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How Victimization Evolves to Empowerment - Essay Example

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Final Paper: How Victimization Evolves into Empowerment Victimization and empowerment are two mutually inclusive social variables. It is a victim who is in need of empowerment. Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X, two titans of black liberation movement, have shown through their writings and speeches, how victimization can demand and lead to empowerment…
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Download file to see previous pages All the same, King chooses a moderate and democratic viewpoint of empowerment, while Malcolm presents a more militant path. What Malcolm says about racial discrimination is that black people suffer “political oppression at the hands of the white man, economic exploitation at the hands of the white man, and social degradation at the hands of the white man.”2 King on the other hand remarks that black are denied their “constitutional and God given rights” under racial discrimination.3 It can be seen from the above statements that while King views the system as the culprit, Malcolm points his fingers to the mainstream white. It is in the backdrop of the racially discriminatory Jim Crow laws that both make their above-mentioned statements. Malcolm calls Jim Crow laws, a “segragationist conspiracy” and prescribes black to break them, while King calls for fighting against the segragationist laws as a part of a civil disobedience movement so that it can be transformed into a political struggle. While Malcolm thus stresses retaliation, King stands for collective political action. Martin Luther King realizes that for the process of empowerment to begin, first the black and the society should fully understand the dimensions of victim status. In “The Letter from Birmingham Jail,” when Martin Luther King writes an open letter to the eight white religious leaders, he is answering their allegations against him and the agitating black people as well, but also is making use of the opportunity to discuss the issue of racial segregation of black people.4 This forced entry of the black narrative into main public discourse is first step in the process of empowerment. This is an attempt to get the mass society acknowledge that black are real victims. This assertion of victim status then also becomes a prelude to the forthcoming empowerment process. King in his letter is trying to make both white and black people see the facts about black victimisation.5 King was arrested and put in Birmingham jail for taking part in a demonstration against racial violence and discrimination.6 He wrote this letter in response to the statement issued by eight white religious leaders of the South, expressing concern over the “untimely” and violent nature of black protests.7 King utilizes his chance to reply to the white leaders so that he can show the wider public the ground realities of black life, a picture usually suppressed in mainstream narratives. In this manner, King by tailtoing a mainstream discourse, tries to win the attention of the mainstream audience, in order to make them see a marginalised issue. This method adopted by King stands proof to the fact that it is only through making victims as well as perpetrators acknowledge the victim status of the black, that the process of empowerment can begin. From this point of view, the letter of King can be viewed as addressed to both black and white people. King asserts the need for black unity for the sake of their empowerment, and anchors his arguments on the universal value of justice to get wider support for them. King declares that he presumes the eight white leaders to be genuine and sincere in their concerns.8 This is a demand, and warning in disguise, that the white leaders are expected to adhere to the declared genuinity of their concerns. By making such a demand, King shows black that they have every right and courage to demand justice. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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