The Griffin

MLK Day in 2018; a period of necessary reflection

Olivia Summons, Editor-in-chief

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A polarized political climate. Decades post the debut of Martin Luther King Jr Day and people find solace in taking sides instead of fulfillment in unanimity. In Martin Luther King Jr.’s time, the civil rights movement stood for nonviolent activism in the face of federal and state laws.

Yet today, the meaning behind it has been distorted.

Today many associate the black rights movement with a convoluted way for African Americans to seek attention. The difference lies in the movements’ audience. Fighting for equality under the law has been replaced with fighting for equality in the eyes of other Americans. Instead of uniting under our similarities as Americans, we have divided ourselves into categories.

Feminists are deemed too radical to be considered seriously. Conservatives are generalized as white supremacists. Activists are scoffed at as hippies. While millennials are labeled as lazy, taking technology and their rights as United States citizens for granted.

All these labels defeat the warrant behind King’s words. His values embodied courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service. The average American has forgotten, or more accurately, never knew the true meaning of Martin Luther King Day. A leader who not only dreamed of a color-blind society, but who also lead a movement that achieved historic reforms to help make it a reality.

Last year brought us Charlottesville; hate groups marching to a new beat of bigotry. It brought us the vocalization of KKK activism, reinforced by governmental affirmation. It brought us football players kneeling to take a stand; met with instant condemnation and boos over the loss of patriotism.

We owe it to the rising generations to shed the skin of cynicism donned by so many today and remember the true beauty of interracial cooperation. MLK day does not have to be limited to solely African American rights. King’s message stands as a universal applicator to any ethnicity or religion. If our government extended its morality and support to minorities as King did years ago, the youth would finally see a bridge between inspiration and reality.

I hope that 2018 stands as an era of reflection. MLK day should stand as a time of interracial and intercultural cooperation. A time where these categories we have designated ourselves and others to, vanish, and are substituted with a new verge of understanding for minorities’ struggles. I urge older generations to remember when MLK day took effect, when hope prevailed over pessimism and people saw the future as a chance for change. I urge younger generations to not be disheartened by a lack of moral intervention by our government, and not allow their despair to translate into complacency.

 

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