The United States' concern with African issues is based on self-interest, not on a commitment to human rights, the Rev. Burgess Carr told a crowd of about 40 people in Science Center B yesterday.
His speech was the second of a series of talks commemorating the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Carr said American involvement in Africa is "a geopolitical response," that is based on "fear of the Russians and disapproval of the Cubans."
In "official circles" there is not a full understanding of the problems blacks in South Africa face, Carr added.
The law of the U.S. is "designed to promote greater justice for all of the people in this country," Carr said, adding that if people in the U.S. have the money to fight discrimination, they "will indeed overcome."
In South Africa, however, the law "is clearly designed to hole black people in oppression and subjection," he said. For this reason King's non-violent tactics "have achieved a measure of success here that they will not achieve in Africa."
Carr said if King were alive today he "would recommend non-violence" but would sympathize with those who feel that armed actiom is necessary.
Referring to South African apartheid, Carr said "there is value in polarization insofar as it enables reckoning with identity and reality, especially if that reality is as cruel and harsh as it is in South Africa."
Carr said King's struggle for equal rights must be continued until inequality and injustice are seen as evil "against which many would be happy to be martyred."
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