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Lessons from MLK
My middle-order MLK and the DREAM for Immigrant Rights was posted earlier today at Change.org but I will use my space here to share with you two more great lessons from Martin Luther King Jr., that guides my daily life and philosophy. The source is Letter from Birmingham Jail and this time, it is the “white moderate” under attack:
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
-Martin Luther King Jr, Letter from Birmingham Jail
I have already once blogged this quote here, while deriding people in the ‘immigrant rights’ movement for holding the DREAM Act hostage. It still holds true today when ‘immigrant rights’ people are quick to blame and judge ‘anarchists’ for creating an atmosphere of violence when it is simply PIC who feel that pepper-spraying children is a necessary action when it comes to “crowd control.”
But it is not our ‘allies’ that I am too concerned about nowadays. We know how to use them and they know how to use us–it is an exploitation based on a symbiotic relationship. I am more concerned about those in our ranks who choose to do nothing.
This is where the second lesson comes in. It is from the same letter. MLK also spoke about how freedom is never voluntarily given up by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. So everyone sitting on their laurels and still fearful of the consequences of action should actually think about the consequences of their inaction. There is more to fear by not doing anything. You can either choose to cower in the shadows in fear or you can choose to actually live life with your head and chin up. But do not shame the legacy of MLK and great leaders like him by riding on the coattails and hard-work of others.
Join a struggle–pick whatever cause you are passionate about and start organizing today.