Not Everyone Can Be Martin Luther King Jr

A few years ago, during my freshman year in the African American literature course, Beth was showing a video and before she showed the video implored us as people not to take what was shown in the video and use them to harm someone else. I think her exact words were “ People show remarkable ingenuity in finding ways to hurt one another.” Those words struck me right in the gut, because they rang true. The scale of human destruction & ability to cause others pain always seems to be expanding. It seems inevitable.

My problem with the AP article we had to read is not easy for me to have because it is no fault of the author in the story they are tying to convey. Once again, it is the people who are problematic. It feels as if the “native residents” in the article are saying “The immigrants here have been useful, they have helped to improve my life. I agree with Trump though, any more of these people and they will become detrimental to my lifestyle. So I do not want anymore of them to come here.” Now there is some added complexities to these views, where one of the people interviewed suggests having doubts as to whether or not their views are morally right. This reflects the fact that we, as human beings, are not allowed to be simple, we are inherently complex organisms.

In any case, my main concern was for Mohamed Ibrahim & the weight he has been forced to carry, in order to attempt to make others comfortable. It isn’t fair. Too often I feel that the responsibility of humility, empathy, and optimism lies on the shoulders of those harmed, as opposed to those whose beliefs do the harming. I think that there is a trope prevalent in stories where those who are oppressed are expected to be kind, strong, & understanding in situations where they face their oppressors or their situation. My point, I think, is that this expectation is damaging to the way the oppressed or harmed are allowed to express or manage their pain. In alluding to Toni Morrison, they are like artists who are only allowed to use one color, they are never allowed to become dangerous. There is rarely a chance to expel this built up libido in anger. Let people in oppressive situations be angry, let them experience their pain in whatever way they need to. & always be thankful for the people like Ibrahim, who don’t falter in their empathy for the human condition despite their own circumstances. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.