MLK Versus BLM in Changing Hearts and Minds

Newsweek, August 2, 2020

2 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2020

See all articles by Paul H. Robinson

Paul H. Robinson

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Date Written: August 2, 2020


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught some important lessons about the long-term detrimental effects of intimidation and violence in pursuit of changing social norms. The Black Lives Matter movement could benefit from those lessons. Real social change, that is, changing hearts and minds, is imperiled, not promoted, by aggressive confrontation. King intuitively understood what today's social science tells us: One might gain the temporary social power to intimidate others to behave in particular ways but such intimidation only produces resentment and resistance that make it harder to "transform" your enemy, as King implored.

Keywords: Martin Luther King, Jr., Black Lives Matter, BLM, civil rights movement, social change, nonviolent resistance, demonstrations, riots

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Paul H., MLK Versus BLM in Changing Hearts and Minds (August 2, 2020). Newsweek, August 2, 2020, Available at SSRN:

Paul H. Robinson (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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