America’s Social Contract is based on the two documents containing freedoms and natural rights all men should have. It reads all men should be equal, but we know that isn’t a valid statement. Throughout history different philosophers further argue with our constitution which has opened and strengthened the truths of our laws in order for it to apply to all citizens. One of the most powerful speeches in our history as far as stretching the constitution to fit to all men was Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech August 28, 1963. Here he demands integration and equality for blacks. In the Declaration of Independence it states that all men are created equal. How ever during this time African Americans weren’t able to go to schools with whites, or even to many public places like the movies, and restaurants.
“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the life of the negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and chains of discrimination…”
proclaimed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August of 1963
To me it was important to see the contrast between what actually was happening after freeing the slaves and what was promised to us as a people. When the Emancipation Proclamation was introduced, it was meant to only take the chains off. It is easy to see that being free on a piece of paper doesn’t actually mean much because what actually ended up happening is more of a diluted and mental form of social and economic slavery . Obviously it had been tolerated far too long and the preamble of our constitution wasn’t meant for people of color in the first place. It always has been a compromise struggle and we always have been lied too by our politicians.
For example when they freed the slaves not only were we to be free but we should have owned a portion of the plantation that we worked on called “Forty acres and a mule” ; but of course this wasn’t really going to happened. That was too radical of a compromise. This promise would have reversed the course of actions of white Americans caught up in the “Manifest Destiny” of acquiring land for themselves from the Atlantic to the Pacific with no regard for the colored people who stood in their way through their own legitimate claim to that same land.
The people of European descent really did a number on African blood. Not just in the U.S. but everywhere the two cultures had to clash. Now we want what the white man has instead of wanting what we have within ourselves. This is the same for black women; we want what the white women have in terms of hair texture and beauty. My race has been lied to that they are not smart and they are not beautiful. Sadly it has been such a repetitive form of racism and down talk towards my race that it still is even very hard for people to know when they are saying something racist.
In today’s time there have been many times where people say derogatory terms that can be offensive towards another race but don’t realize the chauvinist background it has. People say things anyway as a joke or playful remark and unintentionally upset another person. This is why racism still happens in todays present time. The confusion of the severity of what is being said out of a persons mouth is too blasé.
In this quote that I chose, I found that M.L.K. was saying to America that it was time to live by the truths of our constitution. He was saying that the morals that are scripted in our constitution and laws should apply to all kinds; in relevance to African Americans at the time. He wanted us to live in a world with respect and live where we could get along peacefully without unfair treatment. This message won’t get across in full understanding though, because it would have to start with the American people itself, in agreement to learn to accept racial differences as a whole. No amount of documented laws and amendments could ever come to part with what people actually believe is right or whether they decide to treat other people equally. Although we have made a lot of progress over the amount of time since his speech we still have something in America to work on.
I wonder what Martin Luther King would say in present time if he were still alive; in advising the current issues we face as a race?