Clyburn slams the use of MLK quotes as grounds for violence

Majority whip and longtime Democratic Party leader James Clyburn joins Yahoo News Editor in Chief Daniel Klaidman and Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff to share his thoughts on viral, arguably misunderstood quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. that some have used to justify violence during George Floyd protests.

Video Transcript

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DANIEL KLAIDMAN: And there seems to be at least some generational divide in this country over these issues. And you saw on social media, for example, a lot of people quoting Dr. King in I think one of his last speeches, talking about violence, "rioting being the voice of the unheard," and using that as a kind of a justification. Because the anger that's being expressed by people who do riot or who do burn down buildings is a kind of a desperation because their situation is so bad. You don't-- what do you think of that Martin Luther King quote and how it's been used in that argument?

JAMES CLYBURN: Well, people can you use quotes to make it a thing they want out of them. People used the Bible to justify slavery. That didn't do anything. But it's what you grow up thinking.

The fact of the matter is, I would also quote Dr. King in his letter from the Birmingham City jail when he said that he was coming to the conclusion that the people of ill will in our society was making a much better use of time than the people of good will.

And so all I would say is for us to take a look at Dr. King as a whole. He wasn't justifying rioting. He was explaining it. So there's a big difference in explaining what people do than to justify what they do. So King never justified that.

What do they say about King calling for nonviolence? John Lewis internified-- it's internalized with him. I've never internalized nonviolence. I'm not a violent person, but I'm certainly not a non-violent person.

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