• The White Moderate Problem

    Dr. King emphasized the “fierce urgency of now." He observed in disappointment how even the white moderates in Alabama stood by and let injustice continue. While they agreed in theory that liberation was an eventuality and the right thing, they felt no urgency to take any risk to help bring it about. Sadly, today we find ourselves struggling with these same issues of white silence when “people of good will” won’t address their privilege or discomfort.

    "I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate."


    - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    Letter from Birmingham jail


    Dr. King goes on to say: "I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a 'more convenient season.' Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."