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Comparing Letter From Birmingham Jail And Notes Of A Native Son

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Racism and racial inequality was extremely prevalent in America during the 1950’s and 1960’s. James Baldwin shows how racism can poison and make a person bitter in his essay “Notes of a Native Son”. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “A Letter from Birmingham Jail” also exposes the negative effects of racism, but he also writes about how to combat racism. Both texts show that the violence and hatred caused from racism form a cycle that never ends because hatred and violence keeps being fed into it. The actions of the characters in “Notes of a Native Son” can be explain by “A Letter from Birmingham Jail”, and when the two texts are paired together the racism that is shown in James Baldwin’s essay can be solved by the plan Dr. King proposes in his…show more content…
Dr. Kings warns of this, “The other force is one of bitterness and hatred and comes perilously close to advocating violence” (). In this quote, Dr. King argues that bitterness and hatred can consume a person to the point where he can engage in violent acts. In “Notes of a Native Son”, Dr. King’s words are proven to be true. In the same scene as mentioned above, the narrator does act out on the waitress: “There was nothing on the table but an ordinary watermug half full of water, and I picked this up and hurled it with all my strength at her” (742). By throwing the mug of water at her, the narrator is taking his rage and bitterness and turning it into violent action. The narrator’s violent actions are understandable because as Dr. King mentions, “Vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim” (2). When a person is the victim of this kind of hatred it is understandable why is he has bitterness and rage and that he may turn to violence after he experiences of any type of continued…show more content…
King suggests that it may not be the best way to end racism and discrimination. “A Letter from Birmingham Jail” show how violence cannot stop the on going cycle of violence. In his letter, he argues that: “There is a more excellent way, of love and nonviolent protest” (). This quote shows how to break the cycle of violence. Dr. King suggests “love and non violent protest”. Even after all the injustices done to the black population of the United Sates, Dr. King is calling for them to set aside violence, bitterness, and hatred. He wants them to fight for their equality peacefully. According to Dr. King, this is the best way to stop violence. One side must step up and act peacefully in order for violence to end. In order to further prove that nonviolence is the way to stop racism and gain equality, Dr. King writes: “I'm grateful to God that, through the Negro church, the dimension of nonviolence entered our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, I am convinced that by now many streets of the South would be flowing with floods of blood” (). In this quote, Dr. King once again argues that non violence and peace are the best ways to stop the cycle of violence. The phrase “the dimension of nonviolence entered our struggle” shows that even though they are struggling, nonviolence can help them. Also the words “many streets of the south would be flowing with floods of blood” represent the fact that the violence will
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