Well it’s sunday morning and my first emotion is one full of cuss words at myself! I remembered upon waking that I was supposed to have done this blog by 10:30 last night! I totally forgot and now I feel really bad that I didn’t complete my homework on time! But apart from that – I have been thinking about the King center, and our discussion, and actually the things we’ve been talking about for the last couple days, as I think it all runs together.
The King center was really cool – I thought I had been there before, but I guess I hadn’t, I’d only been to the birthplace before. It was really moving to me to be able to see what he thought of the movement in his own words. Also, I knew he was an activist for civil rights for everyone, but I did not realize to what extent. In school we really only discussed his achievements in terms of the black civil rights movement. To see what he tried to do for the poorer communities, and the anti-war attitude he had over the Vietnam war. I know rationally that civil rights and Vietnam occurred in the same time period, but for some reason they were always separate in my mind. They kind of come together now seeing this person overlap into both causes – it’s like finding the common link. I also did not realize that he was an ambassador or negotiator or something during the peace talks that followed!
The biggest thing that got to me though was the booklet that was part of the set up in the center of the room that was sort of “making it real” for people of today. It was a book discussing children and young adults who died for the cause. What specific part or role they played and how their death came to pass. All of their deaths were horrific, some not even being found until awhile after they had been killed. I’ve always been dedicated in my beliefs and knew to stand up for myself – but I’ve never been in a position where I had to choose if I were going to die for them. I’d like to think I would be that strong – because it takes great courage and strength of will to lay down your life for what you believe to be right. It goes back to something that was said in that blue eyes video – the things society has done to keep minorities down in this country, especially black people, has made them the all the stronger to stand up and fight – possibly much more stronger than any of the oppressors are.
All this ties in to the other topics we’ve been discussing – social class, religion, sexual preference. All these things are just new ways society has come up with to classify people that the elite want to keep down. Slavery no longer exists (in this country), women have rights, workers are supported by unions – all these things have forced the ruling classes to come up with other ways to “put people in their place” – to keep them down and less and inferior. Though it’s not a new form of discrimination, it’s new in the sense that it’s more prevalent now because it’s kind of like the last frontier of discrimination. Like a last ditch effort to throw all your cards on the table and see who comes out on top – as the ruling class.
When we talk about whether or not people or minorities are fighting for the same things, if it’s the same fight that black people had to fight – I’d say no, it’s not the same. But then I don’t believe that history truly repeats itself either, as people profess, as the same circumstances and ways of dealing with things are never the same. But the rights these different groups want boils down to the very same rights that black people fought for. And just like some white people walked side by side fighting for those rights for black people, so must we now as a society stand up together with these other groups and get them the rights they deserve as well.
It’s only when we stand together as one, and lift up one voice in mass protest of wrong, that things change and begin to get better. One voice isn’t loud enough to drown out the crowd, but that one voice can incite others to raise theirs, and so on, until it can no longer be ignored, no longer be put aside, no longer be considered unimportant. The challenge is finding that well of strength in each and every one of us that can lift us up during times of crisis and hold us to the cause, even if it seems things are not changing. That strength that burns in our hearts so hot that we know we can never back down until we accomplish what we set out to do – really create a society that is equal for everyone, that joins together as a community, that supports it’s weaker parts knowing that we are only as strong as the weakest part, that educates it’s young people in a fair and equal fashion, that embraces diversity knowing that it strengthens us all, and that takes a stance that shows we are not perfect, but that in striving to be we are able to become the very best of who we are, individually and as a larger society.
I feel very emotional over all this and I even received a really emotional email today from a friend talking about a student with disabilities and how society interacted with him. I’ll bring it in on monday – see you then!