Thoughts on “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” and its relevance today | MLK Day

Hi everyone!

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in honor of arguably the most prominent civil rights’ activist in the USA.

23 Incredible Full-Color Pictures Of Martin Luther King Jr

If you’re not familiar with his story, he was a pastor in the Ebenezer Baptist Church- from where the current senior pastor, Reverend Raphael Warnock, was recently elected the Democratic Georgian Senator- and later became the head of the civil rights’ movement. He believed in nonviolent direct action, and most people have probably heard his incredibly famous speech, I Have A Dream.

I remember that the first time I heard I Have A Dream, I was around five or six in a majority-white school in the Midwest. To be honest, I don’t completely remember what I felt when I listened to it; I was quite young, after all, and I’m not known for having the best memory. But I do know that year after year when I listened to the speech, it made more and more sense to me. The line about dreaming of a time when black and white children could hold each other’s hands sticks out to me now- it was the line that was played every year without fail.

I’m sure it would have been this year as well, but things are different this year. Our school didn’t play anything for us, and it was up to me to do my own research.

I Have A Dream is a great place to start, and is certainly powerful, but its been sanitized so much to fit white America’s portrayal of MLK Jr. that it doesn’t authentically portray his beliefs.

So today I sat down and read an essay by Dr. King that has been recommended to me countless timesLetter From the Birmingham Jail.

If you want to know why I’ve put it off, I could say that I’ve been waiting for this day to read it, but that would be a lie. It’s actually because I’ve been stuck in my comfort zone- YA fiction- for too long, and I needed a gentle push to get out of it and try nonfiction. That push came from myself, and I’m glad I did it.

My immediate takeaway was about how beautiful the writing was. I’m a lover of words foremost and always a reader at heart, so it makes sense that the elegant language and captivating metaphors would stand out to me. Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor who gave sermons regularly, so I wasn’t surprised that the letter would be so eloquent.

However, this post isn’t supposed to be a book review where I analyze the setting and characters and writing style. It’s about the content of the letter and the truths that were stated there in clear terms.

Letter From the Birmingham Jail is one of the only times, if not the only time, that MLK Jr. addressed his haters and opponents, explaining clearly why they were wrong and what perspective he came from. He brings up so many points and refutes so many others yet the essay itself doesn’t seem as long as it is.

A Collection of Rare Color Photographs Depicts MLK Leading ...

One of the main arguments against the Civil Rights’ Movement at the time was that the time wasn’t right to take action. Dr. King writes that someone asked him “why didn’t you give the new administration time to act?” following the Birmingham peaceful protest that happened soon after a new administration in the city was elected.

This line specifically reminds me eerily of our present situation. We’ve recently elected the Biden-Harris administration and they will be taking office in two days.

Yet, there’s no way that it will immediately solve all of our country’s problems. Systemic racism won’t be eradicated just because we have a new administration in office. If that were the case, we should be lightyears ahead of where we are now.

During the election, lots of white moderates said that “now isn’t the time” to push Biden-Harris to embrace more progressive policies. They said to wait for inauguration, and now they say to wait for the first hundred days in office to be over, and for the Trump supporters to be quelled, and for COVID to be over, before demanding that anything gets done.

Dr. King writes in response to the questions about why now, that “the new administration must be prodded about as much as the old one before it acts… I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined nonviolent pressure.”

Direct action is a form of negotiation, he writes. It creates a constructive type of nonviolent tension that is necessary for any form of justice to be taken seriously by the majority.

While I read, I felt like I had the answers to the questions that are constantly being asked about why I believe in direct action.

I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging facts of segregation to say, “Wait.”

– MLK Jr.

One of the most touching parts of this letter, to me, wasn’t one of the incredibly profound or intelligent passages, or the parts about the danger about the white moderate (although those ones was truly music to my ears).

Actually, my favorite quote was about something quite ordinary- a six year old girl wanting to go to an amusement park.

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“When you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky…”

Wow. This quote was devastating to me.

One of the worst parts of segregation is the internalized inferiority that exists in communities of color even now. My family never faced segregation due to moving the USA in the 1990s, but the knowledge that if I existed 70 years ago, or my grandmother traveled to America as a child, we would be treated like filth and second-class citizens hurts. And, speaking of internalized inferiority, what I just mentioned is known as generational trauma, and I can attest to the fact that many people of color live with it.

It’s even more painful to read about all the black children who actually grew up like that- grew up denied the entertainment and fun that was offered to white children, and is now available to all of us.

When I was six, I never had to worry about being denied entry to our local Six Flags (amusement park) because of my skin color. I never had to worry about schools turning me away, or not being allowed to use certain bathrooms because I was brown.

But countless others have had to, and that alone should be enough to shock everyone out of their complacency.

Another reason why this is my favorite quote is because it shows a glimpse into MLK’s personal life. Many of us, myself included, see him as the figurehead to an entire movement and inspiration for us all, almost as a mythical character.

But, as I remember reading in one of his second daughter, Bernice King’s, recent tweets, he was also just a man. A man with a wife and kids, a man who went on vacations to Jamaica wearing funny slippers on his feet and lived in a time of color photos, despite what textbooks might make you think.

He was just a man with a daughter who desperately wanted to go to Funtown.

I mean, Funtown– it’s pretty much the worst name you could give an amusement park, right? Still, it makes sense why young Yolanda wanted to go to Funtown. I’m not six years old, and even I want to go there.

But the stark difference is that I can, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t, and the reason was something completely beyond her control.

That’s what makes this my favorite quote, and perhaps the most profound one as well.

PARROT EYE..: Memorable Family Pictures of Martin Luther ...

The last note I want to make before I finish this post is of the whitewashing and watering down of MLK’s legacy. As his son, MLK III said in 2018, “We have been programmed as a society to focus on elements of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech because it reduces him to just a dreamer… as opposed to a radical and a revolutionary.

Martin Luther King Jr. believed in the redistribution of wealth, a living wage and healthcare for all, and he spoke out against militarism and capitalism just as he spoke out against racism. He was known as the most dangerous man in America by the FBI and at the time of his death, 75% of Americans disagreed with his vision for a desegregated world.

Dr. King wasn’t the watered down poster boy calling for complacency to the law and obedience to the police that schools and politicians would like you to believe. He knew the power of nonviolent direct action, he was willing to disobey unjust laws to achieve equal rights, he was a staunch critic of the US government, and he was against economic inequality of all kinds.

I want to leave you all on this powerful message, and urge everyone to read his letter for themselves. Here’s a great tweet that also describes the glaring hypocrisy of many people’s treatment of Dr. King.

This MLK day, I hope you all educate yourself on the horrific injustice and police brutality that still exists today, and honor Dr. King’s legacy by reading his works and supporting a Black Lives Matter organization that’s supporting the community.

Love you all! Remember- radical love is always the right thing to do.

5 South-Asian Books on my TBR | including beautiful upcoming 2021 releases!

Hello everyone!

I wanted my second post of 2020 to be something that I’m excited for and proud of- so I thought what better than sharing some of the amazing South-Asian books that I want to read?

As most of you know, I’m Indian-American and I’m passionate about uplifting Asian authors. In 2020 I realized that I barely read *any* books by South Asian authors, and one of my 2021 goals is to change that.

So here are some amazing books by South Asian authors that you should definitely read!

A Time To Dance by Padma Venkataraman

A Time to Dance

My friend Vaishnavi recommended this book to me- it’s about a South Indian girl named Veda who is a classical dancer losing the ability to dance because of an injury. It’s told in verse and sounds beautiful and poignant. I do Indian Classical music and love it so much (I used to do dance as well but I stopped this year actually) so I feel like I’ll resonate a lot with this book.

Continue reading “5 South-Asian Books on my TBR | including beautiful upcoming 2021 releases!”

From 2020 to 2021- resolutions, goals, and what this year means for all of us and our futures

Hello loves!

I can’t believe it’s 2021 already- happy new year to everyone! I hope you all had an amazing end of 2020 and a great beginning to the new year.

I have to admit, 2021 really snuck up on me. It still feels weird that we’re no longer in 2020, and even weirder to realize that I spent 75% of 2020 stuck at home. While I’m not harboring any unreasonable expectations for 2021, I still hope that I’ll spend more of my year doing normal things instead of at home.

To be honest though, I’m kind of feeling… neutral about everything. I’m not really a “eff 2020” sort of person because 2020 did actually do a lot to build my character and mold me to the person I am now (dramatic, I know), but it’s not like I loved 2020 or anything.

season 8 goodbye GIF

Anyway, I just wanted to say that one constant throughout 2019, 2020, and now hopefully 2021, has been blogging. Blogging brings me a lot of joy, and writing about what I love has been really important to keep me grounded. I’m forever grateful to everyone for building this community and inspiring me and so many others to keep writing and publishing it to the world.

Continue reading “From 2020 to 2021- resolutions, goals, and what this year means for all of us and our futures”

Matching Books To Each Song in the ‘Evermore’ Album by Taylor Swift | the evermore book tag

Hi loves!

I’m back so soon, yes! And today I’ll be doing a book tag created by the very lovely Ahaana @ Windows to Worlds. Please go check out her blog because her posts are so nice and her personality is even more lovely!

Rules:

  • Link back to the original creator’s post: Ahaana’s at Windows to Worlds
  • Tag at least 5 people
  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post!!
  • Feel free to use the graphics in this post , but please credit back because they took a lot of time and effort to make (:

Let’s get into it!


Continue reading “Matching Books To Each Song in the ‘Evermore’ Album by Taylor Swift | the evermore book tag”

4 Underrated BIPOC Fantasy Novels For You to Add To Your TBR | ft. a return to blogging & great YA novels

Hi everyone!

As I’ve sat down to write this post, I’ve been interrupted over five times.

Maybe it’s a sign for me to not write this post?

Anyways, I finally pushed my parents and brother away and I’m ready to finally, finally write a blog post. First of all, I missed you all so much! I miss being a part of the blogging community, waking up to so many notifications, and reading all of my friends’ posts. I missed that a lot and I can’t wait to jump back in the flow of it.

Now, why have I been so MIA lately? Well, firstly, a lot has been going on in my life. I’ve had to start prioritizing what I want to do and what I don’t have time for. Obviously, blogging took a bit of a backseat on this. I don’t really regret it- it allowed me to do so much more- but I want to come back and learn how to manage my time, but with blogging this time.

That’s the gist of it, basically. I’m planning to do a longer post about myself at the end of year (speaking of which- can you believe it’s December? because I absolutely cannot) but for now, I want to give you all the sort of content that you’ve been missing!!

I know a lot of people who don’t know a lot of fantasies written by BIPOC authors.

If you’re not sure what BIPOC stands for, it means Black, Indigenous, People of Color. It’s a similar acronym to POC (people of color), but it specifically highlights the separate experiences that Black and Indigenous folks experience. I say it like bye-pock and if you don’t know me, I’m BIPOC as well!

That’s a pity, because there are so many amazing fantasies written by authors of color that people really are sleeping on. Originally when I started this post, I had it as 7 books- then I realized that it might be even more valuable to narrow it down to the most underrated of the books, in my opinion at least. Most of the books on my list I had screamed about on my blog already (Children of Blood and Bone? We Set The Dark on Fire? Girls of Paper and Fire? Ring any bells?) so I wanted to try out screaming about books that I don’t talk about as much.

So let’s get into it!

Continue reading “4 Underrated BIPOC Fantasy Novels For You to Add To Your TBR | ft. a return to blogging & great YA novels”

rating watermelon(g) reaction pictures | a guest post because i have no creative inspiration ft. beck

Hi loves!

This is Aditi, the person who writes for this blog, in case you’ve forgotten me since I’ve decided that I’m too cool to write posts 😀

I miss you all a lot and I really want to start blogging again!! But that probably won’t be until mid-December (mayybe earlier but don’t count on it). So I have a wonderful post from the absolutely amazing Beck @ Smellfoy Reads! Go check out her blog right now :))

I’m going to let her take it away- but before that, here’s my deepest gratitude to Beck for OFFERING to write me a post (?!) and ACTUALLY DOING IT. I’m blown away.

P.S. the title is supposed to be “watermelong sugar HIGH (they HAVE to be high bc what the actual heck)”. yes ;D now the song is stuck in your head- perfect!

Hey, y’all! You may think that me, the coolest person on this site, is Aditi, but NO!! IT’S NOT! IT’S BECK!! HI!! WASSUP!! THIS IS MY BLOG NOW

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Tho in all seriousness Aditi IS the coolest person on this site…. I’m the coolest pile of trash on this site. And you can’t say “nO yOU’RE noT a PilE oF trASh, bEcK!”

Have you met me? Have you seen me irl? I THOUGHT NOT. NO. YOu HAVEN’T. SO STOP MAKING ASSUMPTIONS.

Anyway it is meme time, my dudes! I’m going to rate some of the weird watermelon memes and pictures I have saved on my phone. I actually have a lot of those.

LET’S GET STARTED!!

Oh and most of these memes I found at this terrific instagram page:: @ireallylikewatermelons


#1- WATERMELON LADY

This picture actually has some history with me… My friend and I had a watermelon revolution on our class discord server because SOMEONE DELETED THE EMOJI WE MADE OF HER!! Idk why they did.

Anyway she gets a solid 69/69 for pure watermelonness.


#2- GRAMMELON

I feel like she’d have these dishes:

Whitehall Amber Iced Tea by Colony Image 1

I actually have these cups.

But uhm anyway she’d probably forcefeed you watermelon flavored meatloaf. 77/1000.


3- AN ACTUAL MEME

STAR WARS AND WATERMELON CROSSOVER.

Ive Been Looking Forward To This Dooku GIF - IveBeenLookingForwardToThis  Dooku Revenge - Discover & Share GIFs

Lowkey feels abelist for making a disabled joke bUT I don’t know?? I guess?? 85/150


#4- HARK! A CALL FROM YOUR LOVER!

I would 1978658380% answer because oh yes that’s my type.

Bride GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

1/1 because he’s the one.


#5- DO NOT DO THIS… YET

I love it. This kind of meme is my jam okay.

Wait. Is watermelon jam a thing? Brb

BRUH

BRUH

Watermelon Jam My goodness this is so Good!! I'd been searching for  ways to save and preserve for quite awh… | Watermelon jam, Canning recipes,  Canning jam

I WANT SOME SO BAD BUT ALSO I NEVER WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN

Anyway it gets a 10/9.


THAT’S ALL FOR NOW! I’D THANK ADITI FOR LETTING ME DO THIS BUT HONESTLY SHE SHOULD BE THANKING ME… JK JK JK I’M NOT THAT SELF ABSORBED THANK YOU SO MUCH ADITI IF YOU ACTUALLY TOOK THIS HAHAHAH AIGHT I’MMA HEAD OUT