How “Letter from Birmingham Jail” addresses the issue of racism more effectively than “A More Perfect Union” Racism is an important issue that should not be ignored during any time period and can affect any race. It still plays a role in society today but it is not seen as a main issue. Martin Luther King Junior and President Barack Obama are two individuals that both had a passion to liberate the black community from the discrimination that they were subjected to for many years. In Martin Luther King Junior’s letter, “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, he discusses why racism is a problem and how he is going to take action to stop it. Then in, Obama’s speech, “A More Perfect Union”, Obama briefly focuses on racism but then moves towards other issues that the nation faces. Although King and Obama focus on racism and its effects on individuals and society as a whole I believe that King more fully addresses the issue because he seems to be more passionate about the problem with racism. He speaks on the issue of racism freely even though the people in his community do not agree with his beliefs. Obama briefly focuses on racism but he steers away from that important issue and focuses on his plan to make a better America by fixing class, economic and inequality because he believes that it is no longer a major problem. In King’s letter he shows that he believes that racism/segregation is a major problem and he discuss the action he is going to take action to stop it. Segregation was something that hurt all types of blacks; old black women and men, young black girls and boys. They felt humiliated when they saw signs reading ‘“white’ and ‘colored”’ (345). King states that fathers did not know what to say when they were asked questions by their kids. One question fathers were asked is “‘Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?’” (345). Fathers were unable to answer their child because they did not want them to know about segregation. I believe they felt it was hard to talk about something like segregation to their child at a young age. King expresses about the way fathers feel when their kids ask questions because he wanted to show how parents feel. The form of action King decided to take is direct action; he took it after Albert Boutwell was elected the new major of Birmingham. He believed direct action was the only way to get a change. He states, “The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation” (343). Direct action is a nonviolent action that creates tension to something that cannot be ignored and that should be negotiated. Direct action was used to stop discrimination and to get equality. He speak about using direct action because he feel that is the only way he can get his point across without violence. King’s actions show that he wants to put a complete stop to racism because it plays a negative role in the black community.
Similar to King, Obama also identify racism as an issue in society. According to Obama, “the disparities that exist in the African American community today [are because of the] inequalities passed on from an earlier generation” (359). This quotes tells that most of the problems that are going on today are because of earlier generation. The problems are passed down from earlier generation because the African American community cannot forget what happened to them and they believe like that they must talk about it order to help the next generation become aware. This reveals that Obama believes that racism of the past is still found in the present. Obama asserts that, “‘The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past’”(359). When Obama states this he is saying that what ever happened in the past is still apart of the future. He believes it happened in the past but because it happend in the past does not mean we should recite it. Since it happened in the past we should try to leave it in the past...
Cited: King Jr., Martin Luther. “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Fields of Reading: Motives for Writing. 10th ed. Ed. Nancy R Comley, et.al. Boston: Bedford /St. Martin’s, 2013. 355-65. Print.
Obama, Barack. “A More Perfect Union.” Fields of Reading: Motives for Writing. 10th ed. Ed. Nancy R Comley, et.al. Boston: Bedford /St. Martin’s, 2013. 341-53. Print.
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