Ways of Meeting Oppression ML King Speech
In his speech on ways of meeting oppression, Martin Luther King gave a persuasive speech on dealing with oppression in a more reasonable manner that embraces non-violent approach and not use of violence. According to Martin Luther King, there exist three forms of responses towards oppression. This includes the acquiescence, resorting to violence and non-violence resistance. The essay deals with a detailed expression of the different ways that oppression can be responded to and provides a direction that Martin Luther King sought as the best. It details the application non- violence approach and advocates for it application as more ideal compared to the other two.
According to Martin Luther King in his speech of ways of meeting oppression, oppression provides a force that drives the oppressed to develop a resistance as a form of reaction to the level and effects caused by oppression. Oppression presents an unjust treatment of people or control that leads to dissatisfaction and frustration resulting into a response that may involve either violence or non-violence. Oppression violates the rights of the people; it denies them the liberty naturally inherited as human beings. Oppression devalues other human beings, who may react in a way that lead to tensions and aggression as a resistance, which may involve loss of lives and property (Nibert, p.6). Martin Luther King observes that the Black Americans were oppressed by the native in the United States. The black people suffered under the rule of the white dominants. The Black Americans were denied their civil rights and were treated as second class citizens.
According to King, the some African Americans responded with acquiescence as a means to which they resigned to their fate. They did not engage in violence nonviolent movements as a means to alleviate their situation. As such, the oppression continued and the suffering worsened in the hands of the oppressor. The oppressed slowly become conditioned to the suffering embracing it as a way of life with less resistance. The level of complacence that develops allows them to sink back into oppression as they see no end to it. In light of this, the biblical referral that Luther had to the situation was that of Moses and the children of Israel that suffered under the leadership of Pharaoh for years without raising resistance. They adjusted to the oppression and felt better in leaving under the conditions for longer with less consideration of the effects it had to their lives. In liberating them, Moses was destined to lead them to the Promised Land that had no suffering. During the times, Moses came to learn the difficulties of his task based on the fact that the Israelites had been used to the oppressed life. They had grown accustomed to the slavery that they found it had to believe in a land they did not know. Shakespeare once described them as people that preferred the “fleshpots of Egypt” to the different emancipation respects that Moses brought to them.
In respect to other situations, the colonization of the African communities provide an expression of a society that is accustomed to the oppression and can only react by accepting. The same situation applies to slavery in which the slaves accepted their situation and worked to please their oppressors despite the harsh treatment filled with oppressive means of control.
Martin Luther King did not advocate for this method due to the effect it created and the bolstering effect it gave to oppression. The method did not provide a means for solving the problem but rather encouraged it.
Other oppressed people responded with violence as a means to ending or reacting to the oppression they faced. This form of reaction resulted in violence that involved fighting and other crude ways leading to loss of lives and destruction of property. The major challenge with the application of violence is the momentary results that it provides. It does not result into peace and creates more complications that continue to fuel violence. Many societies have responded to oppression with violence but only ended up creating an injustice to the other side that originally oppressed them. In light of this, Martin Luther considered violence means an inadequate method of responding to oppression based on the injustices it promoted. The method was not only immoral but also much impractical to apply. It results into the destruction of all the parties involved and hence does not give space to cultivate peace and harmony. The major aim of the method that King advocated for was to win the understanding of the opponent. The method aimed at creating a level of understanding in the oppressor of their actions against the people they oppressed. Violence approach was advocated by Malcolm X’s which is call of “an eye for an eye” as retaliation that the African Americans should use to react to the oppression they underwent under the rule of the whites and dominance. The response with violence only creates situations where by the future generations of the oppressed will succumb to the same violence that their parents used to react. King believed that the response based on violence would only create a spiral of events that would keep oppression developing and hence less effect in solving the problem.
Violence approach leads to destruction of nations and loss of lives that have affected its people. The bitterness of the survivors remains held in their hearts leading to a more aggressed society. It is based on these ideals that Martin Luther King did not support use of violence as a way of resolving the oppression suffered by the black Americans. He considered the means inadequate in quenching the thirst that oppression creates and aimed for a means that would build peace through the realization of the effects that the actions of the oppressors have on the oppressed.
The third method of reaction that Martin discusses is the method of nonviolent movements. This is an approach where the oppressed seeks to maintain peace in spite of the oppression he suffers. It represents a more humane way of dealing with oppression (Douglass, p.35). It aims at providing a chance for dialogue that create chance to understand that oppression is wrong for both sides, and what is needed is for the two parties to coexist peacefully. It seeks to provide a platform through which reconciliations become possible creating lasting peace and an amicable means to ending the oppression. It reconciles the acquiescence aspect and that of violence with the elimination of the immoral and extreme effects that they cause. King advocated for this method since it provided a situation in which the oppressed did not respond with violence to the oppressions that they underwent but also the oppressor respected the need for recognizing the rights of the people they oppressed. They both recognize the evils of oppression and develop resistance towards them with an amicable consideration of the means of responding to violence. The oppressor does not resist the need for the freedoms of the oppressed to become granted and respect and the oppressed respects the need to avoid violent retaliations.
Martin Luther King identified the effects and benefits of both these measures but sought to employ the non-violent measure as the most appropriate. The non-violent means of responding to oppression was able to create an environment of understanding where the two sides could cooperate with each other for the betterment of the whole nation. This form of response proves as the most efficient, effective and yet economical means of response to oppression. King was able to persuade the Black masses that it was better for them to engage with the whites to end the operation rather than fight back and loss the moral authority to condemn operation.
In conclusion, the three options of dealing with oppression discussed in the speech by Martin Luther King provide ways of approaching oppression to create a solution. Acquiescence creates more oppression since the oppressor does not understand the effects of their actions to the oppressed. It does not eliminate the suffering of the oppressed and creates a continuous spread of hatred that leads to unending oppression. Based on these and other effects discussed in the essay above, it proves as an ineffective means of responding to violence. The approach that advocates for response to oppression with violence only solves the problem in a partial way creating differences that lasts generations without end. It builds hatred that spreads from one generation to another with revenge as a means to getting even with the oppressor. The effects of this method results in more violence, hence its inapplicable nature in solving social challenges of oppression. Nonviolent approaches to oppression prove better means of dealing with violence. King was successfully in persuading the black Americans that nonviolence way promotes the understanding of the oppressors of their actions towards the oppressed and hence the remorse that promotes peace and seeks to promote forgiveness within the society.
Douglass, James. The Nonviolent Coming of God. Wipf and Stock Publishers. 2004. Print
Nibert, Alan, David. Animal rights/Human Rights: Entanglements of Oppression and Liberation. Rowman & Littlefield. 2002.Print