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NicolePaul

ProfessorAliErritouni
English11011306
8December2013
DoesNonviolenceFightInjustice?
MahatmaGandhioncestated,Youmustbethechangeyouwanttoseeinthe
world.FormanyyearsintheUnitedStates,minoritieslivedinhostileandinhumane
conditions.Blackscouldnotvote,usethesamewaterfountainsandpublicrestroomsas
whitecitizens,orobtainaneducationfromawhiteschool.Itwasnotuntilpeoplestarted
recognizingthewrongdoingaimedtowardminoritygroupsthatstepsweretakentomake
theUnitedStatesofAmericaamorepeacefulplacetolivein.Ibelievethatnonviolent
civildisobedienceisapowerfulweaponforrightinginjustice,thatthefederalcourts
playedakeyroleinthecivilrightsmovementandtheestablishmentofequalrightsfor
Americancitizens,andthatnonviolentcivildisobediencewouldnothavebeenan
effectivedeterrenttoAdolfHitlerandtheNaziParty.
Throughouthistory,nonviolentcivildisobediencehasproventobeapowerful
weaponforfightinginjustice.AquotebythelateMahatmaGandhistates,Aneyeforan
eyemakesthewholeworldblind.Dr.MartinLutherKingJr.demonstratedthis
resiliencewhiletryingtoadvanceequalrightsforminoritiesduringthecivilrights
movement.InhisLetterfromBirminghamJail,Dr.MartinLutherKingJr.stated,In
anynonviolentcampaigntherearefourbasicsteps:(1)collectionofthefactsto
determinewhetherinjusticesarealive;(2)negotiation;(3)selfpurification;and(4)direct

action(513).Dr.MartinLutherKingJr.actedlogicallyandtactfullyduringthecivil
rightsmovement.MartinLutherKingJr.organizednonviolentcivilproteststotargetthe
successofwhitebusinessowners.Nonviolentcivildisorderprevailsoverviolentcivil
disorderbecauseastimegoeson,peoplerealizehowinhumanelyothersarebeingtreated
andrecognizethattheoppressor,nottheoppressed,isresponsibleforcausingproblems
andviolence.
Thecivilrightsmovementwouldnothavehadthesameoutcomeifitwerenotfor
thefederalcourts.Thefederalcourtspassedalotoflegislationinfavorofequality,
helpingoutblacksandminorities.AquotebythelateDr.MartinLutherKingJr.states,
Historyisthelongandtragicstoryofthefactthatprivilegedgroupsseldomgiveup
theirprivilegesvoluntarily.Individualsmayseethemorallightandvoluntarilygiveup
theirunjustposture;butasReinholdNiebuhrhasremindedus,groupsaremoreimmoral
thanindividuals(515).Withoutsupportofthefederalcourt,whiteswouldnothave
givenblacksequalrights.Twokeylegislationswrittenduringthecivilrightsmovement
werethecivilrightsactof1964andvotingrightsact.Thecivilrightsactof1964stopped
segregationonpublictransportation,andallowedtheU.SAttorneyGeneraltohelp
victimsofdiscrimination.Themostimportantfactorofthecivilrightsactof1964was
thatitbannedemployersfromdiscriminatingagainstminorities.Withemployersunable
todiscriminate,blacksandotherminoritiesnowhadtheopportunitytoworkforpay.The
votingrightsactwasalsoveryinfluentialinfurtheringblackequality.Manyconsiderthe
votingrightsacttobethemostimportantcivilrightsstatutetodate.Theactbackedup
the15thamendment,allowingblackstovote.Allowingblackstovotechangedthefaceof

theUnitedStatesofAmerica,makingthecountrymoreimpartialandstable.Thefederal
courtspassedmanypiecesoflegislationthathelpedchangethewaypeopleareviewedin
theUnitedStatesandgranteveryUnitedStatescitizenequalrights,regardlessofrace.
AquotebythelateAdolfHitlerstates,Maketheliebig,makeitsimple,keep
sayingit,andeventuallytheywillbelieveit.AdolfHitler,dictatorofGermanyfrom
1933to1945,usedpropagandaandliestoswaycitizenstofollowtheNaziparty.During
hisreign,Hitlerwasresponsibleforthedeathof11millionpeople,6millionbeingJews.
Idonotbelievethatnonviolentcivildisobediencewouldbeasuccessfuldeterrentto
HitlerandtheNazipartylikeitwasintheUnitedStatesagainstracism.Idonotthink
nonviolentcivildisobediencewouldbecauseAdolfHitlerandhisfollowershadno
conscience.AquotefromHitlersbookMeinKampfstates,Thebestwaytotakecontrol
overapeopleandcontrolthemutterlyistotakealittleoftheirfreedomatatime,to
eroderightsbyathousandtinyandalmostimperceptiblereductions.Inthisway,the
peoplewillnotseethoserightsandfreedomsbeingremoveduntilpastthepointatwhich
thesechangescannotbereversed.AdolfHitlerdidnotbelieveinbeingcivil.Hewanted
tostripeveryoneexcepttheAryanraceoftheirrightsashumansanddestroyeverything
thatopposedhisideas.ThedifferencebetweenthecivilrightsmovementandHitlerwas
thatwhitesstartedtorealizetheinhumanetreatmentminoritygroupsfaced,whilethose
whobegantorecognizeHitlerandtheNazipartyssadisticbehaviorwereafraidtostand
upbecauseofpossiblerepercussions.AdolfHitlerslowlystrippedGermancitizensof
theirrightsandusedfear,intimidationanddeathaswaytocontrolthenation.Nonviolent

civildisobediencewouldhaveneverworkedinGermany.The11millionlivesthatwere
lostintheHolocaustdemonstratedsuchresilienceandwereannihilated.
AdolfHitleroncestated,Bytheskillfulandsustaineduseofpropaganda,one
canmakepeopleseeevenheavenashelloranextremelywretchedlifeasparadise.
Peopleinhistoryusedpropagandaandfalseinformationtowrongpeopleofdifferent
nationalitiesandreligiousbeliefs.Itwasnonviolentcivildisobediencethathelped
peopleofminoritiesprevailandgainequality.Standingupforyourbeliefswithoutusing
violenttacticshelpsotherstorecognizethevictimizationfacedbytheoppressedand
encouragesthemtofightforequalrights.