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Testament of Hope - the Current Crisis in Race Relation (1958)

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No.16 The current Crisis in Race Relation (1958)

It is commonly observed that the crisis in race relations dominates the issue of American life. This crisis has been precipitated by two factors: the determined resistance of reactionary elements in the south to the Supreme Court's momentous decision outlawing segregation in the public schools, and the radical change in the African American evaluation of himself. Once he thought of himself as an inferior and patiently accepted injustice and exploitation. Those days are over.

The basic question of struggle which confronts the oppressed people around the world is: How is the struggle against the forces of injustice to be waged? King gave two possible actions. One action is to resort to the all too prevalent method of physical violence and corroding hatred. The consequences of applying violence to promote change is that method it’s pointless. Violence would not solve any social problems but it merely complicate the situation.

The alternative to violence is nonviolent resistance. This method was made famous in our generation by Mohandas K. Gandhi, who used it to free India from the domination of the British Empire. Several points can be made concerning nonviolence as a method in bringing about better racial conditions.

First, this is not a method for the weak minded. The nonviolent individual is just as strongly opposed to the evil against which they protests as is the person who applies violence. This method is passive or nonaggressive in the sense that it’s not physically aggressive toward the opponent. The mind and emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade the opponent that they are mistaken. This method is strongly active spiritually.

Another point is nonviolent resistance does not seek to defeat opponent, but to win an understanding or relationship. The nonviolent approach must often express the protest through noncooperation or boycotts. The protestor realizes that noncooperation and boycotts are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. Lastly is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the balanced community. 



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