Are there spaces for “withness” to be expressed today in universal terms (i.e. social justice, tolerance, respect or love)?

Goals for 4/17: Interview 3-4 students for Thursday and report your findings in a notebook or on computer.  Try to interview students you do not know, including internal students, who may have questions about the Civil Rights Era. Ask questions that build off Martin Luther Kings “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” or explain passages in the text.

Here are questions you can ask that track what we did in class today:

MLK argues we are interconnected and exist within an “inescapable network or mutuality (500).  This condition of with-ness is an idea we observed in the ethical philosophy of Kant (“Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals”).  Both philosophers argue for an foundational togetherness, while allowing tensions and differences to be worked among the individual and institutional actors.  What does with-ness mean to you?  Where do you see instances of this today?  Are there spaces for “withness” to be expressed today in universal terms (i.e. social justice, tolerance, respect or love)?  And how do such spaces respect the individual identities we hold?  Is with-ness a goal or a space between?

MLK argues that white moderates will have a hard time “understand[ing] or appreciat[ing] the pain and “passionate yearnings of those that have been oppressed,” and few still have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action” (507). What do you think about this statement?  Is it difficult for white or people to get to place where they can come to understand the passions and pains of a black person, and on that note, persons of different cultural affinities?  Why is this or is not the case do you think?   MLK gives examples representing the darkest moments of America under the Jim Crow system (502); name these or read the page.  If you had to talk about race in America today in a manner that is not evasive but also sensible and reflexive, what kind of questions would you ask?  How can talk about race in a way that shows courage, candor and compassion?  In a way that does not repeat bias?

Feel free to build off of these questions.

For 4/23:  Continue with interviews (5-6 people).  Gather statistics or data on race (in U.S. or elsewhere) and integrate this into final paper. Maura Keating in library as go to person for mining sources.   Explain a paragraph in King’s “Birmingham Letter” that stands out to you and record your reflections in computer.

For 4/25:  With another person, take a piece of paper and divide into 2 parts.  Each writes the names of three people: 1. someone you wish to say sorry to, 2. someone you wish to say thank you to, and 3. someone you wish to forgive.  Pick one of these to describe and its impact on yourself.

For 4/30 and 5/2:  Edit your material and turn in as a paper (4-5 pages).  In your papers, set up the arguments in the intro or first page, provide analysis by stating what the questions and responses are, and offer your reflections in dialogue with arguments in the course of writing and conclusion (similar structure as mid-term).  Post

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