Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Martin Luther King Jr. could be a terrifying man to those who enjoyed the status quo during his lifetime. Times-Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes that people should remember that people who effect change in the world often have tunnel vision that makes other people uncomfortable, even if their goal is respectable.

As we commemorate the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. Monday it helps to remember that King criticized […] one of his most reliable lieutenants, the New Orleans-born Andrew Young, for being too well-adjusted.

Featured in a PBS documentary in the mid-1990s, Young said, "Martin always said, 'Look, normal people don't challenge the law of the land.' He said you got to be strong enough to be creatively maladjusted. And sometimes he said, 'Andy, you're too well-adjusted. You can adjust to segregation and you can teach other people to accept it. And rise above it personally. But we need people around who can't be adjusted. People who have to upset things.' '" …

"Normal people," to use the phrase Young attributes to King, do everything they can to avoid jail, even if it means acting as an oppressor, even if it means staying oppressed. Then there are those who are blessed with an intolerance for evil. They scare us, if only because they make us realize that if it were up to us, things would never change.


Read Jarvis DeBerry's entire piece at the Times-Picayune.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff. 

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