The “non-violent” or demanding for civil rights by the American black was a major set back to his realizing his self-worth, identity and dignity. The case of Mahatma Gandhi and India was different because African Americans were not urging the whites to leave but were going to keep living with them in that land.
In making “peaceful” demands for your “rights” you only succeed in giving your adversary enough time and room to create loop holes and in the end you get nothing but sham equality. Let us face it in today’s modern America, to openly identify with racism in “unfashionable”, inconsistent with the “American ideal”.
And the American racist has with his magic wand conjured up an exquisite adornment – a system of “equal opportunity” and civil rights and has the judiciary and legislature as his genie, his fairy godmother. And with the twelfth stroke of the clock at midnight, the African American black Cinderella has now had a rude awakening, finding herself in rags, bare-footed, with mice and pumpkin, bewildered, confused and with a negative self image. A far cry from her dream of the white prince charming turning up with the lost shoe (which miraculously remained unchanged, though the other half of the pair changed along with the dress, horse, etc. to rags, mice, etc.) and then to sweep her off her feet, across thresholds, into the paradise of the happy-ever- afters.
In the word of Malcolm X, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is a victim of constant brutal attacks.
Had they asserted their will to be in control of their own destinies unregulated and unmonitored, and let the racists realize they had no choice but to let them be, things would have been different today. But ironically, such as mode of thinking is unattainable to any mass of people regardless of race, creed or nationality.
Martin Luther king had a dream; Malcolm X saw an American nightmare. Malcolm X understood this but his people rejected him. Could it be that the dream had been a nightmare all along?