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Racism Essay, Research Paper

There have been many great civil rights activists in our history, fighting against the oppression of blacks. I think Martin Luther King Jr. said it best in his essay ?Three Ways of Responding to Oppression?. Mr. King believed the best defense and offense against oppression was the way of nonviolent resistance; ?seeking to reconcile the truths of two opposites-acquiescence and violence-while avoiding the extremes and immoralities of both?.

Mr. King stated that there are three characteristic ways oppressed people deal with their oppression, one way is acquiescence: the oppressed resign themselves to their doom. They adjust themselves to oppression and become conditioned to it. Some of the oppressed prefer to remain oppressed; it?s just easier to accept it than to resist it. Mr. King believed that this was not the way out, to passively accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system. I can see how this type of negative thinking gets nothing accomplished for the oppressed; it tells the oppressors that his actions are morally right.

A second way that the oppressed sometimes deal with oppression as stated by Mr. King, is to resort to physical violence and hatred. Mr. King believed that violence often brings about momentary results and does not solve any social problems, but merely creates new and more complicated ones. He believed, the saying; ?an eye for an eye? leaves everybody blind. Mr. King stated; ?violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral?. It is impractical because it ends in destruction for all, and

immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. He believed that giving into violence in the struggle for freedom was leaving a legacy for future generations of endless and meaningless chaos. I don?t believe that violence is ever the answer either, although sometimes necessary, but usually avoidable.

The third and final way Mr. King believed oppressed people used in their quest for freedom was the way of nonviolent resistance. With nonviolent resistance, no individual or group need submit to any wrong, nor need anyone resort to violence in order to right a wrong. Mr. King believed this was the way to fight oppression; ?The nonviolent register agrees with the person who acquiesces that one should not be physically aggressive toward his opponent, but he balances the equation by agreeing with the person of violence that evil must by resisted?. Through nonviolent resistance you can make a lasting contribution to the moral strength of the nation and set a high example of courage for generations yet to come. I agree with Mr. King?s idea of nonviolent resistance; to rise above the oppressors and demand equality in a peaceful manner.

At the end of this essay Mr. King states; ?The problem is not a purely racial one, with Negroes set against whites. In the end it is not a struggle between people at all, but a tension between justice and injustice. Nonviolent resistance is not aimed against oppressors but against oppression. Under it?s banner consciences, not racial groups are enlisted. If the Negro is to achieve the goal of integration, he must organize himself into a militant and nonviolent mass movement?.

I find it ironic that Martin Luther King Jr. who was a well known civil rights activist, and who strongly believed in fighting oppression in a nonviolent manner, died in such a tragic, violent way; all in the name of equality. I believe that his method of fighting oppression in a nonviolent manner was the best method because the long-term goal was to achieve equality for blacks, and eventually peace. If this battle were fought in a violent manner, the outcome of peace would have been pushed farther away


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