Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Correction to Yesterday's Post, Martin Luther King Jr. Quote Is Not Completely Accurate But Is Still as Scathing

     The quote attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. that I used in yesterday's post and that is being disseminated in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death is not completely accurate.  
     A Facebook user posted her own thoughts followed by King's quote.  Somewhere in the electronic game of "Telephone" that is social media, her original introductory sentence and the actual King quote were combined into a single quote.  Those little things called quotation marks make a huge difference.  (See Eats, Shoots & Leaves for more on the importance of proper punctuation.)

     The actual quote is from King's book Strength to Love, page 53.  It reads: 
     Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence.
     From Maschable.com:
     The Detroit Free Press reported that the first sentence — the part referencing “thousands” supposedly comes from Twitter user Jessica Dovey, who tweeted this morning at Jillette: “I am the original author of the ‘MLK’ quote. Somewhere my words got mixed with his.” Jillette then retweeted her tweet containing the admission.
     Even if the entire quote didn't come from King's lips, it doesn't devalue the meaning of what's being disseminated.  The unblemished King quote is stronger because it doesn't devalue the feelings of relief and redress belonging to those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. Also, the actual quote is  more universal and just as scathing of the condemnatory religious comments by Mike Huckabee, etc. and the actions of those who are boasting.