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How can the "unfinished" civil rights movement & George Zimmerman be redressed nonviolently?

Lately, I have been studying nonviolence



and ethics via EdX (the course on Justice)

So here's my question(s):

If the nonviolent movement towards equality that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr started was incomplete (either because of his assassination or maybe a planning error), how can we complete it? How can we "humanize" African Americans, how can we create alternative structures that allow them to enjoy the lives/succeed the way they want to (i.e. constructive program)? How does satyagraha ("obstructive program") come into play?

Next, what about George Zimmerman? He has been found not guilty of any wrong doing and released, yet I would argue that there was wrong doing. How can we as a society nonviolently affirm that this actions should not be condoned and that the circumstances that lead to his pardoning should be changed (constructive program)?

  • Apr 20 2014: Hi

    Thank you for sharing your story. To be honest, I'm not sure how to respond to every part of your response. I guess the easiest way to clarify would be to say that I have PTSD. I would consider myself to be more misanthropic than altruistic. But, understanding violence so intimately has made me realize that violence cannot solve most problems. Cultural changes (like eliminating racism) only happen effectively via nonviolence. So I wonder, how we may continue cultural changes nonviolently. (I'd like to hear opinions.)

    In the case of Zimmerman, he shot an unarmed youth in the back as he was running away from him when he wasn't even supposed to be armed to begin with. Race is irrelevant. That is murder, not self-defense. In the case of self-defense, I support it. Violence should be our absolute last option and that's what self-defense is. So I wonder how we can promote a cultural change where actions like Zimmerman's are unacceptable.
  • Apr 20 2014: Jennifer

    Your altruism seems to violate my pragmatic sensibilities. There is so much of what you said that is admirable and worthy of pursuit, but lacking the understanding of human nature. If I could wave a wand and magically transform human life into the creature that you espouse and hope for, I would do it immediately.
    The Zimmerman case. What is your argument that he is guilty of 'wrong doing'? Would you defend yourself, if you thought your life was at stake? And how would you do that?
    When I was very young and roaming the streets of Detroit Mi, I would often encounter people who would disagree with my needs and wants. I failed to understand their position until I found myself in handcuffs and two police officers, who went into great detail, explaining the error of my ways and what I thought was the proper way to acquire items of need. I was told, along with other things, that water seeks it's own level and that as long as I stayed in this pond my chances of becoming pond ($#@&%) scum were great. Their words were reinforced with the threat of jail and a little physical nudging, which left me bruised and on a first name basis with something called a blackjack.
    Within five years I had spent four in the military, one in combat, married with a son and wore a badge and a gun. I was now a police officer.
    That is the understanding that must be conveyed to our youth of any color. To divide and legislate by skin color serves only to create a monster and alienate people.
    There is no such thing as perfection or equality. Perhaps, you have a new definition for equality that is not covered in the Constitution.