January 15th 2018 marked Martin Luther King Day; a national holiday dedicated to the Civil Rights Activist, the late great Martin Luther King. King fought tirelessly to fight the biased, racist system that regarded non-whites as inferior and segregated whites and blacks in every part of life. Progress was eventually made but even today we can still see that King’s Dream is still far from completion.
Increasing rates of Police Brutality towards the black community prominently in America along with the racial profiling of young people of colour in the UK highlights a deep rooted systematic issue. Statistics show that people of colour are targeted more frequently when it comes to crimes involving drugs and they are also more likely to be stopped, searched, detained and imprisoned than their white counterparts in comparison to their percentage make up in society. The issue is well ingrained within the system and more must be done to protect those at risk of being targeted by anyone based on the colour of their skin.
It is not just the police who target minority ethnicities but also racist individuals who do not agree with multiculturalism and right wing groups; whether that be the KKK in America or Britain First in England, both groups are opposed to multiculturalism and people of colour.
In the past few years there has been an evident rise in the support for populism, displayed in the increase in votes for far right political groups in European countries, and the appointment of Donald Trump as President of the United States. There has been an increase in anti-Muslim, anti-Refugee, and anti-Immigration rhetoric and opinions – hate crime has been on the rise for the past few years around the UK and around the world because of these opinions. This suggests that the very thing MLK was fighting against may be subtly reigniting itself, that is if it ever was eradicated at all.
King once said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. The key to tackling social issues is by being vocal and active against them, not just every once in a while, but consistently. Whether this is taking part in protests, starting petitions, or simply speaking to friends and family about the issues that are prominent in today’s society, each conversation or action can make a change even if it is not a big change and one opinion CAN have an impact on many. It is up to us as the society of the present, to help people learn from the past and not make the same mistakes again.
Multiculturalism is one of the greatest things to happen to humankind as it has brought the whole world closer by combining different languages, personalities, religions and cultures.
We cannot let the media or the system perpetuate a scapegoating society where all the problems of the country are placed on immigrants and minorities; King fought for a multicultural society where everyone is treated equally regardless of their background or skin colour. King’s “dream” is very much still a dream as there is a long way to go to gain equality for all.
Break the Chains urges each and every one of you to fight for King’s dream. We can all bring something to the fight for a multicultural, accepting society where we accept individuals for who they are but also encourage people to be themselves and show off their true personalities.
We are all human, regardless of our skin colour, ethnicity, sexuality, gender or culture. The labels we place as a society on individuals create division and by blaming people for our problems has a ripple effect. We will end this post which one final quote of King’s: “We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”