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美国期末考试essay:MLK's letter from Birmingham jail

时间:2019-06-11 15:35来源:未知 作者:anne 点击:
1.0 Introduction介绍
Martin Luther King was one of the most famous civil rights leaders in American history, and many of his speeches, articles and actions are a valuable spiritual wealth for the world and the United States (Herda, 2016). Alabama Birmingham City was a big city with the most serious segregation in the U.S. at that time (Krieger et al., 2008). In the schools, restaurants, city parks, dressing rooms in the department stores, there was complete and thorough apartheid. At the end of 1962, Martin Luther King was arrested and imprisoned for launching a new anti-apartheid movement in Birmingham, Alabama. In response to criticism from some people, Martin Luther King wrote one of the greatest works of American literatures: "a letter from Birmingham jail". He called on all races to be united against racial discrimination to establish a country of equality and freedom. In this essay, the author first introduces the principles of resolving racial discrimination described by Martin Luther King's letter from Birmingham jail, and then it analyzes the present racial discrimination in American society based on Martin Luther King's principles.
2.0 Main body主体
2.1 Legal fairness法律公平
Martin Luther King mentioned the question of fairness in law, and he argued that legal injustice was one of the important causes of racial discrimination. He attacked the law of injustice in the United States at that time and quoted St. Augustine's introduction: "unjust laws are not law at all." Then he quotes what St. Thomas Aquinas said that "An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law." Martin Luther King's remarks reflected that the law of discrimination against blacks still existed in the United States at that time, which provided legal protection for racial discrimination speech and behavior in American society and brought a great difficulty for American blacks to fight for their legitimate rights and interests.
2.2 Immoral racial discrimination 不道德的种族歧视
Martin Luther King believed that apartheid is ridiculous not only in political, economic, sociological sense, but also morally wrong and guilty. He quoted St. Thomas Aquinas’ words for this purpose, "segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality." Martin Luther King used "when" to guide sentences to describe American blacks’ miserable life and unfair treatment at that time, which caused readers’ strong sympathy and showed the importance and rationality of pursuing racial equality for blacks to readers.
2.3 Means of resisting racial discrimination
Martin Luther King advocated a legitimate approach of non-violent struggle against racial discrimination. He brought forward four steps of the "nonviolent struggle": "collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action," which demonstrated the rationality of non-violent struggle to the people. He argued that the non-violent struggle aimed at opposing the use of extreme violence against racial discrimination and he did not advocate using too soft means to oppose racial discrimination, pointing out that the racial equality struggle could not be entirely hoping for supports from the whites at that time, as the white gentry did not effectively prevent the occurrence of racial discrimination.
2.4 Current injustices
Over the past few decades, many white police’s violent law enforcement in the United States has led to blacks’ deaths, which led to mass protests and social unrest, and the polices involved were often exempted from prosecution (Shane, Lawton and Swenson, 2017). To avoid the recurrence of similar events, it is necessary to achieve the principle that Martin Luther King mentioned that laws must be impartial.
In the contemporary American society, racial discrimination against blacks still exists in the law of the United States (Malamud, 2015). In judicial practice, blacks with crimes are often punished heavier than whites. In the event of death in the conflicts between police and blacks, the numbers of blacks who died in the conflicts were two times more than that of white police, and the police involved were often exempted from prosecution.
Blacks have been killed by excessive enforcement of laws by the police, which actually reflects the fact of racial discrimination mentioned by Martin Luther King still presents in the United States, and the discrimination is manifested in the low average living standard of blacks, lack of employment opportunities, and so on, racial discrimination conflicts with the justice, independence and freedom advertised by the American society (Shane, Lawton and Swenson, 2017).
Such events have recurring in the United States, indicating that the US judiciary has not taken effective measures, and the people of the United States, including whites and blacks, can consider taking the legitimate means of nonviolent struggle that Martin Luther King mentioned to cause social and the government's attention, so as to fundamentally solve the problem (Shane, Lawton and Swenson, 2017).
3.0 Conclusion
Martin Luther King's view of racial discrimination is still an important reference for today's American society to solve social discrimination, which is reflected in three aspects. He pointed out that racial discrimination is an immoral act, the existence of racial discrimination is closely related to the injustice of the laws, and social citizens should take a legitimate way to oppose racial discrimination. Today, people can still look at the issues of racial discrimination in the light of Martin Luther King's principles, because the reasons for today's racial discrimination are to a large extent similar to that of in the 1950s and 1960s.
Herda, D. (2016). The specter of discrimination: Fear of interpersonal racial discrimination among adolescents in Chicago. Social Science Research, 55(1), 48-62.
Krieger, N. et al. (2008). The inverse hazard law: blood pressure, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, workplace abuse and occupational exposures in US low-income black, white and Latino workers. Social Science & Medicine, 67(12), 1970-1981.
Malamud, D. C. (2015). Discrimination and the law. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition), 530-535.
Shane, J. M., Lawton, B. and Swenson, Z. (2017). The prevalence of fatal police shootings by U.S. police, 2015–2016: Patterns and answers from a new data set. Journal of Criminal Justice, 10(5), 105-121.

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