Monday, May 2, 2011

fake MLK quotes, real MLK sentiment

Megan calls bullshit on a quote being Twittered.

Well, okay, but isn't the relevant context his book Strength to Love, and, you know, his entire ethos? Here's a few of quotes from StL, but you can find similar sentiment in dozens or hundreds of places in his collected speeches and writings.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction ... The chain reaction of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars -- must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
When we look beneath the surface, beneath the impulsive evil deed, we see within our enemy-neighbor a measure of goodness and know that the viciousness and evilness of his acts are not quite representative of all that he is. We see him in a new light. We recognize that his hate grows out of fear, pride, ignorance, prejudice, and misunderstanding, but in spite of this, we know God's image is ineffably etched in being. Then we love our enemies by realizing that they are not totally bad and that they are not beyond the reach of God's redemptive love.
love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy by getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.
We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory.
no one should rejoice at the death or defeat of a human being.
Seems relevant!

Update: Mystery solved, I'd say.


McMegan said...

I'm not against the quote, it just doesn't seem to come from MLK. Maybe it's what he would have said if he were alive today, but he isn't, and he didn't.

That said, I endorse all of the other quotes.

Liz said...

Yeah, sentiment seems admirable but irrelevant; quotes imply, you know, actual words said.

Freddie said...

You guys are right. I do think though that the last quote is relevant to the idea that is being expressed in the Tweets. But a quote's a quote or it isn't.

paul h. said...

It almost seems like MLK had a ... passionate certainty

Rebecca said...

I came across your post on Google, and thank you for this. I googled the quote before using it, and I thought it was legit. Many hours later, I found out it wasn't.

I've linked to this post. I hope that's okay.

Freddie said...

Of course.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Way to COMPLETELY miss the point, internet. The original had quotation marks in the right places. ONE person mis copied it and that version spread. The sentiment is entirely attributable to MLK. It's a completely transcendent idea. Yet every time I see it, this is all anybody wants to talk about.