It is an evident reality that individuals all around the world may differ in opinion, point of view and perspective whenever they involve themselves in a conversation.
The line of demarcation is established between the individual who agrees and the individual who disagrees on a certain topic and aspect discussed which comes from anything under the sun, on the basis and preference that they want to discuss as a whole.
In the aspect and perspective of Human Rights, two very influential leaders and individuals are worthy to be made mention for because of the various contributions, initiatives, efforts and marked imprints that they have exerted, poured out and given, making Human Rights more accessible, personable and grasped in the setting of the United States of America as to what it is today in the contemporary and modern American society and these are Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, respectively.
In this article, we will be given the prime opportunity to decipher in an in-depth sense the differences of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, in terms of their perspective on human rights. Let us begin.
A Little Throwback and Background on the Civil Rights Era
The Civil Rights Era was never an easy rise and journey, most especially in the perspective of Black Americans. In this era, the supremacy of White Americans, and the horrendous reality of racism was rampant in the United States.
Thus, it came to no surprise that purposefully driven and motivated individuals came into the scene, carrying with them the thrive of attaining the maximal goal of equality which is truly deserving both for the Black Americans and the White Americans of the country.
In addition, as a reality, the African Americans were inspired to fight in terms of gaining a better and equal status in the country, thus they directed their grievances to the American government. This particular scenario frightened numerous individuals who lived during that time in the land of milk and honey.
The struggle of the Black Americans for equality became even tougher in a sense that they would want to effectively impact change, most specifically on the mindset of the White Americans with who from the beginning have enjoyed the privilege of living in the country without the fear of repercussion, so to speak.
The Civil Rights Era transpired way back in the past, a hundred years ago to be exact, yet the feeling of being threatened continues to live on, in the emotional aspect of the Black Americans that was made heavily possible by the White Americans.
Because of the continuous impediment of equality which has yet to be realized between the Black Americans and the White Americans, the America Police came up with the usage of brand new tactics which made the arrest of African Americans more prevalent despite the grounds of minimal offenses, as greatly contributed by the Jim Crow Laws which remained highly relevant despite the end of the Civil Rights Era.
Thus, in relevance to what has been mentioned, the depiction of black people may have been abolished in terms of being the so-called “slaves in a plantation”, yet they have remained clumped in the depiction of being the direct slaves of inequality in the United States.
This depiction, on the perspective of the Black Americans has greatly caused the occurrence of the 1960s revolution from the point of view of the blacks wherein their purpose is to achieve equality and to receive the necessary civil rights that they need, in order to attain functionality and purpose, in a society where the White Americans remained dominant that time, relatively.
Thus, it is considered to be a blessing in disguise for Black Americans and African Americans that two influential leaders bravely graced the stage of expression and took a steadfast stand in the name of equality, in the persons of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X stood in a brave and steadfast manner, in the fight of achieving and realizing desegregation, independence and equality.
Alongside with what has been mentioned, both of them have different approaches in terms of impacting influence and in the uplifting of accessible Human Rights for all races and individuals that live in the United States.
To continue with, the two influential individuals are different in terms of social environment, upbringing and turnout of their respective individual life events. These three aspects have greatly impacted the perspective of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and of Malcolm X, in terms of how violence plays a huge role as an incorporated tenet in their individual and respective ideologies.
Below are some of the testamentary evidences that contribute greatly to the wide difference in terms of human rights perspective, as demarcated between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, in a clearer point of view.
The Differences in Human Rights Perspective between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X
First and foremost, in his speech entitled, “Ethical Demands for Integration”, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. firmly emphasized that; “the impact of discipline in a nonviolent approach has greatly impacted towards the creation of the Negro’s mindset which in return, is a brand new image of him, respectively.”
Dr. King’s firm emphasis originates from the history that the African Americans have encountered firsthand, under the chains of slavery, wherein the black people were led to punishment either for the reasons of being slow at work or for destroying a product, so to speak.
Drawing greatly from his personal background, Dr. King strongly believes that the reality of non-violence is still the most applicable approach in terms of succeeding in a revolt, for the reason that it results in the exposition of black people, into a new wave that will lead them to a realization that they are indeed human.
In addition to what has been said, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. voiced the urgency for African Americans to put into great use, their innate knowledge, choice of words, intentful actions, in the hopes of impacting fundamental change in the American government , as this has not been done by the previous African Americans in the past, evidently.
On the other side of the coin, Malcolm X adopted a more violent method and perspective. He strongly believes that the sound of silence that transpired within the slaves who experienced suppression firsthand in the past, should gear on the direction of attaining change by means of responding violently on a larger scale.
Furthermore, Malcolm X steadfastly elaborates that Violence paved the way for African Americans to obtain more than just a “voice.” Obtaining a voice has led them to put their individual words into real action, wherein he emphasized in a steadfast manner that if words are paired with immediate actions realistically, a larger influence and a peaceful manner of aggression is more visible in the long run.
Secondly, in terms of their childhood, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a great difference, for the reason that Dr. King had a more positive childhood, which led him to develop a more peaceful approach, in terms of advocating for human rights.
On the other hand, Malcolm X adapts a more violent approach in terms of advocating for human rights, for the reason that he had a lot of horrendous experiences during his childhood, that truly made that stage of his life a rough one, as a whole, which made him used to with such ambience and atmosphere as a whole.
Third, in terms of Education, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X had a great difference for the reason that Dr. King had a more advanced benefit and mileage of continuously improving himself by pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree and Doctorate Degree, which were thankfully obtained by him, because of the immense inspiration and driving force that he has garnered from being a Pastor, so to speak.
On the other hand, Malcolm X never had the opportunity to promote his educational journey on a higher level, for the reason that he was greatly affected by his father’s death, who was literally the sole provider of the family. Having ended his education up to eighth grade only, and having been raised by his widowed mother during the period of the Great Depression, he was forced to stop the journey of being educated as his mother had a hard time in providing the daily needs for him and with his other ten siblings, which led his beloved mother to experience a mental breakdown which led to the inevitable entry of his mother in a mental facility in Michigan, in the year 1939.
Due to the immense sadness and drastic changes that occurred in his life, a shift of emotions was done by Malcolm X which led him to be filled with anger and violence. This resulted for him to create a belief that in order to get revenge on the system that greatly affected his whole family including him as an individual, violent tactics should be applied in society, in order to attain tangible change with a great touch of violence.
Fourth, in terms of their individual perspectives on racism and inequality in the United States, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X varies for the reason that the series of events in their life are demarcated for Dr. King had a blissful life, in comparison to Malcolm X who had a horrendous life as a whole.
Fifth, both Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a huge impact in the lives of African Americans who continuously journeys and lives their life to the fullest, in the society that they lived in.
Both of them have served as a voice that led both of them to stand up steadfastly in their own platforms of expression, against the horrific reality of adversity in totality.
Thankfully, their steadfast outlook on Human Rights, as well as their voice that never fails and fades to motivate and influence a huge crowd has led to the progress of the black people in the United States, which is continuously vivid in the American society at present, in an optimal level of modernity.
Sixth and lastly, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life has led him to remain loyal and firm with his peaceful approach and perspective on advocating for human rights for the reason that his life rotated on family love, good finances and a strong belief in God.
On the other hand, Malcolm X remained to be more inclined on having “tough skin” for the reason that his life comforts were stripped from him at a very tender age, thus leading him to earn everything that he wanted in a harder and tedious way. To sum it up, Malcolm X had a handful of harsh beginnings which served as a main resource that contributed to his highly violent approach in advocating for human rights as a perspective.
In conclusion, both influential leaders and advocates share the same boat, in terms of goals, despite the disparity that is present in their individual backgrounds. On the brighter side, the commonality of the two steadfast leaders is to make a mark and imprint in the lives of African Americans, in a sense that every citizen of the United States should have an equal access to rights in an optimally free life, and in the country that has been their paragon of determination of doing such for the benefit of others, respectively.