This post was edited by JFenix at 2012-1-13 19:59|
This week we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and his monumental effect on civility, equality and peace in America. From a time devoid of social justice, King stood out and continues to stand out as a pillar of progress in America. But can King's dream truly be realized? The Life in Perspective teen board considered King's efforts to challenge the status quo and our own generation's efforts toward equality.
-- Aaron DeVera, Foothill High School (Pleasanton)
I have always believed Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream could become reality, especially in California. Of all the states, we have one of most diverse, accepting and welcoming atmospheres. Not only can we openly be friends with and form relationships with people of ethnicities other than our own, but we can experience their culture and lifestyle as well. For example, in a major shopping mall's food court it wouldn't be unusual to have a choice of Thai, Italian or Mexican food -- all in one convenient place. While it may not be something we often dwell on, having that many options at your disposal wasn't always the case. Nor was a white person sharing the water fountain or bathroom with "colored" folk. Now, white people can be classmates, co-workers and friends with people of any ethnicity or cultural background. Our generation is living proof that King's dream would one day become reality. We are living his dream now, and just as he said,"little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."
-- Gino Mascardo, De La Salle High School (Concord)
Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream will become reality when race isn't what's used to think of people as different. His dream was that everyone would be equal, and no one would be thought of as different. That won't happen until race isn't a big issue. If we apply for something like a job or scholarship, it asks for racial background. Why should that matter at all? I think that progress has been happening very slowly. However, there is still racism in my community. Where I'm from, most racism is directed toward Latinos. People say they don't belong because they're not from here, and assume that they don't know English because they also speak Spanish. Also, I know people who voted for President Barack Obama just because he was black, not because of what he stood for. King's dream will not become reality until everyone is considered equal to one another.
-- Assia Day, Mount Eden High School (Hayward)
Martin Luther King Jr. once had a dream. That dream, forever ingrained in every American's mind, already has become a reality and is only becoming more real as time goes on. Infringement of the 14th Amendment results in strict scrutiny in the courtroom, proving how seriously the U.S. government considers racial equality to be. Governmental policy has lived out King's dream, setting the trend for Americans in their own lives. It would be easy to say that our country does not treat all people equally, especially after the Sept. 11 attacks and the influx of illegal immigrants. However, socially, our country is considerably more conscientious, understanding and respectful of all people now than it was in King's day. Never before in history have people been judged by the content of their character more than by the color of their skin. Our own president is living proof. Our society is much more blind to factors such as race and gender than it was only decades ago. Today, individuals have the freedom to get to where they want to be based on their own merit, as made especially visible in the workplace and the classroom. We are living King's dream and will continue to do so. "We are free at last."
-- Stephanie Steinbrecher, Carondelet High School (Concord)
It's easy to say that Martin Luther King Jr. was a man with dreams too big to dream and goals too high to reach. It's easy to say that his dream will never become reality because segregation will always exist, no matter where you go, no matter how far you go. But when I look around my third period French class, this is not the case at all. I am able to sit next to an African-American girl and a Scottish boy, and there is nothing that interferes with the friendship the three of us share. We are blind to the colors of our skin, but we are open to the thoughts and dreams we each hold. Together, we learn a language different from our native tongues.
King dreamed a dream of equality, and fought peacefully to see the reverie achieved. More than four decades later, racism still lurks in our cities and towns, but only because we believe equality is impossible. But now it is time for us to make King's sweet dream an even sweeter reality with his blueprint for addressing racism in a nonviolent way. King's dream will become reality, one day. You just wait.
-- Kelsey Wong, Irvington High School (Fremont)
Dr. King dreamed of a peaceful world where all people are loved and accepted; it's easy to see we aren't there yet. Some may argue that the civil rights movement ended in the 1980s, but they're wrong. It's happening now. Just the other day, I read an article about math problems in Georgia that revolved around slaves. Additionally, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community still hasn't been accepted by a large portion of our society. The controversy surrounding Proposition 8 continues to divide our state. This is our time to make a difference. The next steps we take will be challenging but well worth it. Small steps -- such as establishing safer communities, educating ourselves on other's point of view or even exposing young children to diversity -- will make a difference in our communities and, in turn, our country. Already we're making strides toward more equality. Most of all, by spreading King's message of peace, love and acceptance we can make a difference, and we will.
-- Brenda McIntire, Las Lomas High School (Walnut Creek)
The goal or idea for this world to eliminate discrimination is in an even larger scope than world peace. Both require all people to settle their differences over histories of oppression, eliminate territorial disputes, find one single ideology in terms of lifestyle and beliefs, establish no difference between themselves and others and, most importantly, be happy with their own lives. Essentially, every aspect of a utopian society would have to be fulfilled on a global scale in order to end discrimination. The oddity of it all is that the end of discrimination isn't used as much in hyperbola as world peace. Strides can be made (and have been made) toward lessening prejudice in overt and covert forms, but it would take a massive shift in the modern world to achieve the full scope of Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream.
-- Daniel Wetherell, Athenian School (Danville)