With the ongoing analysis in class of violence perpetuating violence, I feel the need to share some thoughts. There are tons of ways in which teachings of non-violence have been weaponized in educational systems to promote passivity (i.e. learning more about Martin Luther King Jr than Malcolm X, and, for that matter, only learning the easily digestible parts of MLK’s work that fall into the realm of respectability politics). That’s not to say that non-violence is not worth learning about, I simply think it’s worth acknowledging that an inclination toward violence doesn’t always denote an opposition to nonviolence, and also that an individual’s journey towards non-violence often involves a large amount of unlearning of what violence is and of what non-violence is. That being said, my feelings are more inline with that of Kwame Ture in this excerpt of The Pitfalls of Liberalism. I find that more often than not, people tend to legitimize particular forms of violence and denounce others (likely because their society has normalized it for them). Even beyond that, though, it seems that even when denouncing socially legitimized violence (police brutality, war, etc.) and non-legitimized violence (brutality against the police, the carrying of arms by people of color, etc.), the two forms of violence are equated without acknowledgment of the vast difference between institutionally upheld violence and that violence which is enacted out of self-defense. I think there’s a lot of nuance to the discussion that obviously we can’t get all the way into in class, but I’m happy to say what I can on the blog!


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