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Defense of Civil Rights in “Letter From Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King

Introduction

Justice is a principle according to which people receive what they deserve. In ethics, as well as in legal and political philosophy, justice occupies a central position. The government, as well as society, are tasked to achieve this concept to the greatest extent possible. As the foundation of an orderly society, justice requires regulating selfish behaviors of citizens in a manner that leads to fair distribution, equal treatment of every citizen, and proportionate rewards and punishments. However, justice has not always been served, and representatives of minorities have been oppressed for hundreds of years. According to Martin Luther King, using direct action to combat unfair laws, as opposed to passively expecting to get a fair ruling, is a part of the moral responsibility of every oppressed person.

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Just and Unjust Laws

As an activist challenging an entrenched social system, Martin Luther King talked about issues of justice and politics. Discrimination is the root of the eternal problems which cause much pain and make people face injustice every day. According to King, a person is responsible for following the laws and justice in society. However, the laws can be both just and unjust, which raises the problem of awareness. According to King, a just law is “a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God”; unjust law is “a code that is out of harmony with the moral law” (King Jr, 1968, para. 13). Therefore, while just laws concentrate on fairness and what is right, unjust laws are not aimed at building justice but rather wreaking havoc and not complying with ethics.

However, in order to create a society in which justice will be of most significant importance, nonviolent actions are required. Such actions could immensely help minorities confront the society and imperfect system and force the latter to take action to eliminate the problems. Thus, a person has the full right not to comply with unjust laws that are not consistent with the rules of morality.

There is No Time for Waiting

Nevertheless, Martin Luther King asserts that there is no time for waiting, and people must act now to see the results and fight for the justice they deserve. Representatives of minority groups have experienced the feeling of oppression and inequality for the longest time, and there will be no better time to start than now. Oppressed people need to come to the realization that “justice too long delayed is justice denied” (King Jr, 1968, para. 11). African-American people had to endure all the pain and humiliation and hear the word “Wait!” for hundreds of years. However, their voices will be unheard without any effort, and innocent people will be punished based on unjust laws.

In a case when oppressors continue with their horrid actions, words, and humiliation, and representatives of minorities fail to make efforts, changes will never happen. The most outrageous part of this situation is not the oppression but the acceptance of fate and refusal to fight for fundamental human rights. Acceptance of such fate and tolerance of heinous crimes done against them is impermissible. This generation will have to fight for what is right and refuse to be content with the conditions to which they were forced to adapt.

Oppression

What people have to understand is that nothing is ever given to someone if the desired thing is asked for in silence. If before men accepted their fate and took agony as it came, now men have to stand up for their beliefs. According to King, people know through experience that “freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor”; they need to demand it (King Jr, 1968, para. 11). As long as minority representatives are not afraid to stand up for themselves, their freedom and justice oppressors will be defeated. People are power, and with this power, there is a chance to receive what has long belonged to every person: dignity, independence, and fairness.

In a world where oppression thrives, there will always be those who bear the burden and those who stay strong and join the battle for their future and the future of their children. The feeling of discrimination and immorality of actions of oppressors should be the driving force of every suffering person. Only in a situation like this the desired outcome is guaranteed. These brave actions might serve as an example for future generations who will fight for their dream.

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Hence, society must strive to achieve justice to the greatest extent possible and fight for people’s fundamental rights. Letter from Birmingham jail, written by Martin Luther King, is a convincing defense of Civil Rights ideas, tactics, and goals for people who have been oppressed for three hundred years. The responsibility of every oppressed person is to stand up for their beliefs, freedom, and justice. Minorities do not have to reconcile with the unjust laws which are intended to discriminate and punish those who need help the most. People need to join the battle and demand what they deserve; otherwise, the oppressors will not grant justice voluntarily. There will be no perfect timing, and therefore people need to rise without consideration and endure the battle.

Reference

King Jr, M. L. (n.d.). Letter from a Birmingham Jail. AfricaUpenn. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, October 22). Defense of Civil Rights in “Letter From Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King. https://studycorgi.com/defense-of-civil-rights-in-letter-from-birmingham-jail-by-martin-luther-king/

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StudyCorgi. "Defense of Civil Rights in “Letter From Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King." October 22, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/defense-of-civil-rights-in-letter-from-birmingham-jail-by-martin-luther-king/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Defense of Civil Rights in “Letter From Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King." October 22, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/defense-of-civil-rights-in-letter-from-birmingham-jail-by-martin-luther-king/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Defense of Civil Rights in “Letter From Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King'. 22 October.

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