Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream" Speech Analysis

Essay by EJY345High School, 12th grade March 2006

download word file, 1 pages 0.0

In this famous quote from his speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. deftly uses repetition--repetition of the phrase "I have a dream"--to provide the reader a glimpse into the horrors of society's racism in the 1960's, while at the same time suggesting future goals to combat this racism. When rereading this powerful statement, it is clear that Martin Luther King Jr. wishes his children to not experience prejudice, to be able to be judged by their character rather than their outward appearance. A reader might be tempted to jump to the conclusion that Martin Luther King, Jr.'s goals for racial equality have been accomplished; we as a society have enforced antidiscrimination laws and are much more open to racial justice and equality. However, this quote is clearly still applicable today; it generates the question of whether we--today's society--come to immediate, first impressions of people without getting to know them, impressions based on the color of someone's skin (outward appearance), rather than on their "character."

Inevitably we do. This is typified by the movie Crash, where the district attorney's wife jumps to the conclusion that a Hispanic house-worker is going to steal their keys and take them to his 'homies.' I believe that we can make a difference--create a positive outcome--by not listening to racial jokes. More importantly, when we react with others in every-day life, we can get to know them before judging them based on their appearance. This applies not only to people of color, but to people who look like a quintessential stereotype--people who look like "dumb-jocks," "stupid cheerleaders," "nerds," etc. Through these actions, we can encourage others around us to not judge someone by their outward appearance.