competition in primary school for my painting of Nottingham’s Goose Fair; it was a riot of color with glitter and sequins.” Alice Levine 

16. “When a riot happens in a city or a town or a village, the man in charge of the place is held responsible, and the same thing has happened to Modi.” Suresh Gopi

17. “It would be stupid tameness, and unaccountable folly, for whole nations to suffer one unreasonable, ambitious and cruel man, to wanton and riot in their misery.” Jonathan Mayhew

18. “The hate directed against the colored people here in St. Louis has always given me a sad feeling because when I was a little girl, I remember the horror of the East St. Louis race riot.” Josephine Baker 

19. “Had it not been for the groundswell of support by the people of India, we would not have seen such a huge exercise of demonetization bounce off without a single riot or a single law and order issue.” Arundhati Bhattacharya

20. “In 1974, when the city of Boston was desegregating its schools, I watched the news with my dad and saw the police escorts in riot gear, the protesters screaming at the buses, small frightened faces in their windows.” Wendell Pierce 

Quiet riot quotes 

21. “Robin Williams is just as funny as you think he is. He was a riot.” Stephen Root 

22. “You can’t just lecture the poor that they shouldn’t riot or go to extremes. You have to make the means of legal redress available.” Harold H. Greene 

23. “If you look at the data, the inner city that was the riot zone lost 55,000 jobs in the ten years from 1992 to 2002, instead of gaining a surplus of 50,000.” Tom Hayden 

24. “I became chairman of the inmates’ committee. Got into a lot of trouble. Was accused of fomenting a riot. Was accused of plotting to kill the warden.” Clifford Irving 

25. “The riot isn’t seen in the movie, but it is alluded to. He has this one speech that gives a great sense of texture and paints a picture of what was happening in Harlem then.” Debbie Allen 

26. “I wore black, I said things like, ‘I’m mourning the death of modern society.’ I mean, I was a riot.” Maggie Stiefvater 

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27. “Michael Ralph brilliantly plays the street prophet, a West Indian who foreshadows the Harlem riot.” Debbie Allen 

28. “But what I want to say, there’s no reason to cry. Do not, in the name of peace, go in the streets and riot.” George Weah

29. “There was a prison uprising at Alcatraz, and I drove the Marines over there in a landing craft to quell the riot.” Bud Grant

30. “While staging demonstrations against wrongs, please do not cross the line, and see to it that no situation is allowed to turn into a riot.” Amit Shah

Riot quotes to inspire and teach

31. “I’d like to cause a little riot in skating.” Sasha Cohen

32. “We shouldn’t need riot police at schools.” Noel Gallagher 

33. “He didn’t riot. He got on his bike and looked for work.” Norman Tebbit   

34. “The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.” Audre Lorde 

35. “I moved around a lot when I was a child; two of the houses I grew up in have totally disappeared. One was burnt in a riot, and the other was pulled down.” Toyin Odutola

36. “I found myself in the middle of a race riot when I was about 14 years old, and I found someone pointing a gun at me and telling me to run or they’d shoot me.” Tracy Chapman

37. “Rioting is a childish way of trying to be a man, but it takes time to rise out of the hell of hatred and frustration and accept that to be a man, you don’t have to riot.” Abraham Maslow 

38. “We live in a time where the government is not a leadership thing, it’s more a business that’s out there and running riot, so I guess the people have to go out there and say stuff.” Yahoo Serious 

39. “While F.D.R. once told Americans that we have nothing to fear but fear itself, Mr. Ashcroft is delighted to play the part of Fear Itself, an assignment in which he lets his imagination run riot.” Frank Rich

40. “But I find all states of nature beautiful, and because I want to delight in my garden, not rule it, I just accept my yen to tame the chaos on one day and let the Japanese beetles run riot on the next.” Diane Ackerman

More riot quotes and sayings

41. “My soul is dark with stormy riot: directly traced over to diet.” Samuel Hoffenstein 

42. “And so there can be a real riot out there, or it can be so refined.” Evelyn Glennie 

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43. “I started my own zine, and riot grrrl became a huge part of my identity.” Kate Nash

44. “Legislation won’t necessarily start a riot. But the right song can make someone pick up a chair.” Saul Williams

45. “I’m always up for a riot, but now and again, you’ve gotta put your feet up and enjoy the sunset.” Pete Doherty

46. “Bind up thy words that they run not riot, and grow wanton, and gather up sins for themselves in too much talking.” Saint Ambrose 

47. “It seems as if an age of genius must be succeeded by an age of endeavor; riot and extravagance by cleanliness and hard work.” Virginia Woolf 

48. “I think Pussy Riot is amazing. I’m honored that they were inspired by riot grrl, and obviously, they’re making history around the world.” Corin Tucker 

49. “Punk may have helped me find my voice and made me realize that I had the right to have one, but it was riot grrrl that helped me sustain that voice and shout a little louder.” Kate Nash 

50. “To make riot grrrl move into the future in a new way with a bunch of new names and a bunch of new energy, younger people have to learn about it and apply it to their own lives and own modern conversation.” Kathleen Hanna 

Why do riots happen?

Riots occur for many reasons; some are more reasonable than others.

Riots are as unique as the conditions on earth. 

There is no blanket statement why riots arise.

People who have been frustrated, oppressed, or mistreated can only take so much.  

Dr. King called riots the language of the unheard because most riots are from groups who feel passionate about their conditions but remain ignored. 

Not all riots are righteous actions of revolt against oppressive conditions.

The line between peaceful assembly and riot can change based on perceptions.

Some riots are grounded in hate, prejudice, and anger. 

It is easy to paint anyone amid a riot as someone attempting to stop the peace, but a few riots have positively impacted our world. 

Since riots occur for various reasons, we must analyze each instance critically.

When we can contextualize the conditions, it makes understanding the reason for riots easier. 

What’s your biggest takeaway from these riot quotes and sayings?

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