Looking at society is it easy to identify many global issues circulating the world in our present day. These issues extend from sexual and racial differences to religious affairs to, finally, larger conflicts such as proceeding wars. The aim of this project is to focus on one global issue that in some way directly influences me and has a somewhat negative impact.
Once identifying the issue and analyzing it I am to research on two identities that have, in the past, been faced with the same issue and attempted to solve it.
I am to analyze their methods concluding weather they’ve been successful or not. Taking many affairs into consideration I have concluded to one problem that is most closely linked to my everyday life and me. This problem is racial discrimination. It does not affect me directly as I have never lived in a society where my race was discriminated against however I have lived among a diversity of races and have seen the impact it has on my closer friends.
Having chosen the topic I wish to explore I have then formulate my problem into a question which states; How can racial equality be increased using non-violent methods? I have chosen to formulate my question like this because I cannot say that I live in an environment that fully discriminates and degrades racial differences however I can say that it is not an environment and society that is completely oblivious to racial differences as in an ideal situation it should be.
I have chosen to explore this problem as I grew up in a multi-racial society where racial discrimination was never a factor as race was completely neglected and everyone seemed to be equal. Moving to my current society I have found that it is not the case and the racial majority here seems to be the white and has very limited views on other races. I found that this could be due to the lack of interaction with other races and find it disturbing as I expected people to be more open minded and less primitive on the situation.
As I go to an international school I’d expect the racial tolerance to be higher than amongst people who do not however I was surprised to see racial injustice amongst some of my classmates. I have chosen this problem as even though I am among the majority, according to my race, I am still affected by how the minority is mistreated. Seeing as this is also a global problem I have chosen two personalities who have in the past been faced with this problem and attempted in solving it.
My first identity is Martin Luther King Jr. as he fought for the civil rights of African Americans using non-violent methods. And my second identity is Nelson Mandela as he fought against the Apartheid in Africa, persisting nonviolent methods to their full extent. I chose Martin Luther King Jr. as one of my personalities as he fought for racial equality for African Americans in the United States, using nonviolent methods, and Mahatma Ghandi as an influence.
He fought through campaigns and in organizations, using strictly no violence, in attempt to achieve his goal, civil rights for African Americans, first in the United States then globally. Nelson Mandela is my second choice, as he fought for his goal over many decades, not necessarily without violence, however with determination to achieve it no matter if it began to seem impossible. Both personalities have had a great impact in the world and have become iconic figures of what they fought for, this is the major reason I chose them and not anyone else.
They have gained a title with their name and this is what makes them significant and relevant to this problem. Analysis Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15th 1929 and lived till April 4th 1968, dying at an early age of 39. He was an activist fighting for civil rights of African Americans living in the US at that time. In 1955 he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was a political and social protest campaign whose aim was to oppose the Montgomery city policy of segregating the racially different in public transportation.
Two years later, in 1957, he assisted the foundation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, of which he became the president. The SCLC is a civil rights organization, which was a huge part of the Civil Rights Movement at that time fighting for the civil rights of African Americans. In 1963 a political rally was held in support of the economical and civil rights of African Americans, it was called the March on Washington, in which Martin Luther King held his “I Have A Dream” speech outlining racial equality and proposing an end to discrimination.
King also tried to expand American values ad include the vision of a ‘colour-blind’ society, which according to his terms was a society oblivious to skin colour and race creating equality for everyone. Subsequently to the speech in 1964 Martin Luther King Jr. became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Piece Price for his engagement in the end to racial segregation and discrimination through civil disobedience and in a peaceful manner. After this he resumed his contributions to help end poverty and stop the then occurring Vietnam War.
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4th 1968 the third Monday of each January is celebrated as a U. S. Federal holiday since 1986. Nelson Mandela is a South African born on July 18th 1918. In 1942 he qualified in law from the University of Witwatersrand and joined the African National Congress only two years later. The National Party supported the apartheid policy of racial segregation and won the 1948 election becoming the ruling party in South Africa. After this time Mandela became more active in participating in politics.
In 1952 the ANC organizes the Defiance Campaign, which promoted equality amongst South Africans providing full civil rights. This he followed with the Congress of the People in 1955. This also outlined the importance of equality among South African People provided the basis of the anti-apartheid cause. Simultaneously Mandela and Oliver Tambo (1) commenced and operated a law firm providing free or low-cost legal counsel to many blacks who lacked any professional representation. Like Martin Luther King Jr. Mandela was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings of non-violent resistance, as were the following generations of South African anti-apartheid activists. In 1956 Mandela was arrested for treason and was on trail until 1961 when he was finally freed from criminal charge. In 1960 Mandela argued for the setting up of a military wing within the African National Congress, which in June 1961 was finally agreed to. This is how the Umkhonto we Sizwe was formed. This was nothing more than an armed wing of the ANC, which fought against the apartheid government.
In 1962 Mandela was once again arrested however this time sentenced to five years imprisonment only to be tried with plotting to overthrow the government by violence the following year. With this he was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment. From 1964 till 1982 Mandela was imprisoned at Robben Island Prison, just off the coast of Cape Town. Even during his imprisonment Mandela’s reputation grew as the most significant black leader in South Africa and as the symbol of resistance the anti-apartheid movement gathered strength.
His refusal to compromise his political position over his freedom was constant from which his popularity grew even more vastly. On February 11th 1990 Mandela was released after which he immediately returned to his life’s goals that he had set four decades earlier. He served as the South African president from 1994 till 1999. Conclusion It is evident to conclude that in his short lifetime and even shorter time of being active Martin Luther King Jr. accomplished a lot as he had aimed to. It is unfortunate that his death came so soon as he might have been able to proceed with more changes in the world.
Mandela also spent a lot of his life fighting for what he believed in, granted not always peacefully, and however unlike King Mandela did spend 27 years in prison, coming out with even more will power and reason to pursue his goals. Both men deserve the recognition they gained and are good role models and identities for this project. It is evident that King fully succeeded in using non violent methods to pursue his goal however the two identities were placed in two different positions, one with more ‘freedom’ one with less, to fight for the same goal.
Yet looking back at the times it is evident that the situation for Mandela seemed to be a lot harder hence resulting in him using violence to a certain extent. Solution Campaign methods have proven to be the most widely used in the past and somehow the most successful however the key to their success is the involvement of the government in the issuing of new policies. In our community there an interracial relationship is not banned neither is the use of any public or private factors between the races.
Each and every race is regarded as an equal and there is no policy saying otherwise. Yet the factor of racial discrimination is still present, this is not as extreme as it used to be and was presented in Mandela and King’s case however the racial prejudice stands between the actual members of the community. This prejudice most commonly consists of verbal accusations with some violent occurrences however no major events have been marked. Therefore enforcing a campaign to acquire new laws and policies would be pointless, as this would not change anything.
This racial prejudice is mostly expressed in schools amongst younger generations and therefore this is where it should be suppressed. As my solution against this problem I would enrol punishments to students who racially discriminate against others. I would enforce the punishment not to be too mild as this will lead to no future change. In my opinion is a child is racially violated in a classroom or in the presence of a teacher they should be sent out preceding a warning. If this behaviour is repeated the student’s inflicting the crime parents should be called in for consultation.
This may seem harsh however racial prejudice has a great impact on one person and completely banishing it should be practiced. On a wider scale to encourage the presence of other races the government should enforce the translation of crucial signs and notices as for the foreigners to understand. On a larger scale not much can be done to punish a verbal offender however violence for racial discrimination should be punished. As I mentioned before this issue is not so serious amongst my community outside school and only action to encourage an interracial community can be encouraged.