I Have a Dream

July 26, 2017
By , Pomona, CA

The main idea in Dr. King’s speech is that he envisioned that black and white people would one day be equal, no matter our color, race or religion one should be treated equal and with respect. The purpose is to tell other people what he thought and hope that people would try to go against racism but also calls for civil and economic rights. The audience is to the entire nation, both white and black people.

The repetition is something that makes Dr. King’s speech extremely powerful and effective. Repetition as a rhetorical device helps to bring to light the idea that what is in Dr. King’s mind is not reality. This idea of a “dream” helped to awaken many Americans to the reality of the Civil Rights violations. One of the most explicit metaphors he uses to make his point about the lack of civil rights is a baking metaphor. He suggests that the thousands of marches have come to Washington to cash a check while he claims that the government has given people of color a check with insufficient funds, or a promissory note that no one has paid, “It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds”. More importantly, he finishes the speech with a powerful metaphor of a bell ringing, borrowing a phrase, “Let freedom ring” from the national song “New Country’ Tis of Thee”. We normally associate the ringing bells with churches, but they have also been used historically in towns to signal emergencies or celebrations. In Dr. King’s speech the ringing of the bells is meant to signify the echoing of the sounds all across the country.

All Americans recognize the soaring rhetoric of the final portion of the speech, where Dr. King speaks of a dream of an American without legal discrimination or racial prejudice. In the third paragraph of Dr. King’s speech he says, “When the architects of our Great Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.” With this preference to the declaration it’s clear he’s making a point. For Dr. King, the Declaration of Independence, which he quoted directly, was a promissory note that the United States would ultimately guarantee for all people, “The unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” As King says, “It is obvious that America has defaulted on this promissory note. King was not calling for the destruction of the American political order, but rather for us to be true to the ideals of the founding, and that’s why it’s important that he quoted the Declaration. Dr. King hopes to change racism in the country, and that no man by nature is ruler or the  servant of another and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect no matter their skin tone or race.

Dr. King discourage people from using violence to accomplish their goals because there is other ways that people can fight without using violence but speaking. Nonviolence is not for the cowardly, the weak, the passive, the apathetic or the fearful. The nonviolent resister is passive in the sense that he is not physically aggressive toward his opponent, his mind and emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade his opponent that his wrong. The goal of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation. Dr. King try to explain that nonviolence does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent but to win friendship and understanding. Nonviolence is directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil and that’s why for King nonviolence was the morally excellent way.”

In my opinion to help young people to understand and work against racism is to led them know that nobody is perfect we are all different but not because we have different skin color that make us less. We were not born racist, people taught us that, “Black” is just a label that has been for generations and we use it for those who are of different color but at the same time we use that word to hurt and we do not realize that we are contributing to racism and that is just because they were born that way and they must be called that way. In fact, we sometimes think they are “filthy people” or bad influence but to be honest here everybody does, not only them. There’s a lot of people out there doing awful things and they’re not necessary them. By teaching young people about racism we are contributing to put a stop and see each other as equal because we are and why hate each other when we can be in peace and accept our flaws and work on things that really matter.

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