Martin Luther King Jr. And His Contribution to American Society

Essay map: The essay will examine the input Martin Luther King Jr. has made into American society and how he changed the treatment and lives of the African-American population. The paper will discuss the three types of resistance that Dr. King describes in his essay. Acquiescence, the first type of oppression, will take a close look at the qualities of people who choose to stay oppressed and not do anything about it. It will analyze the reasons why people are not able to help themselves out of such unequal treatment. The examples will illustrate who hard it is for a person to act in a situation, which overpowers them and sets a limit on their goals and dreams. The second type of resistance-physical violence will be illustrated through several historical examples and the outcomes that were reached. Certain evidence shows specific characteristics of such type of resistance, thus making it possible to see the unique criteria, regulating violent resistance. And the nonviolent resistance will be explained, its benefits and positive ways will be illustrated, to contrast other types of resistance.

History is filled with tyrants who oppressed people and made others suffer through abuse of their authority and power. But, at the same time, there were always people, who were able to rise above the oppression and unfair treatment. These individuals led the fight against discrimination and inequality. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of these people. He dedicated his life to fighting for the rights and freedoms of his fellow African-Americans. He has written several works and given famous speeches that changed history and people’s attitudes forever. Martin Luther King’s “Three Types of Resistance” examine how people can rebel against oppression and what the most effective and beneficial ways of doing this are. Non-violent resistance to oppression is the best avenue to take, as it promotes non-violence, a peaceful resolution based on understanding and human kindness.

Often, people are faced with a challenge in how to make sure that their ideas and feelings are understood. Majority of times, it is extremely difficult to explain inner wants and goals in a peaceful manner and conflict breaks out. Martin Luther King was a great man who understood that violence will never solve anything. He analyzed 3 ways of resistance to oppression and explained which one is the best type and why. Acquiescence is a response to oppression that is based on complete inaction. A person or group of people simply do what they are told and they do not fight back in any way, violent or non-violent. This sort of behavior is caused by a long time of oppression and mistreatment. A person gets used to the unfair conditions and pain, which is inflicted by the oppressor. It becomes such a great part of life that a person cannot imagine how life would be without this suffering. This is a detrimental and unacceptable way of thinking and living. Martin Luther King Jr. states that anyone who chooses this sort of resistance, which in reality is non-existent, is a coward and is himself reinforcing the unequal treatment of the oppressor. If a person does not voice their suffering or unfairness, people around think that they do not mind their present state of affairs. An oppressor will not consider changing any conditions or attitudes when the people he oppresses keep quiet. Psychologically, this reinforces his further oppression, making the oppressed an important part of the reinforcement system. Dr. King belied that anyone who chooses acquiescence participates in the evil that the oppressor spreads. By inaction, people allow evil to exist and the fact that they stand by and allow for it to go on, means they do not oppose it and if they do not oppose it, means they have nothing against it, which means they permit evil to exist (Glasberg 9). An example that is very common in today’s world can be seen in this situation: people always complain about how bad things are in the world, half the world is starving, people are polluting the planet and they themselves are suffering because they have to pay high taxes and stand the treatment of their abusive boss at work or husband at home. People who complain like this, never really do anything, they remember how bad things are in the moments of rest or when it gets extremely difficult. The other times, when they follow the routine, they do not seem to mind it. A person who is concerned with pollution might minimally contribute by recycling but they will not go further than that. The fact that their children will be living in a place filled with garbage concerns them but not enough to do something since the effects of pollution will take generations to affect people. Someone who pays high taxes and complains does not actively participate in the fight against the system because it will take a lot of effort, so it is better to sit back and let everything stay the same. A wife, who is being mistreated by her husband, threatens to leave and go to the police but eventually the conflict dies down and things go back to the way they usually are. If people do not take matters into their own hands and actually do something, nothing will change. Things do not change themselves, people change things.

The second type of resistance is physical violence. Martin Luther King admits that sometimes it is hard to see another way out and there are even times when violent conflict seems to bring on positive results. The first problem with this form of resistance is the fact that evil is being fought using evil. Simply destroying something will not create anything new. In order for things to change, there must be a careful consideration of all matters. When a violent conflict breaks out, things happen very fast and people have no time to think, to stop and consider several possibilities. Violence is the ending resolution to everything. It does not lead to new understanding or ideas, it destroys indifferently and senselessly. History has many examples that demonstrate how violence fails everything else. All the ancient wars, World Wars and current conflicts are all violent. People fight against their governments with guns and terrorist acts and as a result, face the same response. Every time there is a demonstration and people lose control by starting brawls, fires and damage of property, police respond in a similar manner and arrests are made. A clear illustration would be the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. People were displeased with the treatment and they came out to protest. But the fact that some thought of this as a way to lose control and cause damage, shows that violent demonstrations will not be tolerated. The blockage of roads and routes, which are taken by people every day, is a form of conflict, a violent resistance towards the whole of society. Such acts are neither educational nor methodological. The governments and those in power will not be convinced by broken shops and streetlights. No new information is being delivered and the case is not brought forward in a civilized manner, which in turn leads to an adequate and unavoidable response.

Martin Luther King believed that the only way to change the world and people in the nonviolent resistance. When people have a common goal and attitude, it is in their right to unite and take action against the oppressors. This should be done tactically and respectfully with much evidence and support from other groups and individuals. Nonviolent resistance creates a statement that something is wrong with the way things are now and that people demand something that must be done to resolve the issue. There were a number of protests and marches by African-Americans, women and minority groups who have taken the nonviolent approach. They were able to demonstrate that they are in control and their demands were clearly visible (Nojeim 10). Even though it has taken many years for women and African-Americans to gain their rights and some oppression still goes on today, the results have been brought on peacefully and most admirably (Nojeim 14). The reason and goodness of people is the dominant force. The laws and regulations of a society are based on the freedoms of a person and equal treatment for everyone. Anyone can voice their opinion and take the matter to court. The present society offers many opportunities for people to protest peacefully and respectfully and it is strange that over such long history humanity was not able to realize how to solve conflicts non-violently.

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest thinkers and fighters for human rights. He has displayed, on numerous occasions that non-violence is the only way to exist in a civilized world. People must find ways and patience to resist the oppressing force without hurting innocent people in the process.

Martin Luther King’s essay titled “Three Types of Oppression” serves a specific and clear purpose. It is to educate people on the negatives and positives of the resistance itself but also on the wrongful ways of dealing with such resistance. The explanations given by Martin Luther King are made simple and comprehensible to make sure that there are no doubts and wrongful understanding of his concepts. His message was very strong and direct. He wanted people to see how wrong humanity was throughout its existence. At the slightest disagreement, a violent conflict would break out and instead of resolving the issue; it would be simply covered up and forgotten for some time, just to resurface at a later date. This essay was written for adults and everyone who has some form of power or authority over others. It is not only the politicians and governments; it is also regular people who are parents, doctors, teachers and writers. Every adult can either physically fight for their ideas or use the mind and make sure that their ideas are heard and understood. The ability to make others listen and comprehend what one is saying, is a skill everyone must develop and Martin Luther wanted to demonstrate this in his paper. But, at the same time, his writings are for those who are being oppressed every day and year of their life. This is a sign that they do not have to suffer anymore, that their inaction is wrong and something must be done if they want to change anything. It is a way to reassure and give hope to all those who were unable to find ways of how to deal with constant unfairness and belittlement. Dr. King is educating people on how to make their voices heard and how to do it in a most efficient and peaceful way. The language that he uses is very formal but at the same time, very true. Martin Luther is not afraid to call things as they are and so he openly states that those who do nothing are “cowards”. People who oppress others, he calls “evil” and is very right in doing so. He tries to make the language and ideas accessible for as many people as possible, so that his message is understood. But it seems that he wanted to reach the heart of people as well. He passionately describes the hardships and unfairness and the ways to combat such things. When he talks about acquiescence it is clear that he is pitiful but at the same time angry at the people who allow their oppressors to mistreat others and how they idly stand by without taking any action. When he speaks about violent solutions to problems, it is obvious how much he hates evil and conflict and people who resort to such ways. This essay was very effective because it gave clear-cut solutions to very problematic matters. It showed people the right way of leading a life and respecting others. His writing is based on fairness and understanding and it is possible to see throughout the piece. In the introduction he classifies the oppressed people and shows how wrong they are in doing nothing and letting the oppression going on. The tone is almost hopeless. But, in the end, he sounds optimistic, finishing with great advice and support for those who choose to fight and do it peacefully.

The movie “Iron-Jawed Angels” tells a story about women and the unfair treatment that they have endured for a very long time. The movie’s goal is to illustrate the problems that women faced and the response that they have received from authorities and society. A lot of people do not imagine or are not concerned with the hardships that women experienced in the early 19th century but even before that. The unequal treatment of women exists even today and the author wanted to show that. The movie shows how two women take on the fight for their rights and freedom. They represent others as well and this makes their goal even more respected. There is an important message that is present throughout the movie. It is that determination and dedication are very strong forces. A person who sets goals and does not allow anything to stand in the way, will, eventually, reach those goals. It has been shown that there will always be hardships and setbacks but a person must not get discouraged and back down. It would be safe to assume that the target audience for this movie is everyone who is able to comprehend its content. It is directed towards people who will understand how difficult it was for women to live their lives and what they had to go through to get where they are now. The primary audience is probably men who were and are a part of the system, which mistreats women. It is a reminder that they are known to society and women and that they will not stop for anything but continue their fight for equality and respect. But also, this movie is supportive of those women who took part in the movement; those continue the mission today and plan to do it for years to come. It is a way to reassure that the world and society know about the mal-treatment women had to endure and that serious steps will be taken to avoid this sort of thing in the future. The movie was very emotional and moving. The language and emotions played a great part in convincing the viewer of the pain and suffering that women felt for so long. It was made obvious how women felt about those who oppressed them, both institutions and individuals. The story of women’s fight for their rights is very well displayed and so is very effective. It makes the viewer realize the wrongs that have been done and feel the shame that such actions were allowed to happen and go on for such a long period. In the opening scenes of the movie, two younger educated women are shown and they are trying to explain and find the best ways to increase their influence and rights movement. They are emotional and the fact that they have to prove themselves amongst other women represents the true hardships of their fight. The author wanted the viewer to see that sometimes even those who are fighting for the same cause might discourage or create uneasiness but this should not be the cause to stop fighting the fight. At the end of the movie, the women are pardoned and released from their prisons (Iron-Jawed Angels). This represents a new beginning, an optimistic future where women have rights and are treated with respect and understanding.

Works Cited

Glasberg, Davita. Political Sociology: Oppression, Resistance, and the State. Thousand Oaks, United States: Sage Publications, 2011. Print.

Iron-Jawed Angels. Ex. Prod. Len Amato. Santa Monica, United States: HBO Films. 2004. DVD.

Nojeim, Michael. Gandhi and King: The Power of Nonviolent Resistance. Westport, United States: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004. Print.

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