Martin Luther King and Malcolm X – 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 “ good ” . Not all of the Whites involved in the job of racism supported it.

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Some were really seeking to assist battle for the inkinesss. Unfortunately, it took Malcolm X a long clip to calculate that out. Malcolm ’ s paper, “ The Ballot or the Bullet, ” 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. “ Normally, it ’ 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 ’ s non your friend ” ( 261 ) .

However, in a ulterior work of his, “ 1965, ” 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 – ‘ I don ’ 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 ’ ( 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 “ good ” 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 “ Letter from Birmingham Jail. ” “ I guess I should hold realized that few members of a race that has oppressed another race can understand … the deep moans and passionate longings of those that have been oppressed ” ( 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 community. 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 ’ s “ Ballot or Bullet, ” 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. “ You ’ ve got to hold a bosom to be a Guerrilla warrior, and he ( the white adult male ) hasn ’ t got any bosom ” ( 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 “ Pilgrimage to Nonviolence, ” King calls the job of racism “ tenseness … between the forces of visible radiation and the forces of darkness … . We are out to get the better of unfairness and non white individuals who may be unfair ” ( 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. “ The wake of passive resistance is the creative activity of the beloved community, while the wake of force is tragic resentment ” ( 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 “ unfair ” 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 “ moral ” 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 “ 1965, ” 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 ’ 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 acceptable. 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

  1. King, Martin Luther, Jr. “ Letter From Birmingham Jail. ” The Borzoi College Reader, 3rd edition. Ed. Charles Muscatine and Marlene Griffith. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976.
  2. Pilgrimage to Nonviolence ‘ 58. Memeo. Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Grove Press, Inc. , 1965.
  3. “ The Ballot or the Bullet. ” The Borzoi College Reader, 2nd Edition. Ed. Charles Muscatine and Marlene Griffith. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. , 1974.

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Martin Luther King and Malcolm X – Two Positions, One Cause. (2018, May 15). Retrieved from