“Why We Can’t Wait” a Historical Document by Martin Luther King Jr. Report (Assessment)
Many of the exceptional leaders in the past have spent some time in detention centers due to their aspiration to transform the society. King is one of these leaders, who wrote an essay talking about the injustices in the society while addressing the church (Armstrong and Fahey 113). In his essay, King states that he received an invitation to Birmingham.
The existing governmental ties and the presence of discrimination resulted in his imprisonment (Schumaker 343). There is an association between communities since King deduced that what affects one community will affect the other. He discussed two types of laws and gave reference to several past figures to support his measures.
King led many passive protests to prove that lack of integration went against societal impartiality and the spiritual practices of Americans (Charters 24). Birmingham was arguably the most isolated regions in the United States. King differentiates fair and unfair laws by explaining that a fair law is in harmony with existing ethical or saintly laws (Mayfield 359). Any convention that is out of synchronization with the expected and ethical law is known as unjust law (Charters 30). Laws which validate segregation and demean human self-esteem are regarded as unreasonable.
An unjust is forced on people with less say and opinions by the empowered personalities in the society; however such laws are not followed by the latter group (Starzl 231). A just law will be followed by both the majority and the marginal (Armstrong and Fahey 113).
Those laws, which are enacted, yet the marginal are denied the right to vote for or against them, are regarded as unfair laws. There are some laws which could be understood as fair and unfair upon relation to their formulation and application. This convinced King to go against some of the laws (Charters 31).
King associated his behavior to those of biblical times when disciples traveled abroad to spread the gospel. He could not watch human privileges being violated in Birmingham (Charters 24). He referred to Socrates when he addressed productive tension which aids development.
Socrates felt that creating anxiety in the brain is necessary to prevent people from being blinded by tradition, and think more creatively and critically analyze issues challenging the society. Creating tension which does not involve hostility enables human beings to embrace brotherhood and fight ethnic isolation (Charters 27).
Segregation creates a feeling of inadequacy on those who are being discriminated against by affecting their personality negatively. Martin Buber stated that segregation degraded an individual to a simple object. King concludes from the Greek philosopher’s reaction that the vice is dishonest communally and politically (Charters 30). Paul Tilch related sin to division stating that segregation expressed the unpleasant drifting apart of humans.
The principles of an individual may lead to a counter-reaction against an unfair law (Lawler & Schaefer 265). The willingness to face responsibility for one’s action, according to King, is in actual sense valuing the law. King refers to the social defiance expressed on Nebuchadnezzar based on the faith of a higher ethical law by Christians (King 72).
Intellectual autonomy is seen as an actuality today because of the civil defiance of Socrates. King confirms that were he alive during Hitler’s reign in Germany, he would have gone against the law by reassuring and aiding the Jews (Charters 31).
This essay indicates the heroism and principles of king which defied ethnic separation in America. It analyses the state of discrimination which was previously experienced while promoting peaceful demonstrations (Gottlieb 177). The essay which was written by King while in jail has influenced the lives of many Americans and is considered a milestone in American writing (Flora, MacKethan & Taylor 430).
Armstrong, Richard. & Fahey, Joseph. A peace reader: essential readings on war, justice, non-violence, and world order. New Jersey: Paulist press, 2002 112-113.
Charters, Ann. The portable sixties reader. New York: Penguin classics, 2003 22-30.
Flora, Joseph. MacKethan, Lucinda. & Taylor, Todd. The companion to southern literature: theme, genres, places, people movements, and motifs. Louisiana: LSU press, 2002 430.
Gottlieb, Roger. Liberating faith: religious voices for justice, peace, and ecological wisdom. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003 177.
King Martin, Luther (Jr). Why we can’t wait. New York: Signet Classic, 2000 72.
Lawler, Augustine. & Schaefer, Robert. American political rhetoric. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005. 265.
Mayfield, Marlys. Thinking for yourself. Ohio: Cengage learning, 2009 358-359.
Schumaker, Paul. The political theory reader. Oxford: John Wiley and sons, 2009 343.
Starzl, Thomas. The puzzle people: memoirs of a transplant surgeon. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh press, 2003 231.
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