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SEU Kings Letter from Birmingham Jail Discussion

SEU Kings Letter from Birmingham Jail Discussion


Read/View Letters from a Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and answer the following questions as well as engage with your colleagues by responding to at least 2 posts.

What does he say is the difference between just and unjust laws?

What does he also say about the difference between law and morality?

Do you agree with his reasoning?

Do you see any downside to making these sorts of distinctions?

Lastly King writes, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute understanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” What does he mean by this? Do you agree with this statement? Explain.

Explain your views. Write 350 words

I will provide the two posts you need to reply to once you complete the initial post:

Response 1

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Letter from Birmingham jail and the Afrocentric Perspective.

While listening to this audio of Dr. King I heard many of the Afrocentric perspectives in all the things he spoke about. Starting with the Humanistic value, he explains how freedom and non-segregation will eliminate the oppression and enhancing human potential. He stated that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice effect on everywhere. Dr. King stated that we are tied in a single garment and Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. This also ties in with valuing human values over all values. The fact that he is writing this letter from jail represents the action of autonomy. He stated he was willing to sacrifice for the cause. He relates civil disobedience to events and people in the bible as well as other oppressed people in connection with Spiritual balance with a collect view of self.

What does Dr. MLK say the differences between Just & Unjust Laws?

In the letter Dr. King Mentions that Just laws are man-made codes that square with the moral law or/and the law of God. While unjust laws are codes that are out of harmony. He stated that any law that degrades human personality is unjust. He states the importance of law and order is to establish justice.

What does Dr. King say about the difference between law and morality?

Dr. King stated that it is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law or natural law. He mentions that segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality, he mentioned how sin is separation and segregation of any kind is morally wrong and sinful. I agree with most of what Dr King mentions in his letter and unfortunately, we are still fighting for equality today. His best distinction that I whole heartily agree with is when he states the one who breaks unjust law must do so openly, lovingly and with the willingness to accept the penalty.

Do I agree with Dr. Kings reasoning, and do I see any downside to making these sorts of distinctions?

When speaking on the distinctions and rather or not I agree I would refer to the universalistic and particularistic. How he uses the example of the robbery being blamed because he has too much stuff in connection with the Afrocentric value listed above, he also states protect the one who was robbed and punish the robber. He focused on not only African American but other cultures and people who had to fight oppression.

In the statement “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating the absolute understanding from people of ill will, Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

As previously injustice anywhere is a threat to justice effect on everywhere I believe he is speaking on taking a stance on immorality or racial injustice and those who see what is going on rather if it is affecting them or those around them but do nothing is just as offensive as the ones committing the act. I think he meant that just feeling sympathy with no action was meaningless and frustrating

Response 2

In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letters from a Birmingham Jail he talks about the consistent plights of African Americans in the U.S. during this time. He speaks on the frustrations of the rights of Black people never being “timely” enough for white America and how no matter how they approach these conversations, it is never good enough. It is interesting to see this has not changed in America today, it is just given a different language. Black people are now told they should be grateful for the progress that has been made, grateful for what they have and grateful for the performative allyship that is dropped in our faces at every turn. It is not necessarily a case of who has had it worse, but racism just morphing and evolving with time.

Dr. King discusses just law as man made code that is in tune with morality, or the law of God. These are laws that serve the people, uplift humanity and are not used to continue to push prejudices. On the backend, unjust law is rooted in eternal/natural law. As stated in his letter, unjust law is seen as no law at all, as it degrades human personality. The morality of laws was how Dr. King decided which laws were to be obeyed and which could be broken. The difference in them both was also important to deciding this. Not every law put into place was morally right, as many unjust laws were still upheld. Dr. King described his disappointment in the churches’ notion of “some social issues having nothing to do with the gospel”. Religious leaders unfortunately used this as a way to uphold racist standards.

I agree with the concepts of unjust and just law, and I feel as thought those distinctions are important to make. So often Eurocentric America gets caught in trying to preserve themselves rather than preserve people as a whole, and I think it is extremely important to advocate for the wellbeing of all rather than the dominant groups. That is why I agree with Dr. King’s statement about shallow understandings of good will being more frustrating than absolute of ill will. In my interpretation, it is important to have fully educated and dedicated people fighting for our rights, as we know our oppressors will have every tool necessary to continue to oppress. We should not half commit to liberation, as we know there will always be 100% action behind the attempts at keeping us down 

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