An Analysis of “The Ways of Meeting Oppression” by Martin Luther
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Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights movement brought about many different views on how ones oppression should be handled in America. The Ways of Meeting Oppression, by Martin Luther King Jr., is based on how people handle oppression. According to Dr. King theres a whole spectrum that ranges from violence to non-violence action in which the views are placed. Martin Luther King Jr. illustrates strategically how oppressed people deal with the three types of oppression, which are: acquiescence, violence, and non violence resistance.
Dr. King strategically breaks down and characterizes acquiescence as a form of dealing with oppression. Through his analysis, King explains how people surrender to oppression and become accustomed to it as a way of living. Creating an atmosphere where the oppressed person learns to live in with oppression and never fully understands what self respect is. Religion reminds everyman that he is his brothers keeper . . .To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right. (King). Therefore, King believes that this lets the oppressor know that their actions are right influencing the oppressor to continue. Dr. King takes into consideration that this is not the best way to deal with oppression. In fact, he criticizes the people who utilize this method. To accept passively and in just system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor.(King)
Violence, as a method of dealing with oppression that Dr. King strongly diverges with. King assumes that people who resort to violence also influence hatred at the same time. He explains how violence only creates temporary results. Although at times it may be seen as the best way out but he believes that no one should ever degrade themselves to that level of understanding and standard. According to King, violence only creates problems instead of solving them. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love,(King). He believes that violence is not the key word or the solution to any problem but love is the key word and the solution to all problems. Dr. King believes that everything one has in this world like the communities we live in can be taken away by means of violence. King strongly enforces his views on how violence destroys communities and leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue.
King strongly deems that violence ends by defeating itself. The third, and final, way that Martin Luther King Jr. talks about is nonviolent resistance. King strongly supports this form of oppression because he believes this is the best method to deal with oppression. . . .The principle of nonviolent resistance seeks to reconcile the truths of two opposites- the acquiescence and violence. . .(King). He thinks that people who use nonviolent resistance as a form of dealing with oppression take in characteristics from both acquiescence and violence oppression. . . .Nonviolent register agrees with the person who acquiesces that one should not be physically aggressive towards his opponent; but he balances the equation by agreeing with the person of violence that evil must be resisted,(King). King acknowledges this as the best method and in order to be successful with nonviolent resistance, no individual or group need [to] submit to any wrong, nor need anyone [to] resort to violence in order to right a wrong.
In Martin Luther King Jr., article he expresses his views on ways of meeting oppression, and gives an insight on each of the methods. Acquiescence, violence, and nonviolence, are the three methods of meeting oppression that King analyses. Among these methods King strongly believes in nonviolent resistance more than the other two. It seems to me that this is the method that must guide the actions of the. . . In further response, I believe that Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most influential mans of our time that has changed the lives by fighting for their rights during the Civil Rights Movement . The Ways Of Meeting Oppression, by Martin Luther king Jr., gives an over view of how one man classifies his ways of dealing with oppression and how they were dealt with during segregation. . During the first half of the twentieth century segregation was the way of life in the south. It was excepted, and even though it was morally wrong, it still went on, as it there was nothing wrong with it.
African Americans were treated as if they where a somehow sub-human, they were treated because of the color of their skin that somehow, someway they were different. Some African Americans began to tacitly adjust themselves to oppression(King), or as King saw it acquiescence. Others began to stand up for themselves but in a matter that involved violence. There where those that stood up for themselves by using nonviolence resistance which was Dr. Kings ideal method of dealing with oppression. Nonviolence is the answer to the racial, political and moral question. . .the need for man to overcome oppression and violence. . .(King). This captures both Dr. Kings powerful feeling and stance on nonviolence as the way to winning the respect of the oppressors. Like Martin Luther king Jr. I to have learned the strategies of how people deal with the three types of oppression which are: acquiescence, violence, and non-violence resistance, but trough historical instances and my personal experiences in the past.
According to Dr. Kings article he mentions as his first method of dealing with oppression acquiescence. Whilereading this fragment of the article I came upon the decision that Dr. King is right on the bases that he believes that acquiescence is not the best way of dealing with oppression. For the simple fact that the oppressed resign themselves to their doom . . .thereby become conditioned to,(King). The simple verity that instead of speaking their voice they keep their mouths close. As a result, during the Civil Rights Movement, African American went trough a lot of injustices. Many of which whom never said anything to the oppressor and continued on like if nothing had happen. Those who choose acquiescence as a method of dealing with oppression had it worst.
The Negro cannot win the respect of his oppressor by acquiescence; he merely increases the oppressors arrogance and contempt. (King) Therefore, the Negro cannot win the respect of the white people in the south. . .(King). Taking it further, I remember one occasion where my neighbor Fabian who was Mexican was being oppressed by his neighboor and he wasnt doing anything about it. He would simply let it go and allowing the oppressor to feel more confident about himself and want to continue doing it. Fabian never learned to deal with his oppression he just simply became accustomed to it. Therefore, I disbelieve that acquiescence is not the best way to go about it just how Dr. King stated it in his article.
Violence, as a method of dealing with oppression can be viewed as both positive and negative. I be of the same opinion with Dr. King when he argues that violence, as a method of meeting oppression is more negative as appose to positive . I accept as true that violence leads to destruction of communities and makes brotherhood impossible as well as Dr. King does. For example, during the Civil Rights movement segregation was a big deal. Everything was divided into sections, such as schools, restaurants, and where all segregated. There was Colored Only bathrooms, and Colored Only drinking fountains. At times when a Colored man was found eating, or drinking, or simply sitting in the wrong side of the bus they would get beaten up. The whites would use violence as their way of meeting oppression.
There were times where African Americans would get killed for just drinking from a Whites water fountain. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love,(king). Growing up in the neighborhood where I lived in Redwood City I got to witness a lot of violence and hatred. I came to realize that violence is not the way out of any problem. I came to full terms when I heard of a man beating up an old man for supposedly cutting in front of him while they where in line. Therefore, hypothetically, violence is not the way to deal with oppression. As Dr. King stated violence is not the way,(King).
On the other hand, the most effective way to deal with oppression is trough nonviolence resistance. I concur with Dr. King when he states that through nonviolent resistance the Negro will be able to rise to the noble height of opposing the unjust system while loving the perpetrators of the system,(King). In history there are many events of how nonviolence resistance came about and how powerful. One in particular that catches my attention and admiration was how Rosa Parks stood up for herself. On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks, refused to give her seat up to a white man who had nowhere to sit on the bus. As a result, she got arrested and was thrown in jail for not giving up her seat. At no point did she use any violence to express herself but all she did was use nonviolence resistance and staid in her seat.
This interest Martin Luther King Jr. and he formed a boycott using nonviolent protest as an effective tool in the fight for civil rights, showed that African Americans united for a cause could stand up to segregation,(King). Marti Luther continued his non-violent movement till December 20, 1956, almost thirteen months after the movement their goal was reached. I realized that by using non-violence resistance there’s a lot one can accomplish with out having to resort to violence. Even today we still use nonviolence as a way of meeting oppression. There was that whole movement in Sacramento where Hispanics where protesting to get licenses. No matter which method one may choose to deal with oppression , I believe that nonviolence is the best way because the foundation of such is love,(King).
Martin Luther Kings Jr. views on his three ways of meeting oppression made me realize that I to agree with him. As I was reading his article at first I disagreed with it but after analyzing his work, The Ways Of Meeting Oppression in his own words it made me realize that he was truthful. Especially how he feels about nonviolence and how he knows its the best way to deal with oppression. Dr. King left his followers with a belief in something bigger than any one man. Nonviolence is the answer to the racial, political and moral question of our time; the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method, which rejects revenge aggression and retaliation,(King). As a result, it made me realize that what he accomplished many years ago is still part of what one may become and make of each other. Although not everybody chooses to use non-violence there are those who still choose acquiescence and violence as there way of dealing with oppression. The simple fact is that Dr. King captures this powerful feeling and shows respect and freedom to the oppressor.