Can the following article be considered offensive in any way?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
My school censored the following opinion piece from publication in the student newspaper on the grounds that it is offensive and attacks the creators of the Martin Luther King Day assembly. I have yet to come up with a reason why this is offensive. (This is probably the first time in years that an opinion article has been censored)

In late January, [school name withheld], held its annual Martin Luther King Day assembly. Like most celebrations around the country, [the school name] assembly presented a sugarcoated version of Dr. King and diversity. The assembly represents a microcosm of how America deals with the legacy of the civil rights movement.

At the assembly, we went through the motions: quoting the famous ?I have a Dream? speech and talking about the wide diversity of [school name]. Then, we walked out the assembly feeling we had done our part. One ten-minute conversation with someone different than us was all we needed to do.

This is the wrong way to approach diversity.

The more we pay lip service to diversity the less we actually reflect on why our nation has not come close to implementing Dr. King?s wide reaching dream.


For example, in the assembly only cliché fragments of Dr. King?s speeches were read. His more powerful, yet radical, statements on economic diversity were withheld. America needs to realize that the way we can end racism and achieve diversity is to end the economic discrimination that is embedded in the capitalist system. In his 1967 speech "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence," Dr. King told a crowd "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."

Instead, we have turned Dr. King into a cartoon character whose depth is as thick as the lead pencil that draws him. His image and holiday serve as an icon for us to claim that we are not racists and support diversity. Of course, this broad talk of diversity is good but it is the implementation of these ideas that count.

Clearly, my school and most Americans work extremely hard to be supportive of all people and do not outwardly discriminate. But it is the subtle signs that create alarm. It is this type of passive racism that still haunts America today. It can be seen in the hiring practices of corporations, President Bush?s domestic agenda, and the portrayal of minorities and women in popular entertainment. As a nation we have pushed racism under the carpet of diversity. \t

Instead of words, lets act on the principals of Dr. King and sweep racism out from under the carpet and place it in the trash.

edited to correct quotation marks

[ 02-06-2003: Message edited by: jante99 ]

[ 02-06-2003: Message edited by: jante99 ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 4
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,464member
    I'd say it's offensive because you take the efforts of others, demean them and then insert your own political agenda at their expense.

    You basically use the word "sugarcoated" to dismiss the work of all your fellow students. The holiday is to celebrate Dr. King not advance your political views.

    While you claim Dr. King had some radical statements, you don't quote any yourself within your letter. You don't add anything to the discussion you just dismiss others as wrong and yourself as right.

    Lastly you equate capitalism with racism which I am sure is much more radical than anything Dr. King suggested. A much more widespread view is that economic diversity means that black films can get made for example. Also that blacks are considered a demographic that has financial power and deserves both marketing campaigns and products tailored specifically to their market.

    In that regard I would say we definately have diversity, perhaps it is not perfect, but every doll, make-up color, car marketing campaign, and product commercial I see is not exclusively geared to white views and opinions. I am not sure if it is proportionally representative, but there is a black middle class. Blacks do have financial clout, and I do believe smart businesses take steps to insure their appeal and purchases from that community.

  • Reply 2 of 4
    jante99jante99 Posts: 539member
    Trumptman, since you obviously were not at the assembly I can see your point. I guess I need to explain the context of the assembly.

    The assembly basically consisted of a modernist/minimalist dance and a corporate "diversity" speaker giving her usual speech. Most students and faculty did not like the assembly.

    Also, Dr. King did turn radical after 1965. Before his death he planned a "Poor Man's March" on Washington DC to demand a Bill of Rights for people of lower income. And he denounced American imperialism in Vietnam and around the globe.

    If you readthe speech "Beyond Vietnam" it is pretty interesting and very well written (or I guess spoken). read it here: <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;

    Also check out Jeff Cohen's piece "The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV" he wrote for FAIR

    <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;

    edited to add more links

    [ 02-06-2003: Message edited by: jante99 ]</p>
  • Reply 3 of 4
    toweltowel Posts: 1,479member
    You're in high school, I presume? They censored your piece because you were highly critical of the school administration on a matter to which they're very sensitive to criticism. Squeezed their balls, so to speak. No mystery there. I don't think being "offensive" enters the equation. It's not exactly a victory for free speech, but you have fewer "rights" as a minor in school than you do in the real world.
  • Reply 4 of 4
    the "i have a dream" speech is the greatest oration of the twentieth century.

    to say it's not radical is absurd. it was dangerous, risky, and the kennedy administration begged him to not do it.

    at no time in my lifetime have the course of human events been changed (nonviolently) so dramatically by simple words delivered so eloquently.

    i know the other speech you refer to and in fact my wife and i were emailing each other dr. king quotes all that day, and in fact i used the one you use in your piece. but it will be a footnote in 200 years while the "i have dream" speech will still resonate.

    i was at the lincoln memorial 2 years ago and it wasn't till i was walking away that i remembered that it was in fact the "lincoln memorial" i just think of of it as the place <a href=""; target="_blank">THE SPEECH</a> was delivered.
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