Fighting Oppression

orsr meridons other women in her essay. Does ttiis make her ore effective? If she limited her commentary to oilly her friends, sdy”bc as influential? lq,ding tle t{oles: Where does Viorst use desctiption and campbrkon to :r essay? ‘itkal Thin,Ling: Viorst wrote rhis essay in 1977′ Since iheh has

“rr”d ,r”* cFighting Oppression? Should onllne


AppreciatinS Language

his essay first appeared in Rcdbooh’ Is tliere anyching in her ,ne rhat indicate she was writing to a fernale audience? onsider the words we use to describe people we include in our :quointaflce, colhague, Portflff, pal Do men and womefl defiite tti ifferently?

Writiry Srygestions

/riri a short essay about the rypeg of friends!’ips you havcdeveloi cu mainrained rnany friendships that began in childhoodi Why or ,hirc a classificarion cssay categorizing people whb only cake from rose who share with friends, and those who only seem to give in

rovide examples of each ryPe. ‘oliaborative W;t*g, Discuss Viorst’s essay with a group of sudengd. f,mments seem to apply exciusively to women’s friendships? Why orr [rite a brief comparison paper conrrasting t]re differenr ways men and evelop friendships. Is one gender more compedtivel Do men or:vlo.g11

r have or need more friendsl

.’B–,t’I’ Lf]THER. I(IIVG JR.. King lr. Q929-1968) was aleading figure inrthe Ciuil Rights movement in

I9$0-dimdJg.S0s. A notdminister, Kingblmd?nhis deepty felt retigious values and :titlutsttq,,&outisdl artd socidl jitstice. Hit crwtcdthe soi;r,;hern arwi”stion Leadorship

?rgmti”d many dcmonstrations, and. bbbied for vating rights. In tg64

s of Meeri ress ion

ltr,r,kt$”s6otion,fromhis 7958 book, $tride towaid Fteedom, Kjng classifies ‘,peaphbaue respandcd ta oppresslon. King uses classificafi.on to rate

tlrz rrwst affeaiw and.eorcludas his cornrrcn* perguad@ radars to

deal with their oppfession in three characreriscic ways, isitdQti’escence: The oppressed resign themselves to their doom.

$”tiik a.just themselves to oppression, and thereby become condi- iL In ev,ery movement toward freedom some of the oppressed

remairl’oppressed. Almost 2,800 years aga MoSes ssr our to lead Eqe’of trsiael from the slavery oi ngypr lro rhe freedom of rhe ilend. Hs soon discovered thar slavcs do nqt always welcome their ; Thcy become accustomed to being slaves. They would rarher illl they have, as Shakespeare poinred gut, rhan flee to orhers

know not of. They prefer the “fleshpots of EgypC’ ro rhe ordeals

is such a rhing as the freedom of exhaustion. Some people are so the yoke,of oppression that they give up. A few years ago in

areas of Atlanta, a Negro guitarisr used to sing almosr daily: “Been long that.down dont bother me.” This is the type of negarive free- resignation rhat often engulfs the life of rhb oppressed.

this iO not the way out. To accept passively an unjust system is ro with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as tJre Noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is co- ith good. The oppressed musr never allow the conscience of the

to Slumber. Religion reminds every man that he is his broth’er’s To aecept injustice or segregation passively’is to say to the oppres- his aetious are morally right. It is a way of allowing his conscience ro

[iAt,liihis.moment the oppressed fuils to be his brother’s keeper. So

,. :ii’ ,w




Martin Luthor King Jr.

acquiescence-while often the easier way-is not the moral way. It is way of the coward. The Negro cannot win the respect of his oppressor acquiescing; he merely increases the oppressor’s arrogance and conterri Acquiescence is interpreted as proof of the Negro’s inferiority. The Nb cannot win the respect of the white people of the South or the peoples the world if he is willing to sell che future of his chiidren for his pe and immediate comfort and safety.

A second way that oppressed people sometimes deal with oppressi to resort to physical violence and corroding hatred. Violence often bri about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independe in batde. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings pe nent peace. It solves no social problem; it merely creates new and complicated ones.

Violence as a way of achieving racial injustice is both impracticalr immoral. [t is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in struction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody bli is irnrnoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than wr understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence t moral because it thiives on hatred rather than love. It destroys comm and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness ini survivors and brutality in che destroyers. A voice echoes”through ti,rnq ing to every potential Peter, “Put up your sword.” * History is clutto with the wreckage of nations that failed to follow this command. r

If the American Negro and other victims of oppression succumb temptation of using violence in the struggle for freedom, future generati will be the recipients of a desolate night of bitterness, and our chief them will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. Violence is not the

The third way open to oppressed people in cheir quest for freedom is way of nonviolent resistance. Like the synthesis in Hegelian philosophy; principle of nonviolent resistance seeks to reconcile the truths of two sites-the acquiescence and violence-while avoiding the extremes and moralities of both. The nonviolent resister agrees with the person acquiesces that one should not be physically aggressive toward his nent; but he balances the equation by agreeing with the pe rson of vio that evil must be resisted. He avoids the nonresistance of the former and violent resistance of the latter. With nonviolent resistance, no indivi

*The apostle Peter had drawn his sword to defend Christ from arresl The voice was Christ’s, rendered himself for trial and crucifixion (John 18: 1 1).

Three I{ays of Meeting Oppreosion tr1

p need submit to any wrong, nor need anyone resort to violence in order right a wrong. It seems to me that this is the merhbd that must guide the actions of the ;ro in the presenr crisis in race relations. Through nonviolent resistance

tely and unrelentingly for full stature as a c’itizen, but he musr nor use ior methods to gain it. He must never come to terms with falsehood,

lice, hate, or destruction.

e Negro will be able ro rise ro the*noble height of opposing the unjusr sys- m while loving the perpetrators of the sysrem. The Negro musr work pas-

Nonviolent resistance makes it possible for the Negro to remain in the th and struggle for his rights. The Negro’s probrem wilr not be solved

t, By nonviolent resistance, rhe Negro can arso enrist all rnen of good will’his struggle for equality. The problem is nor a purery racial one, with Ne- )e$ set against whites. In the end, it is not a struggle between people at ,.but a tension berween justice and injustice. Nonviolenc resistaice is not

running away. He cannot listen to the glib suggesrion of those who uld urge him to migrate en masse ro other secrions of the country. By sping his great oppbrtuniry in the south he can make a lasting contribu- r to the moral strength of the nation and ser a sublime example of rage for generations yet unborn.

against oppressors bur against oppression. under irs banner con- not racial groups, are enlisted.

Understanding Meaning

Briefly describe the three ways people respond to oppression, according ro King. Do you know of a fourth or fifth wayl Do people, for instance, re spond to oppression by blaming each orher? Humility is a christian value. How does King, a minister, argue rhat humble acceptance of injustice is immoral? King admits that nations have won freedom through violence, but why does he reject it for African Americans? critical rltinking: King defines the third way as a blend or synthesis of the first two. why does he argue that this last manner is the most successful? whar are its advantages?

EvaluatinS Strate$/

,,.why does King use classification ro suggesr a solution instead of writing a di- rect persuasive argumentl


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