About Me

Monday, January 16, 2012

What Dr. King Means to Me

Every year on Martin Luther King day, I always like to sit and reflect on the philosophy of Dr. King. It's really not much of a special day to me, honestly. I choose to live my life trying to aspire to many of the principles espoused by Dr. King, so I suppose every single day is Martin Luther King day to me. But every year I try to sit down and just reflect for a few moments on how I am doing on my journey to non-violent actions and thoughts.

I will be honest that I am frequently angry. I am angry as hell, to be exact. I harbor resentment and anger towards people who I feel are hateful, racist and mean-spirited. All year long I've been reading Dr. King's speeches about how we should not only try to participate in non-violent actions, but we should also attempt to not have violence of spirit by harboring hatred and resentment towards other people. I just wish I knew how to do it.

I just don't know how to love people who hurt other people. Because education is one of my passions, I find it hard to love people who think that certain groups of students such as English learners and African Americans, or even poor White students, can't learn. I don't even want to show love toward people at work who do everything in their power to undermine student and parents rights to be able to participate in quality bilingual education programs. I can't find any compassion in my heart for far too many people who seem to hate the kids that are in their schools, but seem to love the paychecks that they make off the backs of said children.

This week I have been reading "The Essential Gandhi", a collection of speeches, writings and biographical incidents of Mohandas Gandhi, a man whose philosophy greatly influenced that of Dr. King. In one of his essays, he wrote about how at one point in his life that he used to have a bad temper. According to Gandhi, the non-violent philosophy is a skill to be learned, just like other skills such as reading must be learned through practice. Apparently with enough practice and application, anger can be redirected and transformed into compassion towards those who have harmed us. I can only wish that one day I will get to that point.

The problem with all of this theory though is that I just can't figure out how to apply it. I find it extremely hard and even unrealistic to think that I will ever feel compassion and lack of anger towards certain people. How is it even possible to not feel anger when facing injustice or hatred? Logically injustice would compel someone to feel anger. How will it ever get to the point where my skin is thick enough for me to not let injustice or hatred bother me??

I will keep trying. And hopefully one day I will be able to get to the point where I feel compassion and love. I know that it will take time, practice and patience but one day I will get there.

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