Martin Luther King, Jr. on capitalism, policies, and racism


Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister and a Civil Rights activist. He was well-known across the world for his activism for equal rights for African-Americans and was the most visible spokesperson for the Civil Rights Movement.

Here are Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 3 thoughts on society:

1) “Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.”

This Martin Luther King, Jr. quote is pretty self-explanatory. With a capitalistic economic system, there will never be equally wealthy people because there will always be two groups --the rich (a small few who hold the majority of the riches) and the poor (the majority of the nation).

King believes that this inequality exists because there is no equal distribution of wealth in a capitalistic society. He says that to change this, the people will have to fight; they will have to call out their government and protest for more economic equality.

An example of what King is trying to illustrate with this quote would be the economic inequality in today’s society. Did you know that the richest one percent in the world own half of the world’s wealth? They do and this is a perfect example of what King is talking about.

2) “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”

In this quote, King is saying that although there are no laws or policies that can make someone like or not prejudge a minority, laws that protect minorities are still important because it prevents bigots from physically harming (or killing) them.

There are many laws or potential policies that can be used as an example of this quote. For instance, policies that would prevent the police from killing or physically beating African-Americans would be one.

However, this quote doesn’t just apply to the African-American community. It can also be applied to the LGBT community or women.


3) “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

This is a quote that almost every activist has said in one way or another, but is an important idea, but so many people don’t use it. King says that people hate and fear one another because we don’t interact with each other. He says that to eliminate hate and fear, all we have to do is talk –listen to each other’s stories and try to understand one another.

Finding an example for this quote is a little tricky. However, just think back to a time when you had to something scary. At first, it’s probably pretty damn scary. But after a while, once you have experienced it and understood it, the activity probably wasn’t that scary anymore.

This is similar to talking to someone you fear. At first, all of your prejudgments about that person or type of person will flow rampantly throughout your mind. But once the conversation starts settling in, and you begin to understand that person more and more, he/she will just be like any other person that you have talked before. You may even have a lot of similar interests like that person!

So just communicate with each other.

Well, there you have it. These are King’s 3 thoughts on society. Which quote was your favorite or which one do you think society needs to use more? Share them in the comments.

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