King on the White Moderate

One of the quotes that inspires me most as a blogger is one attributed to Mother Jones: “My business is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” On this day when the US federal government observes the birth of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I thought I would share a quote from the civil rights leader that is not likely to be among the quotes we hear on mainstream radio and television throughout the day. Though its connection to feminism and queer liberation may not be immediately apparent, I believe the quote is much in the spirit of afflicting the comfortable:

I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

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One Response to King on the White Moderate

  1. Kirsten says:

    That certainly makes sense! I hope I’m not too complacent; I try not to be.

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