Just felt the need to hop in here and say that the popularized image of MLK as a totally peaceful, non-aggressive person does a disservice to his actual writing, speeches and message. He certainly advocated nonviolent protests, but works like Letter from a Birmingham Jail were fiery and charged; most of us just don't see it that way at first glance today, because we live in a very different, more socially progressive society compared to the past. He never minced words, and he wasn't afraid to call it like he saw it. Of course, that doesn't sit well with a society who prefers activism to be rosy, calmly spoken, and easily pushed to the side, so his image has been molded by history books and schoolteachers to fit their own needs. Our society tends to neuter the work that our more radical figures accomplished right after they pass away and lose the ability to contest their representation.
I do think there's a fine line to walk between being passionate and essentially insulting your audience, but sometimes there's just no way to sugarcoat things without being safely put aside and ignored by the white, patriarchal majority. Sometimes you have to get raw in order to do the subject justice.
I'm not saying Samantha Allen's critique is perfect, but please understand that arguments should not be dismissed simply because they weren't presented with a bow and a soothing voice. King was never that.
I'm a sociology teacher, so I have a read a lot of his stuff too. I guess at a certain point it's subjective, but I always took him as fiery and angry at times, but never hateful. And he always balanced his anger with words of peace and nonviolence. My main point was the comparison with the Black Panthers, who in contrast saw it as a war they were willing to fight to win.
Neither really applies exactly to a much different modern debate, of course. However gay marriage and LGBT acceptance is unarguably winning the debate, and it's doing that by making people empathize with those who just want to love their significant other and not be demonized for it. When we turn it into a war and start throwing around the bigot label we do ourselves a disservice, in my opinion. We put those who might be creeped out by homosexuality or who were raised to dislike it into a defensive position of insisting they're not bigots, rather than trying to get them to empathize with a dude who just wants to marry his boyfriend and live his life in peace.
Obviously there are still times to get angry, but I think some go overboard, and that was my only point. When Ben Kuchera starts calling Nintendo executives bigots who should be fired I think he does the movement a disservice.
A fair point. I feel like some of the greatest acceptance has come from points of empathy when lawmakers and citizens alike have discovered that their family member, co-worker or neighbor are part of the spectrum. Hopefully that trend continues; I've been lucky enough to live in a fairly spacious bubble by figuring things out during college and having supportive parents, but things desperately need to improve for people in worse situations.