Dr. Kenneth Clark: Malcolm X, one of the most articulate exponents of the Black Muslim philosophy, has said of your movement and your philosophy that it plays into the hands of the white oppressors. That they are happy to hear you talk about love for the oppressor because this disarms the Negro and fits in to the stereotype of the Negro as a meek, turning-the-other-cheek sort of creature. Would you care to comment on Mr. X’s beliefs?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: Well, I don’t think of love as, in this context, as emotional bosh. I don’t think of it as a weak force. But I think of love as something strong, and that organizes itself into powerful direct action. This is what I try to teach in the struggle in the South. That we are not engaged in a struggle that means we sit down and do nothing.
There’s a great deal of difference between non-resistance to evil and non-violent resistance. Non-resistance leaves you in a state of stagnant passivity and dead-end complacency. Wherein non-violent resistance means you do resist in a very strong and determined manner. And I think some of the criticisms of non-violence, or some of the critics, fail to realize that we are talking about something very strong, and they confuse non-resistance with non-violent resistance.