Monday, November 24, 2014

Why Marching and Non Violence Isn't Enough: The Genius of MLK

I want to talk a bit about the genius that was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  In the wake of the grand jury decision regarding Darren Wilson I can't help but think of him.  He was more than just a charismatic leader of men.  He was more than just a well spoken minister.  He was an incredible man.  He was a genius.

We often lose sight of the true MLK and the magnificence of what he was able to accomplish.  We are often blinded by the light so to speak.  We often try to put MLK into a box.  When we think of MLK we think of "I have A Dream" and "We Shall Overcome".  We think of marches and speeches.  We often miss the true substance.  We often forget one of the most important lessons MLK tried to teach us.  That lesson is that marching and singing alone isn't enough.  If we want to see true change we must decisive and definitive actions.

MLK chose the path of non violence for a number of important reasons.  He knew that we could not over power the system at that time.  He knew that we were outgunned and outmanned and force was not a feasible option.  He knew that our message would be diluted through violence and bloodshed.  So he chose a different path.   That said, he also knew that marching and singing would not be enough.  He knew that while non violence would ensure that we could not be dismissed or framed as violent thugs looking to cause harm, it would also not be enough.

MLK knew that it is impossible to appeal to the morality of your oppressor.  Your oppressor is completely aware of their actions.  They are completely conscious of what they are doing to you.  Appealing to their morality is useless.  So MLK chose a different path.  He attacked the system economically and socially.  And it worked.

Think about the bus boycott for example.  Black people showed their collective economic power and crippled the public transit system.  He showed our oppressors that he knew where to strike them and that he had the ability to rally black people together to make that strike.  That's why the American establishment was so afraid of him.  Because they knew that through King's inspiration Black people could cripple the system.   J.Edgar Hoover called MLK the most dangerous negro in America.  They knew what King knew.  That those marches and songs were not the means to fight.  They were the rallying cry.

Those marches and songs were for US not for our oppressor.  They were meant to inspire us.  They were meant to encourage us. They were meant to embolden us.  Once inspired, encouraged, and emboldened we had the fortitude to do what was necessary.  Imagine what we could do today.  Imagine if we decided to stay home from work and keep our money in our pockets on Black Friday.  Imagine if we came together and did something of SUBSTANCE. 

We are so busy marching, singing, rallying and listening to weak ass milksop leaders that we are missing a great lesson that Dr. King tried to teach us.  Non violence isn't enough.  Marching isn't enough.  Unless we want to see cities on fire we need to do more than just sing and march.  Our people are crying out for justice and they will have it one way or the other.  It's time we remember one of King's most important lessons. 

Missing Our Leaders....Especially Now

When I was young I was a troubled young man with anger issues.  I often fought and got into all manner of trouble.  One of the ways I was taught to control my emotions is to write.  I find that when I'm consumed with emotion, writing helps me "see my thoughts" and control my energy.  On the eve of the grand jury's decision regarding Darren Wilson I again find myself consumed with emotion.  I imagine I'll be writing quite a bit.....

It's times like these when I wish we had leaders like Malcolm and Martin still with us.  It's times like these when I wish we had leaders with the fortitude of the elders and not these milksop cowards we've got running around now.

These fools don't do anything.  They'll show up and organize a rally or march, run their mouths, march, raise some money and disappear.    They'll placate us with honeyed words and patronize us with useless platitudes. 

Most importantly they'll tell us "violence is not the answer" without providing any answer of their own.  Our young people need guidance.  Help.  Leadership.  They are despondent and frustrated over a society that seems to want the dead.  They aren't receiving equal justice under the law.  They tell our young people to "be smart" but they wont provide a reasonable and pragmatic solution.  They wont arm them with a means to properly resist and oppose the system.  Again they'll just offer useless platitudes and nothing of substance.

Then it hits me and I'm reminded of the truth.  We can't rely on our "leaders".  We must be our own leaders.  Each one must teach one.  We have to find our own way and not depend on these suited weasels to assist us.  Still, even with that understanding, we could sure use Malcolm right now....