Monday, June 8. 2009
This follows the same format as all of your other blogs save "The Future Freaks Me Out" - a minimum of two well-written paragraphs containing at least seven sentences apiece. Feedback is encouraged (as always), but no longer required.
EDIT: Some have pointed out that I never included a due date. One would be helpful, wouldn't it? This post is due by 4:00pm on Tuesday, June 9th!
(For additional fun, try to guess what I mean by the "house that fire built" - besides the fact that it's a song title, of course.)
As mentioned in class, these questions are a combination of my own work and queries I received from Occidental after reading "Letter from Birmingham Jail."
+ How does King distinguish between “just” and “unjust” laws? Do you accept his distinction? If not, how do you evaluate laws, and how do you govern your own behavior?
+ Forty years have passed since the publication of Dr. King’s letter. How close are we to achieving the sort of democratic society he envisioned? If we aren’t there yet, what remains to be done, and how will your generation do it?
You may answer either one; you may answer both. I look forward, as always - and for virtually the last time - to reading your work.
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“Injustice is here.” “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality.” “An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make biding on itself. His is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself.” “A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law.” “Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.” “Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.” “Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?”
I do agree with the King about what is “just” and “unjust.” Only when we are able to see the problem can we begin to find a way to fix the problem. Segregation is only powerful in numbers and in massive groups. Humans have their own morals to go by, but what makes a moral just or unjust? Why do people have to hate? Why can’t we all love? I think the King is saying that we cannot achieve one without understanding the other in its final form. We must also be treated equally among others. No matter what color you may be. Everyone deserves freedom and no one deserves punishment for innocence.
I think since the desegregation act over the past 40 years, we’ve made some dramatic improvements in civil rights. I hope that with this progressive speed we will be able to eliminate discrimination, racism, and segregation and unite the world. Just like what the original Star Trek was shooting for, unity of all races under one roof. And not just ethnicities, all genders are to be respected and treated as equal. I believe that we still have a while to go but with each day we a getting closer to that dream of the King.
MLK distinguishes the difference between the two by stating that a just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. I accept this distinction and agree with it to the fullest extent. A law that is degrading to any one human being is not acceptable in a society. Segregation of any kind is unjust on so many levels and this is morally wrong and degrading. Peace in the presence of justice will have a positive effect and the entire society as a whole.
I think we have achieved the democratic society MLK envisioned. I could be naive to some aspects though. I think the most remarkable thing that has happened in this 40 year period of time, is the fact that our 44th president, Barack Obama is from African decent. If MLK were here today I'm sure he would be proud. Each individual is entitled to their rights no matter, race, gender, religious beliefs, or social status. Segregation has ultimately been eliminated. I'm not saying that racism still doesn't exists, on the contrary but that racism is illegal to act upon. The law is on the side of the individual with no biases. My generation just has to maintain this. Woman will just have to continue to keep pushing because we are capable.
Forty years have past and we have made great progress when it comes to discrimination and segregation. Martin Luther King, Jr. decided to stand up when it was the scary thing to do. He showed bravery but poise as he was doing it. He inspired everyone in everyway, because it wasn’t the white people he was addressing or the black people. It was both. He didn’t allow for a single city or town to go on with segregation, because “whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly”. That quote shows nothing but the truth and because of that people were unable to hide the fact that they were lying to themselves. Everyone wanted to act that it wasn’t happening as long as they weren’t doing it, but the truth of the matter is, that even if one person is segregating others, it still hurts everyone else around them. Martin was such a intelligent human being, and instead of trying to make a career of something like every other intelligent person would do, he stepped out side the box and set his own career in helping America realize what we are doing and what we were becoming was wrong. Because of his touching words, we have changed. Yes, there may be some out there still living in the past, but what matters is that any person of any shape or color is able to be comfortable in their own skin without being looked at differently. We have almost accomplished Martins dreams and I hope to see it keep progressing. He deserves it.
Reading this piece made myself aware of the details that I missed when looking at the whole picture. When we talk about “just laws and unjust laws” they really show peoples true color. Any one and everyone will obey the just laws because that is expected of them. They want to be able to call them self moral people, which is why they do this. The average people follow the just laws in kindness of their heart, and really do mean well, but the people who just want it to say they are “moral” are the people who fall into unjust laws as well. The unjust law is “any law that degrades human personality,” which is one of the most cruel thing to do towards someone. Our personality is what shines best when we feel welcomed, but because segregation was happening and racism, people were victims of these unjust laws. It angers me to know that people were heartless enough to obey these unjust laws, which is why I see Martin wanted to stop it. If I had to choose I would act properly towards everyone because we all have the same heart beating just like everyone else. I am excited to know that forty years later we are able to say we have a black president. I admire him for his courage, not because of the color of his skin but because he is just a man who really wants to lead our country for the better. I am tired of looking at people because of their color. I am glad to say that every president before him was just as great. Yes some made mistakes, but I am sure Obama will too. I am here to live for America, not for color of peoples skin. I see everyone the same. Thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr.
(Artis - I cleaned up some of the language for you, and left the rest of the comment alone. - MFE)
in martin luther kings eyes just laws are unbiased laws he knew that and if they were unfair to anyone then they were unjust he thought that if the laws connected with the law of god. well his distinction between laws are just and morally the just way is the right way so i guess that i do accept his distinction he takes his from his religion and i am of the same religion so that is the way i will distinguish between the just and unjust laws. i govern my behavior with the bible an toward jesus not all my actions are the best but when my anger is not blinding me i push my actions and consult god first. for example i am contemplating weather i am goin to move out and go to san fransisco with my uncle who works as the head of the dmv he will give me a job working with him and let me play at an church wich wants me to play for 300 dollars a month. but it is not that easy my mother always told me in all things consult god.
forty years passing has granted us a sort of boot leg version of DR. Kings dream we are not yet there because of the violence and the unjust thoughout the world. this is telling us that we have alot of work to do because, one the killings in africa the racism in america and all over the world the discrimination, and the hate most of all DR.King dreamt of a world of peace a world where we casn walk the streets no matter where we are and would not look over our backs and worry of a killing or a mugging. my father went to Michigan last week and he did a funeral for an Caucasian lady by the name of Vina Wilbur after the funeral her relative told her son right next to my father: "Rodney, that n----- preacher of yours did a good job, why dont you come back to the house for a picnic just leave that n----- preacher at the hotel." Rodney told him if his pastor could not go he could not go. this man was old as a fart but my point was that we still have racism alive in america and that is what DR.King wanted that is the least of what he wanted if he were alive today he would be sad for all that he went through we still hate others in a racist manner.
A just law is one that is created for the betterment of everyone equally and does not favor anyone. It is based on moral standards, and for the health and safety of the people. An unjust law is one that is created out of bias for a minority, or to favor some and disregard others. For instance, African Americans were once not allowed to go into some businesses, or they had to go into a back door instead. This is racist against them and favors white people. This was an unjust law. I do accept this and agree with it thoroughly. I think laws should be created to benefit everyone in one way or another, and not single anyone out.
Democratically, I think we have achieved Dr. King's goal of a society. Everyone is equal, and has an equal opportunity in life. He would have been incredibly proud to see that we have an African American President today. In fact, I don't even think he would have expected it to happen this soon. Though democratically I think Martin Luther King would have been proud of today, I don't think we are quite there as a society to where he envisioned us to be. There are still people who are racist, and we can never get rid of that. And the entire world has a ways to go as well. Hopefully the U.S. can set an example with the fact that Obama is our President.
Maybe is too late now, but at least i had fun doing this XP
King said that injustice anywhere will have no space for justice anywhere, which I understand and agree with him. Injustice happen at a place with influence another place to become injustice. For example: at this time period, as the economic system going down like a roller coaster, crime rate increase as well. Due to the fact that unemployment rate goes higher, people have no choice but to deal with their situation unjustly. People commit crime in order to stay alive or just to unleash their emotion on other people, who caused them to lose their job, and also some innocent people. Those criminals’ intention is logic and will influence others to create the same trouble. Therefore, I accept his distinction and idea, and I believe that justice can not survive because crimes are happen all the time at any place.
The laws, however is not perfect in any countries, because no matter how strong the laws in a country is there is still flaws to it. Government should use a new fashion of govern system in order to try to prevents crime from happening and catch criminals before they do anything wrong. The government can be able to do so by using the currently advanced technologies, to keep crime rate as low as possible. Thus, injustice will cease from happening and justice will prevails, and give people a more comfortable and safe society. Everyone has the ability to stop injustice from happening, but only if they want to. We can do that by changing our personal behaviors towards people and the community. If we improve ourselves and change ourselves in to loving and kind person, everyone we will feel much better about themselves, and so will we. Thus, if we all try to be nice to people, especially at this time period of economic crisis, injustice will decrease and justice will shine.
I think what King is trying to point out that injustice in its whole essence is evil, no matter what the outcome. Just and unjust laws are interpreted by you, but they are just if they uplift the human life. If they tear it down, it is unjust. I do believe this is the right distinction. If any law tears down human opportunity or essence, it shouldn’t be a law. Laws are to prevent humans from making dumb mistakes, or acting as guidelines to protect us. Laws are necessary because we are capable of both evil and good. I would like to believe that my own behavior is acceptable and moral.
It’s hard to imagine a world without racism, hatred, and a world full of love, peace and nurturing. It is possible though. That is what gives me hope for the future. We all have the capacity to love and care for one another, it’s just a matter of taking the necessary steps for it. If we raise our children to love thy neighbor as you love yourself, then our children and our children’s children will be raised to respect and care for everyone. I was raised to respect others and to try to care for any being. I feel like I’ve done a decent job of it and with the way my parents raised me, I’m going to raise my kids in the same way. We will do it by continuing to educate ourselves in other cultures. The less segregated we are, the more we learn about other cultures and people. That is our way into the future.
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