Thursday, January 24, 2008

Maria (my 2nd ex-wife) did not like an article I posted two days ago in criticism of Martin Luther King. She sent me this (cited with her permission):
"This opinion piece is crazy. 1) The civil rights movement was accomplished, in large part, by the threat of violence. Not only the Deacons for Defense (who were armed guards protecting many of the leaders of the civil rights movement, including King), but also the National Guard. Troops and jeeps with guns on the back were what it took to get those kids into the school in Arkansas. Pretending that King was some kind of a wuss who accomplished nothing is a joke. 2) Gandhi was distinguishing between nonviolent resistance, which he explicitly said requires trength and bravery, and therefore is NOT a weapon of the weak, and passive resistance, which is to go along with evil even if you hate it. The use of that quote is deeply misleading. He was wishing his movement were more truly based in his principles, rather than falling apart, as it seemed to be doing at the time. 3) If black people, who were not only a minority, but also a minority that was already stereotyped as "violent," had turned to primarily violent means to accomplish their goals, they would have been killed. Members of the Black Panther party, who threatened violence but in fact engaged in very little violence, were shot dead in their beds. 4) Some people are actually weak. Thoughtful, committed nonviolence may be the only practical strategy in some situations. I'm not a pacifist. I accept that there are times people need to engage in guerilla warfare or tactical assassinations. But I am deeply opposed to killing civilians, and there is no way that a violent civil rights movement wouldn't have led to the deaths of many, many civilians, most of them black."