Malcom X And Martin Luther King Essay

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Martin Luther King and Malcolm X & # 8211 ; Two Positions, One Cause

Many black writers and leaders of the 1960ss shared similar feelings

towards the white tally American society in which they lived. Malcolm X,

James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, and Stokely Carmichael all blamed the

Whites for the racism which existed. However, they agreed that it was up

to the black society to stop this job. Using the black society, each of

the writers had their ain thought of how racism could be stopped.

Unfortunately, for some, such as Malcolm X, this involved the usage of

force, while others, such as King, favored the non-violent attack.

This paper will concentrate, for the most portion, on Malcolm X and King because

they are both strong representations of two different attacks to a

common end. Possibly their different attacks of force and

passive resistance root from their original sentiments of how capable the Whites are

of being & # 8220 ; good & # 8221 ; .

Not all of the Whites involved in the job of racism supported it.

Some were really seeking to assist battle for the inkinesss. Unfortunately, it

took Malcolm X a long clip to calculate that out. Malcolm & # 8217 ; s paper, & # 8220 ; The

Ballot or the Bullet, & # 8221 ; makes that clear. In his paper, he is invariably

knocking Whites as a whole. He does non see, even for a minute,

that a white could really back up equality for all work forces. & # 8220 ; Normally, it & # 8217 ; s

the white adult male who grins at you the most, and raps you on the dorsum, and is

supposed to be your friend. He may be friendly, but he & # 8217 ; s non your friend & # 8221 ;

( 261 ) .

However, in a ulterior work of his, & # 8220 ; 1965, & # 8221 ; one can see that Malcolm was

larning to accept Whites as possible Alliess.

I tried in every address I made to clear up my new place

sing white people & # 8211 ; & # 8216 ; I don & # 8217 ; t talk against the sincere, good

significance, good white people. I have learned that there are some.

I have learned that non all white people are racists & # 8217 ; ( 367 ) .

Yet, while Malcolm learned over a period of clip that non all Whites

are evil, King entered the scene already to the full cognizant that & # 8220 ; good & # 8221 ; Whites

existed. In fact, where Malcolm underestimated the goodness in Whites,

King seems to hold overestimated it. He talks about his overestimating of

goodness in & # 8220 ; Letter from Birmingham Jail. & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; I guess I should hold realized

that few members of a race that has oppressed another race can

understand & # 8230 ; the deep moans and passionate longings of those that have

been oppressed & # 8221 ; ( 244 ) . Yet, even after he found that he did non have as

much white support as he had hoped for, King ne’er lost religion in the white


Wholly, these positions of white society as expressed by Malcolm and

King are reflected in their methods of contending racism. Malcolm, who

supported the usage of force to accomplish equality, most likely reached the

decision that this was the lone manner to contend the Whites based on his

original position of them as heartless and uncaring. One topographic point in Malcolm & # 8217 ; s

& # 8220 ; Ballot or Bullet, & # 8221 ; where his categorizing of Whites with force and

inhuman treatment can be found, is during a transition in which he compares the white

adult male with a Guerrilla warrior. & # 8220 ; You & # 8217 ; ve got to hold a bosom to be a

Guerrilla warrior, and he ( the white adult male ) hasn & # 8217 ; t got any bosom & # 8221 ; ( 267 ) .

Malcolm sees the Whites as a violent group. He most likely came to his

theory, that nil of import could be accomplished without force,

through the reasonin

g that merely force can be used to halt a violent

group. Violent people would non understand the usage of peaceable agencies to

make an understanding. Therefore, it is non truly the force itself which

he supports every bit much as it is the ground for utilizing it. He justifies his usage

of force by seeking to explicate that there is no other manner to acquire through

to the white people.

In contrast, King sees the Whites more as victims of force than

Godheads of force. He blames the force, itself, on evil forces. In

& # 8220 ; Pilgrimage to Nonviolence, & # 8221 ; King calls the job of racism

& # 8220 ; tenseness & # 8230 ; between the forces of visible radiation and the forces of darkness & # 8230 ; . We

are out to get the better of unfairness and non white individuals who may be unfair & # 8221 ; ( 3 ) .

Therefore, one can see why King rejects the thought of utilizing force to

accomplish his ends. Merely love can get the better of evil. & # 8220 ; The wake of

passive resistance is the creative activity of the beloved community, while the wake

of force is tragic resentment & # 8221 ; ( 2 ) .

Aside from their basic methods of accomplishing their ends, Malcolm X and

King have besides talked about solutions for the racial job. What could

put an terminal to racial biass in America? For King, portion of the reply

to this inquiry would include the riddance of & # 8220 ; unfair & # 8221 ; Torahs. These are

Torahs which the white adult male expects the black adult male to follow, without following

the Torahs himself. Everyone should be required to follow the same set of

regulations. These regulations should besides be consistent with the & # 8220 ; moral & # 8221 ; jurisprudence. Laws

should non be intended to ache person or degrade them ( Letter from Birm.

239 ) .

Malcolm X answers this inquiry a little more concretely. In & # 8220 ; 1965, & # 8221 ;

he suggests that Whites, who wish to assist, should work with other Whites to

alter the beliefs of the white system as a whole. They should learn

friends, household, and any one else they know about passive resistance. Supportive

Whites should work together to alter America & # 8217 ; s racialist position of inkinesss in

the society ( 376-377 ) . Likewise, he expects the inkinesss to make the same in

their communities. In this mode, both sides of the racial job can be

dealt with at the same clip, doing an terminal to the racial job more


In decision, it is obvious that Malcolm X and Martin Luther King

were contending for the same cause, racism. Although their positions on white

Americans, which affected their methods of attack, were originally

different, both militants came to recognize that non all Whites can be

classified as good or bad. They began to see that, alternatively of detering

Whites from assisting, they could utilize eager Whites to make more of an

impact within the white communities. This is of import because it shows

that it is possible for Whites and inkinesss to work together for a individual

cause. It leaves hope that possibly one twenty-four hours, all hints of racism can

disappear and leave behind a united society in which everyone can work

together for the good of the state.

Plants Cited

King, Martin Luther, Jr. & # 8220 ; Letter From Birmingham Jail. & # 8221 ; The

Borzoi College Reader, 3rd edition. Ed. Charles

Muscatine and Marlene Griffith. New York: Alfred A.

Knopf, 1976.

& # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; – Pilgrimage to Nonviolence & # 8216 ; 58. Memeo.

Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Grove

Press, Inc. , 1965.

& # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; – & # 8220 ; The Ballot or the Bullet. & # 8221 ; The Borzoi College

Reader, 2nd Edition. Ed. Charles Muscatine and Marlene

Griffith. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. , 1974.

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