Political Activism in the Face of Injustice
American citizens do have an obligation to be politically active in times of injustice. Injustice in the society is inevitable because not all people are the same. There are those people who want equality for everybody but there are those who only want the best for themselves. This group of people are the ones who will more often than not promote injustice in the society. Injustice always occurs when the law is applying discriminately. For instance, there have been cases of police brutality over the last few years with almost all the victims being black and coloured people in the hands of white police officers. This social injustice should not at any one time be condoned. Martin Luther King Junior fought had in his time for equality to the coloured people. This resulted in him being locked in up a jail in Birmingham from where he wrote a letter responding to his critics and explaining to his point of view as he justified his actions. He stressed st Augustine’s idea that law was only just when it was fair. Mr King did not sit and do nothing about the injustice that he saw in the United States. He even found that African and Asian people were getting quicker access to freedom than the black people in the United States could get lunch served in a cafeteria. According to his letter, discrimination was really deeply rooted in the American society. It is only fair that even today, in the face of injustice of any kind, people fight and speak up demanding their rights as well as justice.
Racism in the United States is far from over. This is despite being so many years after the assassination of Martin Luther King junior. In his letter, he cites a common case of his time. “When you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you.” (Junior)This is an incident that can very well happen today and not come across as a big deal. This is especially bad in states where racism is sky high like Texas. In Texas being black is reason enough to have a white neighbour call the police to arrest the black neighbour. This means that despite Mr King’s efforts in fighting for equality, it is far from being a reality for the blacks. The states where racism is high are also the places where white people are handed light sentences for cases like drug possession, gun violence and murder of black people. This is something than any citizen of sound mind will protest against. Discrimination should not be acceptable when people are losing their lives. Justice should be served equally especially since in the same state, a black can be imprisoned for life for a crime they did not commit. This is a clear sign that even the system has accepted racism as a normal practice. This is why people need to be politically active to condemn injustice.
In the United States, the white supremacists have always been creating the laws in pretext that the laws would serve everyone indiscriminately. This has always been justice pronounced but applied differently. The laws are only applied in instances where they favour the white supremacists. This is an instance that should make people take part in political activity to condemn partial application of the law. Texas is the best case study for the letter written by Martin Luther King Junior from the Birmingham prison. It is a place in the United States that black people have always been treated as second class citizens to the point of being denied their rights by the law. The white legislative members would pass laws in favour of the black people but implement it differently. “The 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.” (Junior)The laws were created and implemented by the whites. Today, the chances of fighting and winning the war against discrimination are higher compared to the time when MR King lived. This is an additional reason for all the American citizens to be politically active and united in fighting against injustice.
Black people have finally managed to have their rights to voting honoured. Today black people are registered voters as opposed to the times of Mr King where politics was a preserve of the white supremacists. “Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered.” (Junior) This is a situation that has since changed much to the disdain of the white people. They do not value the black voice even today, decades after Mr King started the fight for equality. Black people should always exercise their voting rights every time the chance comes up. This includes the black people contesting for seats in the senate and any other representative seats. This will make it easier for them to fight for equality from the centre of power as opposed to street activism. It is evident that racism and injustices that stem from the race issue are far from being eradicated in the society. Meaning that people need to put their voices out there more often to condemn injustice and condemn partial administration of justice where some races appear to be favoured compared to other.
To conclude, Mr King had a point in his letter from Birmingham prison. He saw the need for people to demand justice rather than wait for other people to hand it to them. Today, the narrative is still the same, the marginalised people need to speak up and ask for justice. This is in the cases of police brutality, the war against drug use and trafficking and employment among other issues. In all these areas, the white people are treated differently by the government systems. The law on drugs is harsh on the black offenders while the whit offenders often get light sentences. The American citizen should never take the cases of discrimination lightly because it does not hurt until it happens to someone close to them. Discrimination can break a country’s systems where the justice system will never be trusted to do justice. This is already a truth among the coloured American citizens. They have all the rights to be on the United States but have to contend with being mistreated for their skin colour. Injustice should always make the American citizen politically active to try and fight the unjust systems.
Junior, Martin Luther King. Letter from Birmingham Jail. Birmingham, August 1963. Document.
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