In honor of MLK Day (which, irony of ironies, was almost spent in Arizona), Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Alternatively, you can hang with the cool kids, in which case I recommend something by James Baldwin, either "Everybody's Protest Novel" or my personal favorite, "Equal in Paris". From the former:
But that battered word, truth, having made its appearance here, confronts one immediately with a series of riddles and has, moreover, since so many gospels are preached, the unfortunate tendency to make one belligerent. Let us say, then, that truth, as used here, is meant to imply a devotion to the human being, his freedom and fulfillment; freedom which cannot be legislated, fulfillment which cannot be charted. This is the prime concern, the frame of reference; it is not to be confused with a devotion to Humanity which is too easily equated with a devotion to a Cause; and Causes, as we know, are notoriously bloodthirsty. We have, it seems to me, attempted to lop this creature down to the status of a time-saving invention. He is not, after all, merely a member of a Society or a Group or a deplorable conundrum to be explained by Science. He is– and how old-fashioned the words sound!– something more than that, something resolutely indefinable, unpredictable. In overlooking, denying, evading his complexity– which is nothing more than the disquieting complexity of ourselves– we are diminished and we perished; only within this web of ambiguity, paradox, this hunger, danger, darkness, can we find at once ourselves and the power that will free us from ourselves.
Labels: race and politics