John Klar: Using love to conquer hate — Of MLK and BLM

By John Klar

The leftist racial tension of 2020 in America teaches the opposite of Martin Luther King, Jr., advocating racial violence as the solution to racial conflict. For this reason, the current Black Lives Matter “movement” — loosely organized, vague of message, quick to commit violence and silence others — is much more akin to the Malcolm X than the Martin Luther King philosophy. Indeed, BLM activists would likely call MLK an “Uncle Tom.”

But King was right about using love to conquer evil, and those who seek to tame the toxicity of the more criminal elements of BLM must embrace the King message even while those who purport to advance racial liberation favor violence, intolerance, and hate. The irony is evident, but there is no alternative path.

John Klar

Many Americans remember the fictional character of Archie Bunker from the hit 70s TV series All in The Family. Archie was an evident racist, yet viewers easily fell in love with him. Why? Because it was always clear that Archie Bunker loved his wife and children, loved his country, worked hard and was no criminal — his crime as a racist was borne of pure ignorance, which viewers watched peeled back as he got a wake-up call from his enlightened son-in-law, or his black friend Lionel (Sammy Davis, Jr).

Also in the 1970s, Americans saw a reverse racism in the lovable if prickly George Jefferson,(The Jeffersons), a powerful story of the actual sufferings of slavery in Alex Haley’s Roots, and the contemporary reality of inner city ghetto-dwellers in Good Times. All of these were sincere efforts to wrestle with the American racial conscience, but in our current climate of “raising awareness” these shows (except for Roots) would likely be banned. This sort of awareness would not be tolerated today — it is not angry; it does not label all whites as complicit in ancient and current violence by virtue of inaction; it does not embrace and condemn “systemic racism” as a permanent and insolvable injustice; it recognizes the humanity of even racists.

Those of us who were “woke” in 1980 did not fall asleep. Indeed, we are “woke” now to the dangers of a political movement such as BLM which wraps itself in the tragedy of a victim (George Floyd), advocating violence and destruction as solution. Imagine if every time a white woman were raped by a black man the entire nation rose up against all black men. Yet here we see this objectionable phenomenon in reverse — every time a black person is killed by white police (regardless of whether there is ANY evidence of racist animus, as in George Floyd’s case), there is a self-righteous eruption into … violence against all white people and the undefined “systemic racism” they are alleged to employ.

For black America, the tragedy of this response is much greater than the tragedy of George Floyd’s death. Indeed, would George Floyd endorse this degree of hostility and hate in his name? Do people not see where this leads?

The irony is that Americans who comprehend that the BLM movement is counterproductive must embrace MLK’s teachings against hate in response to BLM’s violence. That irony is not just that white people must embrace Civil Rights era tactics to defend themselves against false allegations of racism. The greater irony is that those (mostly white) people who have declared themselves the champions of black liberation in 2020 aren’t “woke” to the simple truths of MLK and Gandhi — you don’t change people’s hearts by screaming at them, killing them, or silencing their opinions.

In truth it would be unfair to tie today’s BLM with Malcolm X, for he also would object to this extremism. Malcolm X only advocated for violence in self-defense, and he did not label “inaction” as a violence requiring counterattack. He taught that “… it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.” By the same token, it is criminal to teach black and white Americans not to defend themselves against the criminal anarchy that BLM and Antifa have now demonstrated themselves to be.

It is not “defending oneself” to physically assault people who wear a “MAGA” hat, display a confederate flag, or wear a shirt one deems offensive. As Malcolm X stated in a speech in November 1963:

There is nothing in our book, the Koran, that teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to be intelligent. Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts a hand on you, send him to the cemetery. That’s a good religion.

That is sound counsel, and if BLM protesters put a hand on anybody, Malcolm X tells us where they should be sent. But this is violence in self-defense: BLM is agitating for violence AGAINST people and property across the country — in the name of, but directly opposed to, liberty and justice. MLK’s wisdom is vindicated in 2020, as American cities are destroyed:

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Many in the left-wing BLM movement call to dismantle the First Amendment and U.S. Constitution: they advocate chaos in their stead. They have cast off from King and X, and offer only conflict: peace or reconciliation are not even stated goals. The stated goal is to “tear down,” not build up.

America is being torn apart. It is terrifying to see violence and hate so dominate our headlines. Yet, we can take comfort in the truths taught by both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X — this violence will fail. Positive change will only arrive through respect and reconciliation: never through violence and intimidation.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Mike Shaheen

4 thoughts on “John Klar: Using love to conquer hate — Of MLK and BLM

  1. I believe that if you look, even a passing glance, at BLM, you will find that they are nothing like the Black Panthers of Malcom X’s time, and look and act much more like the KKK with a change of clothes.
    Made-up MOSTLY of either ignorant White people who have not looked at who they are surrounded by; other White people in a supposedly Black peoples movement, and school Indoctrinated White people that believe that what Phil Scott said, “Vermont is a Systemically Racist State;” yes that’s correct…, Phil Scott said that the First State to join the Union after the first 13 Original Colonies, the State that lost the most men per capita to the first Civil War, and the First State to come into the Union, Anti-Slavery, is Systemically Racist. Additionally, BLM has been co-opted by Antifa and Black Communists with-in its own organization, and they have NOTHING to do with the original BLM platform that Black Lives Should Not be seen as less valuable than that of Whites, rather they are self-proclaimed Communists and want to take-over America.
    Please don’t bother to try arguing me about this until you go and look at the videos that are readily available in which BLM states, who they are, and what they want… Then ignore all the White people, because, if you don’t, you are agreeing with people that have APPROPRIATED A BLACK MOVEMENT, and thus, Black Culture.
    You see, being a hypocrite, whether by ignorance or on purpose, isn’t that much fun when you’re called on it!

  2. MLK is turning over in his grave, watching these clowns trying to protest
    for a cause that they don’t have a clue about !!

    The BLM movement, has lost it’s course, if they really cared they would
    be protesting in Major Cities like Chicago and it’s daily ” Blood letting ”
    among these Black communities……

    Just ask one of these idiots what they are protesting, they don’t answer
    because the don’t have a clue, most are looking for five minutes of fame
    if that’s what you call it……… I have NO compassion for these clowns.

    So in Burlington’s ” Tent City ” what get me is they state they have demands,
    most don’t even live in Burlington, just more followers NO tax-payers for sure.

    Mayor Miro should have nipped this the first day, but again just another
    follower not a ” leader ” for the City .. No Cohones !!

    City tax-payers need to revolt if the nonsense doesn’t stop ASAP !!

  3. The last three times I’ve taken a walk in downtown Burlington I’ve run into these people, holding signs saying “No Justice, No Peace” and dropping f-bombs on people just trying to enjoy a dinner on Church Street. Marching en masse, they scream and sound off like a chorus of toads, yet they can’t seem to articulate their demands beyond the rather unspecific “justice now.”

    My only thought is, “What would MLK do?” One look at the BLM logo–a raised fist–tells you all you need to know. If MLK ever had a logo, I suspect it would have been an outreached hand. Messaging–and actions–matter.

Comments are closed.