Sunday, January 20, 2008

MLK and the art of being a human.

I don't feel like I have much to blog about this week. I'm very much in a stage of limbo in the interim time before moving. I sold my drums, have an actual date to go down to California to look at apartments, and am really broke. I feel acutely aware of which friendships I want to maintain and have been trying to spend time with those that I have an existing relationship with. Because of this state of transition, I've been especially fragile and prone to emotional outburst...

One example is a movie a saw last weekend, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I loved the film and you can read a review of it here: I have to say though, I began crying probably 30 minutes into the film, and did not stop until way after it ended. (I had a moment during the credits where I tried to gain my composure, wipe off all of the mascara, take some breaths...all to no avail...I began tearing up again on the escalator out of the theater). I know partially it hit home because of an accident that my dad had a year and a half ago, and honestly Diving Bell is a film that could make even the most stable person lose it..but also I think I'm just in a place where I've been preoccupied with the trajectory of my life, my plans, my relationships, my mortality (a little dramatic, I know). I was shaky for quite a while, but highly recommend this film even though I personally will not be able to watch it for some time.

I feel as though I should write something regarding MLK in honor of this Monday, but in some ways King is so iconic, his words so well known, his message still something to strive for that it seems unnecessary for me to add anything to the discourse. It's not surprising at all that presidential candidate Barack Obama would choose to align his fight for the White House with King's fight for civil justice. In some ways Obama embodies King's dream and vision for America. I think he was a great man, who has been obviously mythologized for good reason. I just hope that America's familiarity with him doesn't continue a complacency towards the racial inequality still present in our society. That being said, I still can't the words of the man himself:

"It is one thing to agree that the goal of integration is morally and legally right; it is another thing to commit oneself positively and actively to the ideal of integration- the former is intellectual assent, the latter is actual belief. These are days that demand practices to match professions. This is no day to pay lip service to integration, we must pay life service to it."

"When millions of people have been cheated for centuries, restitution is a costly process. Inferior education, poor housing, unemployment, inadequate health care- each is a bitter component of the oppression that has been our heritage. Each will require billions of dollars to correct. Justice so long deferred has accumulated interest and its cost for this society will be substantial in financial as well as human terms. This fact has not been fully grasped, because most of the gains of the past decade were obtained at bargain rates. The desegregation of public facilities cost nothing; neither did the election and appointment of a few black officials."

"I think the greatest victory of this period was...something internal. The real victory was what this period did to the psyche of the black man. The greatness of this period was that we armed ourselves with dignity and self-respect. The greatness of this period was that we straightened our backs up. And a man can't ride your back unless it's bent."

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