MLK Day reminds us of equity

Martin Luther King Day Jr. Day was last Monday, honoring the works and social advancements of the late Martin Luther King. King led a nonviolent campaign for racial justice in the 1960’s. King sought for equality for all African-Americans, as well as the economically disadvantaged, through peaceful protest.

His work for civil rights led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or gender, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited racial discrimination for voting.

It is evident through King’s past that he valued education. At just 15 he entered college, after skipping two years of high school. He went on to become student body president and graduate at the top of his class at Crozer Theological Seminary, and even went on to earn a master’s degree in theology.

It’s easy to feel far removed from historical events of the past if they happened more than a decade ago. But when it comes down to it, the events surrounding Martin Luther King were only 58 years ago, meaning there’s a pretty reasonable chance your parents were already alive when he was assassinated.

Martin Luther King was also born the same year as Anne Frank. History is a lot more relative, and more importantly recent, than many think. The point is that many act like the days of racism are buried in the days of the past, when in reality that’s not the case. People have just gotten better at masking it.

Minnesota State has one of the most diverse campuses by student population in the entire state, with students coming from all across the globe to study on campus.

We as students, but more so as people, need to understand that at the end of the day, skin is just an organ protecting our body from the elements. It comes in a variety of colors and shades, all equally beautiful. Most importantly, we don’t choose how much melanin exists in our skin.

The idea seems like a pretty obvious thing to say, especially considering the general public’s growing non-tolerance towards racism, but there are still apparently people who need the reminder.

Racism is taught, not inherited. Many of the racial microaggressions that plague the minds of many are taught by our elders, who were alive during an age where bigotry was a social norm. They lived in an age where presenting as anything other than white was inherently incorrect, and passed it on to their children. It is our responsibility to break that chain and not just reject the racist status quo, but be anti-racist.

If you want to make a remark or joke on someone’s appearance, and it isn’t something they can change about themselves within ten seconds, it’s not worth bringing up in the first place. 

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