Friday, September 10, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr. Quote and a Memory of Ignorance

One may well ask: How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others? The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
I'll never forget the day I had to tell a "room full" of people (it was online) that this was a basic tenant of civil disobedience.  That, yes, civil disobedience meant breaking laws on purpose and that yes this was a foundational part of MLK Jr.'s philosophy for the Civil Rights movement (which he got from Gandhi) (never did manage to work Bayard Rustin or basically the more complete story at all into it because, well, I couldn't even get them to go with me on the very basic fact that Gandhi and MLK had the audacity to decide they had an obligation to disobey unjust laws).

I used this very quote to prove my point when they flatly refused to believe me.

Even now, looking back on it, I'm stunned at the ignorance. Just what the fuck did they learn about this man and the Civil Rights movement in school/growing up, that they missed this???

And, wow, how thoroughly has the kyriarchy managed to sanitize his story and legacy, eh?