Every person living on earth has a right to justice. This is a God-given right that cannot be robbed of individuals. God created every person with the power to discern good from evil and truth from error thus all human beings were created equal with the power to do what is just. God did not create some individuals with more inclination to error-or wrong doing than the other. Everyone has a right to live free of racial discrimination, humiliation due to some social class or religion. It is true rather that there are laws that govern a particular society, yes- but any law that is not in harmony with the divine natural moral laws of God are considered unjust, and that everyone is at liberty of opposing such laws to the maximum. However, there are laws which govern a society which are harmonious with the moral laws and thus should be jealously kept by all. The unjust laws in society will ultimately result in discrimination of other individuals who are considered less important in a society.
Martin Luther, in his letter from Birmingham, 1963, tries to address issues of injustices imposed on the Negros community by the whites. This may sound racial discrimination-yes it is! But the letter addresses more issues than just that. There is a lot which can be learned from the letter than the primary message in it. Martin Luther addressed major issues relating to justice violation which we will look into some. It is very true that injustice or acts of injustices have been witnessed in the human world, human beings imposing unjust practices to their fellow human beings! What a cruel heart! Before looking into our contemporary society, we can go into the history and check the record of similar injustices and relate with what Luther Jnr. Is advocating for. For instance, in the dark ages, many Christians lost their lives the in the bloodshed reign of the Roman Empire, such people were denied their freedom of worship, and thus justice was denied! This could not be directly affecting our society now, but to some extent, individuals are oppressed in this line indirectly. It is a high time that individuals should rise like Martin Luther King to fight for freedom from unjust and oppressed laws, to fight for freedom for the oppressed less fortunate individuals in the society.
In this letter, there are some injustices which affected the people living during the time of the writer, Luther but still affects us even to date. One of the major forthcoming unjust or evil acts as addressed in the letter which still affects us even today is the evil act of segregation. In the letter the writer labors in identifying and rebuking this act from the known perspective of racial segregation! In their times the “colored” people, the Negros were abused by their white counterparts in almost every sector. They were separated from the whites, and they were not even allowed to take part in the activities of the whites. He gives a story of a five-year-old boy asking the dad why the hatred to the Negros by the whites, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?” this was a question that disturbed even the young boy.
The evil act of segregation is not only applying to racial injustices but many more in our contemporary society. There could be some reasons why this evil act has sprung up in our societies or why it is witnessed. This could depend on the society bust most often; segregation is majorly caused by pride. This could be the primary cause. People becoming proud of their status, a social class that they would not feel comfortable associating with other individuals from low social class. A part of racial segregation, which probably is caused by one’s color, pride could be the major source of general segregation. Segregation is primarily is an act of separating things into two different groups-for our case individuals into different classes.
There is a remarkable effect of this act on individuals as well as to the society at large. Though the people are committing the act, may not be in a position to experience the negative impacts it brings, a number of the affected individuals can testify to what extent they are usually affected. Fist, this act may lead to low self-esteem am the affected individuals. It is very true that in the contemporary society there are specific places or services that one cannot obtain unless he is of a certain class. This social segregation has greatly led to individuals losing self-esteem, others even taking an extra step to committing suicide. This majorly occurs in social relationships an individual is denied access to the person he loves, the person he would like to be with in life, just due to a social barrier. Many cases in our society have been reported of the same, men and women committing suicide due to this reason. It is, therefore, an important matter which should be addressed. Not only is this problem experienced in the social life, but even in the job market! Many times people from low social classes having equal academic papers as their “able” counterparts are denied their rightful jobs at the expense of their social class. The word, “Wait” has constantly been heard by them whichever office they visit while their “able” friends are sorted at their request. Painful! Should there be no immediate remedy to this problem, our societies will be corrupted, and the level of crime and self-discrimination will be on the increase.
Some examples have been witnessed on the issue of segregation in our society. A good example is religious segregation. This has become very rampant in the United States, especially after the 9/11 terrorist event. Immediately after this event, the Muslim community has been looked down upon by many of the American Citizens. There has been a lot of discrimination and segregation to these Muslim Americans. In job market applications it is recorded that these Muslim Americans are considered last and are the first group to be fired when the contract seams to expire. The discrimination is much intense that even the Muslim individuals when seen are thought to be terrorists. Freedom of worship is a right to every individual, and this forms part of United States. It quite ironical that a nation that begun like a lamb, innocent in all her ways, with the main objective of freedom to worship, would later speak like a dragon! In what way? Simply by suppressing the freedom of worship- not by physical resistance but a cold resistance. The Muslim are not allowed to access many governmental benefits.
It would be an injustice to discuss injustice of segregation without mentioning racial segregation. Though it may not be part of this essay, it is a crime addressed in the letter that directly affects us in our contemporary society. In the letter, Dr. King tries to address this issue of racial segregation, in that the Negros family are despised and looked down upon by the whites. In the letter, Dr. King says that in their time most of the Negros were not allowed to participate in voting, a crime that was not in harmony with the laws of the land. They were as well the citizens of United States and had the full right to exercise their freedom of voting, but this was not the case! Luther advocated for freedom on this matter, that the Negros, being citizens of the United States could as well be allowed to exercise their freedom. There are though some instances of injustices which affects our contemporary society as addressed in this letter though we cannot exhaust all of them
Dr. Martin Luther King in his letter and even in his lifetime struggled to employ some methods in addressing these injustices in his time. These techniques, however, as suggested by Dr. King can be directly applied in our time for a better solution. Luther suggests that we can use “direct action” to solve this issue. At some points, he suggests that many people would prefer negotiation. However, he suggests that direct action does not cancel the concept of negotiation. A negotiation which is the best method is a fruit of direct action. Other methods would include self-purification.
In our contemporary society, there can be some methods to advocate for the justice from oppressors. We can use direct action, where we employ demonstration also known as a mass demonstration to a lot of unjust laws imposed on people by the government or sect of people. This method has proved very much successful in advocating for justice especially from a government. This is the best solution to unjust laws and practices since it would prompt negotiation. In the letter, Dr. King states, “You deplore demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.” According to Luther, a demonstration was the perfect method of which their cries could be heard!
In conclusion, the crime of segregation is a sin of no less magnitude before men or even before God. It is a crime that has affected many individuals and the society at large. Dr. Luther has labored in his letter to advocate for justice equality and equal treatment of every individual. It is, therefore, necessary to respect one another’s right as it affects both individuals and the society. Justice is the key to success of every society as it promotes harmonious stay and operation of a society.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr, 16 April 1963 (“Letter from a Birmingham jail.”)