"Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direction action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open where it can be seen and dealt with."
--Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from Birmingham Jail
This is as appropriate to racism then as it is to economic inequality now. The Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party Movements are examples of how peaceful protests help shake up the morally complacent status quo.