Martin Luther King Day Mashup


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I couldn’t choose what to post in commemoration of Martin Luther King Day, so I thought I’d do a mashup:

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mash-up

[mash-uhp]
noun
Slang. a creative combination or mixing of content from different sources

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First, I’d like to share a Time Magazine article by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar titled, “Why I Have Mixed Feelings About MLK Day.”

Here are a few excerpts I found particularly interesting:

  • …we have to look at the civil rights movement like antibiotics: Just because some of the symptoms of racism are clearing up, you don’t stop taking the medicine or the malady returns even stronger than before.
  • One of the major debates this year has been whether or not racism exists anymore in America. Not surprisingly, polls indicate that most African Americans say yes it does exist while most white Americans say that it doesn’t. Blacks point to disproportionate prosecution and persecution of blacks by authorities, and whites point to President Obama and dozens of laws protecting and promoting minorities.
  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Dr. Martin Luther King
  • He [Dr. King] would have also been disturbed by the violence and rioting that has occurred during these protests. We must remember that Dr. King’s cause was not just equality for all people, but achieving that equality through nonviolence. The ends do not justify the means; the means and the ends are the same. Violence insults his legacy.

I’ve posted several essays about my thoughts on prejudice/racism. Our differences and how we do or don’t communicate with each other about it, is the source of much of my writing, including the friendship between Sachi and Jubie in The Red Kimono, its sequel and two upcoming children’s books.

Here are some links to a few of those posts:

The Color of a Voice

Changing Colors

The Help: A Multicultural Perspective

Black and White Points of View

Prejudice vs. Racism

Sometimes I wonder if I’m too idealistic when I believe the solution to prejudice, racism, or cultural differences lies in open, respectful communication with each other. On the “giving end,” such communication requires that we be unafraid to ask questions or express our opinions. On the “receiving end,” it requires that we not be so ultra-sensitive.

Some people may say resolving the problem is not that easy, but truly, the kind of communication needed to continue to move in the direction Dr. King wanted us to move would not be so easy.

Finally, I thought I’d offer a little teaser to the sequel to The Red Kimono. The sequel takes place between 1957 and 1963. Sachi, Nobu and Terrence are now in their 20s. For those of you familiar with The Red Kimono, the point of view characters in the sequel are Sachi, Nobu, Jubie and Taro.

mlk3The story opens with a prologue. Here’s an excerpt from that prologue:

Prologue
Washington D.C.
August 28, 1963

The sun beat down on Sachi, and the heat of thousands of marchers pressed against her. Yet goose bumps sent chills along her arms and neck.

Each person in the crowd had drifted to this place on a separate tributary. Now, they flowed together in a current of humanity that meandered along the Washington Mall, pressing toward the Lincoln Memorial.

They sang in one voice. We shall overcome . . .

Sachi’s son, Michael, sidled between Jubie and Terrence, clutched their hands as he jumped up and down. Sachi wondered if it was because he couldn’t see, or if it was pure excitement—probably both. She smiled as she remembered the first time she’d met Jubie at the barbed wire fence of the internment camp in Rohwer, twenty years before. Nobody would have believed then that a Japanese girl and a black girl could become best friends, remain best friends as adults.

Even harder to believe was that Terrence Harris—the black man who nearly killed her father—had also become a friend.

Jubie tickled Michael. “We may not get to see Dr. King, but we sure gonna hear him. Maybe Mr. Terrence’ll put you up on his shoulders so you can see better.” She poked Terrence in the ribs.

“We’ll see about that,” Terrence replied. “How old are you now, Michael? Six?”

Michael rolled his eyes. “No! I’m almost nine.”

A wry grin, and Terrence’s hazel eyes flashed with mischief. “Kinda big to be sitting up on my shoulders, aren’t you?”

Michael rolled his eyes. “Maybe you’re just too old to put a kid as big as me up on your shoulders.”

Terrence clutched his shirt over his heart. “Aw, man. You got me. Well, like I said, we’ll just see—”

A deep voice boomed over the loudspeakers. “At this time, I have the honor to present to you, the moral leader of our nation, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

The crowd hushed.

Sachi stood on her toes.

Everyone cheered and waved their hands, signs, hats—anything to draw attention.

Dr. King began to speak.

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This entry was posted in History, Prejudice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Martin Luther King Day Mashup

  1. Nicely done, Jan. Can’t wait for the book.

    janet

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