Why Martin Luther King, Jr. Is a True Antihero


The antihero. The power player. The gladiator. A dominating force that few people understand.

He follows his own convictions. He plays by his own rules. He walks his own road.

He is no hero … at least not yet. In many ways, he is much better than the hero.

A hero has the easier job. Everyone loves a hero. So how hard is it to keep going on when everyone is rooting for you?

But an antihero … he has the tougher job. He keeps pushing forward, despite what others may say. They whisper about him behind his back. They make fun of him. They shun him. They threaten him. And yet, he keeps walking the loner’s road.

My site is not for the heroes. No, it is for the antiheroes — the people who keep on doing what is right, despite the fears they have. They keep on toiling away for what they believe in, even though no one supports them. They fight for truth, even though it may seem like a lost cause.

They do it because life will otherwise be meaningless.

Martin Luther King, Jr. as an Antihero

If there is one thing you should know about me, I give credit where it is due. And on this fine Monday, the credit goes to Martin Luther King, Jr. — a true red, white, and blue American antihero.

What this man did is truly spectacular.

From the fire that burned bright in his belly …

From his thirst for a better future …

From his dream of equality …

He stood up against the norm of his days and fought the only way he knew how — through his mighty words.  Who can ever forget the oratory force of his “I Have a Dream” speech?

(If you want to read the full speech, click here.)

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

– Martin Luther King, Jr. (August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Washington, D.C., Lincoln Memorial)

Men tried to stand up against him … men who were comfortable with the status quo. They liked the way things were, so why change anything? They thought: Who gives a crap about the black people? They need to be segregated. There is us and there is them. There is no we.

Men threatened King with death, and yet … he would not back down. Eventually, he sacrificed his life for his vision. If he is alive right now and you ask him, “Would you give up your life to achieve your dream?” He would answer “yes” in a heartbeat.

Today, we are living his dream. And he is a national hero — we even have a holiday to honor his great works. However, he wasn’t always well-regarded. He had to fight for his ideas. He had to die for them. So remember …

Before you can become a hero, you must first be an antihero.

Before people love you, you must first endure through the crucible — the fire of tribulations. All great men go through it. But if there is one thing you can learn from King, it is …

Never give up the fight for what is right. Stay true to your convictions.

Be the antihero.

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  1. That speech gave me the chills man…

    • Alex Ding says:

      I’m with you, Sebastian.

      I hope that one day I can write and speak with as much force as King.

      I checked our your video. I like the stunts you do on your path. At one point in my life, I was gonna be biker. But life took a different turn for me.

  2. MLK was a man ahead of his time! He changed the view of a country all without firing a shot! Because of him we all can live in this country peacefully and have the same opportunities as the other. His ideas involved very one not just Blacks, but Asians, Latinos and even White people.
    Unfortunately like all great men he was taken away from us to early! Alex if you want to write great speeches like this man all you have to do is believe in your cause! Believe in it so much that every waking day of your life you are consumed by it! When you reach that point then you too can write like great men! I always look up to men like MLK who was able to make his life mean something to a point that he has become immortal a martyr!
    Great men like MLK are a extinct species as they no longer exist in this modern world. We men like that in the world again!
    Great post Alex!

    • Hey Jose,

      Great men like King are indeed rare. If just one man could do what he did, imagine what a handful of such men can do.

      It is true what you say about belief in a cause. When something gets you that fired up, it is amazing what you can do. Writing is the easy part. Finding a worthy cause is the hard part.

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