“You Should Pray I Choose the Latter”: Rioting, Violence, & Jouissance

By: Gautam Basu Thakur 

Abstract: In the climactic scene from the film The Great Debaters (2007), James L. Framer Jr. (Denzel Whitaker), speaking for the motion “Resolved: Civil Disobedience is a Moral weapon in the fight for Justice,” rebuts the opponent team from Harvard University and clinches a win for his team, Wiley College, with the following words: St. Augustine said an unjust law is no law at all, which means I have a right, even a duty, to resist. With violence or civil disobedience. You should pray I choose the latter. (1:52:20 – 1:55:45)