Martin Luther King Jr.

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Describe King's three different ways of meeting oppression, and explain why he favors nonviolent resistance as the best option.

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According to Martin Luther King Jr., there are three ways to meet oppression: acquiescence, physical violence, and nonviolent resistance.

Acquiescence is an attitude the oppressed exhibit when they "resign themselves to their doom." King insists that some people prefer to remain oppressed rather than confront injustice. When Moses attempted to lead people out of slavery in Egypt, he found that not all slaves were willing participants in the journey. King also acknowledges that some people are so "exhausted" by oppression that they passively accept their circumstances because they have given up.

Others who are oppressed turn to violence. King cautions against the use of this strategy because it "never brings peace" and instead results in only "temporary victories." Violence creates more problems instead of solving them; it tears communities apart and creates "bitterness in ... survivors and brutality in ... destroyers." King insists that using violence leaves a legacy of chaos to future generations.

Therefore, he strongly supports nonviolent resistance as a means of creating social change. Nonviolent resistance, he contends, reconciles the opposing natures of acquiescence and violence. It insists that violence must be recognized and resisted yet doesn't stir feelings of hatred, which occur with violence.

Nonviolence also asks others in the community of "good will" to join in the fight for equality. King insists that social integration can only be achieved within the realm of peaceful resistance, which creates stability instead of anarchy. This type of resistance also lessens the fears of white people who are apprehensive about social change, demonstrating that they have nothing to fear; instead, Black people seek justice by "molding public sentiment" through peaceful behaviors.

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