Stating the Affirmative
After a discussion on Dr. Martin Luther King’s A Letter from the Birmingham Jail, I thought it quite interesting how many people thought Martin Luther King would not support affirmative action. They argued that he was for just laws which did not discriminate against individuals based on race and therefore would be against the “reverse discrimination” and tension that affirmative causes. In actuality, Martin Luther King Jr. has never feared tension,
“…Create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestc heights of understanding and brotherhood…”
and instead encourages civil disobedience when laws or in the case of affirmative action, education is unjust. MLK stood for equality, both equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. In the case of affirmative action it is generally seen only under the scope of equality of outcome but it really represents opportunity. Even more than fifty years after the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education and the overturning of Plessy v. Ferguson, public schools in Americaare still separate and unequal. The majority of underfunded public schools are made up of students of color. Those students are educationally oppressed and then given the “opportunity” to compete with students who have never been educationally oppressed. This is a false opportunity for those students. Yes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would want us to be able to get to the point where we can only base admissions on merit but until public education is equal, affirmative action must be the equalizer.