Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Injustice through the eyes of a King

Martin Luther King Jr. was an inspirational man and transcendent writer. What I mean is that there is true voice and lucid diction throughout “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Not only does he get his point of justice and injustice across, he illuminates vividly what segregation feels and looks like.  Scattered strategically all over the place are quotable gems.  One gleaming stone that stuck out momentously is, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (Letter from a Birmingham Jail). This I infer connotes the poison and malice of injustice tainting the purity of equality, balance, and brotherhood.  Injustice or unjust institutions, the USA before the late 1960’s, promotes inequality and misunderstanding. When King vibrantly connects his situation to Socrates’ he elicits a pivotal point of being an instigator or steward for peace.  King wrote, “must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood” (King). This translates directly to King’s overall message of injustice; if it’s anywhere then it cannot be tolerated or ignored rather it should be cut into. King states, “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” (King).  That reminds me of the plague, the image of boils implies festering or an eventual worsening (unless treated properly). Injustice, similarly, cannot be overcome unless the right surgical instruments are used or justice is had.  Justice usually goes hand in hand with law, King cites St. Augustine; “an unjust law is no law at all.”  Dr. King integrates Augustine’s point to non-violent protest and positive peace, by supplanting injustice with vigor.  A definition for an unjust law is “any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality” (King).  The bewilderment of the soul and alienation of personality compose the injustice King was fighting; victory is when the entirety of the U.S., including the south, accepts the duty of justice and privilege of understanding to ultimately unify or create a brotherhood.

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