Civil Rights Marches: Black versus Hispanic

Charles Krauthammer makes an insightful comparison between the black civil rights marches of the 1960s and the current marches by Hispanics, many illegal aliens.
Noting that the Hispanic protestors switched from Mexican flags and “signs such as ‘This is our continent, not yours!’ and ‘Honkies are illegal aliens too”’ to American flags and less antagonism, Krauthammer observes,

They are now reading from the original civil rights textbook written by Martin Luther King, whose genius was to ensure that his people’s struggle was always expressed in quintessentially American terms. There was nothing cynical or contrived about it. Of course it was good politics, but King was passionate in his belief in America and in the belief that the struggle for black equality was a fulfillment of America’s true creed. Which is why King spoke naturally, if pointedly, in classic American cadences, invoking the sacred language of Lincoln, the Declaration and Exodus.


They seek good will and understanding. And Americans might give it — but on request, not on demand.

Martin Luther King had a case for justice that was utterly incontrovertible, yet he always appealed to the better angels of America’s nature. It is all the more important for illegals, whose claims rest not on justice but on compassion, to appeal to American generosity, openness and idealism.

There is much generosity in America to be tapped. But that will require two things. First, a change of tone. And second, a clarification of goals.


The politically mobilized millions need to tell America where they stand: Are they ready to be welcomed into the American family as the last illegals — or only as the first of many millions more?

I think that’s right. Even people like myself on the libertarian side of this one, who believe that people who come here to work should be welcomed so long as there are plenty of jobs waiting for them, resent those who come here against our laws and who hide in the shadows.

An appeal to Americans’ compassion and economic interests will be much more effective than a demand for self-annointed entitlement.

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Those that come here seeking jobs and a way to improve their lives should not only be welcomed, they should be aided by us because, in general, their work ethic and family values are something this country sorely needs.

    But there are those that come here for the expressed purpose of returning a great portion of the southwest US to Mexico and these people need to be viewed as nothing less than a hostile invasion.

    The trouble is, how do you identify who belongs to which camp?

  2. Herb says:

    This country is turning upside down.

    Now, everybody Marching and trying to be the Minority