I recently attended a seminar on Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. At this seminar professors spoke about how they interpreted the letter from the points of their departments. A Theology and two Writing professors picked it apart. They talked about how King wrote hi letter and why. In his letter, King distinguishes the difference between right and wrong while also talking about all that is needed in the world is acceptance. If everyone were to just except people for who they are and not base opinions off of what someone looks like, then our world would be a better place.
This concept shows up again in Bharati Mukherjee’s short story, “A Father”. Here a man and his wife believe that their daughter who is pregnant with no husband has shamed their family. Even though a baby is all that the daughter wants, and she was the one who went to a doctor to be artificially inseminated, her family cannot accept her for who she is and ends up beating her with a rolling pin. If her father had just accepted her choices, just as King asked of our country, then their family could have been happy again and celebrating a new life.
Another example of not accepting someone for who they are is in Gary Gildner’s poem First Practice. Here the speaker talks about a man who tries to change innocent boys into mean aggressive fighters. As a coach, Clifford Hill is supposed to inspire his players and make them love the sport. Yet he does not do this. Hill instills in his players the need to win over all other things. He even lines them up against each other to battle it out. Hill could not accept his players as boys who just want to play; he had to make them into winning machines.
Even tough a lot of people in this world cannot accept people for who they are, the Sampsons could. In Stephanie Shapiro “Serving up Hope”, Mr. Sampson does this amazing act of helping drug addicts get back on their feet and back into society. He gives them jobs once they are clean and sober. Not only does he give them a paid job, but he also teaches them to become chefs. Mr. Sampson is able to accept these people as who they are, and doesn’t care. He still finds a way to be the wonderful man that he is and help them.
At one time or another, everyone will run into someone that is unlike him or her in some way. If people are just accepting of others and don’t judge or alienate them, then our world would be a much better place for everyone.