I just can’t stop talking about academics and the culture wars with @ayjay:

While the form of Dr. King’s letter may be what RK recommends, its content is the opposite. She argues for patience:

To tolerate the injustice of sexism now, as Gray did then, in order to bring about some gradual melioration for the sake of long-term institutional preservation is itself an intolerable injustice.

Dr. King asserts:

Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation.…We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

As I quoted before RK endorses the quiet approach:

Confronted in a gentle way with objections to institutional rules whose modification would not imperil these purposes, their revulsion against scandal led them to gradually abandon these rules.

Dr. King tells the moderates:

Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily….We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Are these not opposing views on how social change happens? Would Dr. King have addressed the issue of South African divestment via task forces and closed debates? I think his approach would be to lead a non-violent protest to shut the university down. His anti-war work was certainly not confined to committees and personal discussions. Yet that is what RK recommends: quiet, private, civil discussion.

I agree that Gray’s toolkit is necessary. RK seems to be saying it’s sufficient. My sticking point is that she seems to be arguing that disruptive public protest is always wrong. Can you point me to a passage where she endorses direct action? Or any public protest?