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.


“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.

tales of the yellow sky | writing and such

is the taste of the sky the color of ash?

perhaps, could it be the feeling of sitting in a tub of water after a long day, leaning your head back against the wall, lathering the shampoo into your hair? the feeling of washing off grime from the soles of your feet after a long walk with your mother, the feeling of your feet pressing on a bike’s pedals deep into the night, aching (but in a good way), the feeling of ignoring the baby pink journal that sits on your desk reminding you that you have one, two, three things left to do for the day, the feeling of a sky yellower than one could imagine, burrowing away deep inside of one’s soul.

one might say it’s all of these. another might say it’s none of these.

what would i say, you ask? well, i’m so glad you asked.

i would say that one night it could be one of these, and the next night it could be another of these. and last night it was something completely different.

and so it goes on. the sky tastes like amber and lavender, i would tell you. and sometimes it’s roses and sunflowers, too. but right now, the sky is like burnt caramel left on the stove too long. it’s the feeling you get when it’s too dark outside to feel at ease but too early for it to be an excuse. the sky right now does taste like ash.

quite literally, i mean.

you would say it tastes like ash because it has a soft glow, like the last embers of a fireplace flew far away and settled down outside, nestled into the snowy. or because it’s thick on your tongue, like the word you needed yesterday that was almost there- but not quite. you only remembered it today, and you cursed your damn self for forgetting it. oh! you thought, that was the word.

you would say it tastes like ash because of all the ways you think it does. i would tell you that no, it doesn’t taste like ash because of the fireplace and caramel and thick tongues and whatever antics you’re coming up with. it tastes like ash because it tastes like ash. it really does.

i mean, the sky is practically burning. it’s orange and lit on fire, casting a dusky glow (flame?) onto me and you and us all. it’s not actually on fire- not yet, at least- but it is a hundred miles up north, and it is a few hundred down south.

i sit at my desk tapping away at a hulk of metal with some wires in it, the window open and the lights off (it’s two PM on a summer afternoon, i say- why would i need the lights?). the ash rains down in small, soft layers. like it’s a cottony flower, a dandelion, drifting down as a gift from the heavens, settling down on my desk like a thin layer of syrup left out for the hummingbirds.

only, it’s ash. not syrup or sugar or caramel or amber. it’s ash, and there’s ash raining from the sky, aditi and there’s nothing we can do about it because what would we do? try and battle the ash, spear versus empty space?

so we do what we only know- we sweep up the ash off of my table and off of the walls of our house from the outside (“it could come inside, too- close the windows!”) and watch with the rest of the world to see if it’s the end of the world or not.

we do what everyone else does. sleep (or try to, at least), wake up, eat, go for a walk (“no! you’ll get sick!” “nonsense, they always say that. i’m fine.”), and log into school, listening to our teachers tell us how the sky is yellow. then we pull out our phones and see the pictures of an orange sky a couple dozen miles away. are they trying to one-up us?, we joke. but we’re helpless and there’s nothing we can do about it other than wait.

we’ve already waited. we waited two weeks ago and two weeks later, when they told us we were breathing in the ash and it was settling into our lungs, making itself at home, and we should be ready to leave everything we know in the blink of a moment. we waited now and tomorrow when the ash dusts our home like a thin layer of snow. toxic snow.

and we’ll keep waiting, in the dark, looking at the yellow sky, while messages and news and stories and anecdotes and pictures pour into the rest of the world.

what’s going on over there? they ask. oh, they’re burning, someone replies nonchalantly.

WE are burning! you reply indignantly. the city i grew up in is bathed in orange glow! you cry out.

but it’s all the same to them, and if that small difference means the world to you, it doesn’t mean anything to them.

so we go on, thinking this is normal, and no one tells us anything different. we go on thinking there’s nothing we can do about it, and so does everyone else.

but! someone says, and you hear a tiny voice somewhere far out. help us. the voice whispers. you have a voice. i do not. the person speaks for thousands more, a chorus of voices that grows in numbers to tens and hundreds of thousands.

you have a voice. i do not.

If you can, please donate to any one of the links here which are donation links for the fires based in California. Wildfire relief fund. CA natural disaster response. Individual family GoFundMe pages. Commemorating fallen firefighters and their communities. Incident updates (over 1.2 million acres have burned).

5 YA Books By Black Authors You NEED // police brutality, West African magic, LGBTQ+ contemporaries, and more

Hey friends!

It’s been quite a few days since I’ve last posted here, which is disappointing me. (yes, disappointing me– the same person who made the decision to procrastinate on my blog posts.)

The last post I wrote was a quite angry rant dedicated to any of my lovely “All Lives Matter” readers who I hope I pissed off.

This time, though, I want to write something a little bit more actionable beyond just thoughts (although thoughts are incredibly powerful). That’s why I wanted to share five amazing books by Black authors that I’ve read and loved.

In these troubling times, it’s crucial that we support Black-owned businesses and, as a part of the bookish community, I want to use my small platform to raise awareness of these phenomenal reads. Also, almost all of these books written by Black women authors, and the only non-woman author is nonbinary.

Before I get into these recommendations, I wanted to add that I am not a #ownvoices reviewer when it comes to books by Black authors. Please support Black book-content creators and take their word when it comes to accurate/harmful representation in books! However, as far as I know, most of these books are well-liked and do not have any “controversies” regarding representation. Feel free to correct me so I can add a disclaimer in my post!


1. “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

Continue reading “5 YA Books By Black Authors You NEED // police brutality, West African magic, LGBTQ+ contemporaries, and more”

Why it’s #BlackLivesMatter, NOT #AllLivesMatter

*TW: police brutality, racism*

i can’t explain how dejected i feel right now-

PSA: i am not black and in no way am i trying to say that i understand how it feels to live this nightmare. however, i am a poc and i also fear for my life, although to a lesser extent because i have privilege- the criminal justice system doesn’t hate me as much as they hate my black brothers and sisters and siblings.

For everyone who doesn’t live in the USA or just doesn’t have an idea what I might be talking about, the USA has had a stream of racist hate crimes and police brutality over the last month or so.

It makes me really angry to see that people DENY that this is police brutality, that this is racism- it literally is.

In late March, Ahmaud Arbery was out jogging (mind you, he was holding a TV, but he was just out in his neighborhood) when two white men (who were later identified to be white supremacists) shot. him.

Guess what? THERE WAS A VIDEO. But no action was taken. 

Those men weren’t even freaking arrested. A month later, the video was leaked onto social media and it went viral. The hashtags #JusticeForAhmaud and #RunWithMaud became trending and the local police department FINALLY took action and arrested these two men.



Then a few weeks ago, Breonna Taylor and her husband were sleeping in their apartment at 1:00 AM like any normal person would do.

Breonna was a healthcare worker, and she worked on the frontlines with COVID patients. She saved lives.

The police knocked down their door at 1 AM (because they suspected her boyfriend committed a crime that he didn’t, actually- the suspects lived 10 miles away!) and, well, Breonna’s boyfriend was obviously worried that they were being robbed.

He fired one (1) shot, and the police proceeded to unload over twenty shots at them. Eight hit Breonna.

She died on the spot. Her boyfriend was charged with attempted murder. The cops were not charged at all.

Okay, okay, but maybe this one wasn’t a hate crime, right?

A few days ago, a video surfaced of George Floyd, a Black man, laying on the road with a white police officer’s knee at his throat. For ten minutes, the police officer slowly suffocated him until he died at a hospital soon after.

He could be heard saying “I can’t breathe“. Maybe you’ve seen the hashtags #JusticeForGeorge and #ICan’tBreathe on Twitter and Insta.

Maybe you’ve also seen #BlackLivesMatter. The sudden spike of posts under this hashtag has also warranted a spike in the amount of #AllLivesMatter posts.

I’m here to tell you something important: if you say ‘All Lives Matter’ , you’re unintentionally being racist.

First: this doesn’t mean that you’re a racist. A few years ago, a teacher talked to us about Black Lives Matter and I remember thinking, annoyed, don’t brown lives matter too? ALL lives matter, why specifically black people?

I’ve realized, though, that the problem with All Lives Matter is not the words- yes, all lives obviously matter, we all know that– it’s the connotation and the line of thinking that goes behind these words.

In our criminal justice system, in our country, in our society, in our WORLD, Black lives matter less.

The system has placed Black lives below white lives and even other people of color’s lives.

I’m Asian, I’m brown-skinned, but in my community, there is anti-Blackness. I have seen it first-hand. I have had to unlearn my own biases (and I’m still doing it).

In the media, headlines about Black people are thought to be ‘less important’ and shoved to the backseat. Job applications with names that “sound Black” (e.g. DeShawn or Precious) are often thrown out without a glance. Black people just walking makes white women steer clear and grab their children close. White people with Confederate flags (reminder for my intl friends: that was the South in the Civil War. They supported slavery) are protected by the police while peaceful Black protestors are sprayed with tear gas.

The Black Lives Matter movement just wants Black lives to matter just as much as white lives.

By saying “All Lives Matter”, you’re drawing attention away from the movement which is actively trying to fight for equity regardless of skin color. You’re literally taking away from the anti-racist movement.

In other words, you’re (accidentally) helping the racists.

But it’s okay, making mistakes is okay. Learning from them is awesome! Just understand that the BLM movement is saying that in the status quo, Black Lives do not matter to America- they are undervalued. The goal is for Black lives to matter just as much as others’ lives.

Here’s an example:

Imagine that three patients have been admitted to the hospital. Patient One has a cold. Patient Two has a broken arm. And Patient Three has lost blood and needs life support ASAP.

Who needs the most immediate care?

Patient Three, who is suffering the most, of course.

The All Lives Matter movement is basically saying that you should treat them all as if they are equal wounds. As if the person dying is suffering the same as the person with the cold.

Now, this is a simple analysis in which Person One is White America, Person Two is other POCs like me, and Person Three is Black America.

Obviously, Person Three needs support now. They are at a DISADVANTAGE.

That’s how Black America feels.

Now, another part of the All Lives Matter movement are just people who are plain racist. But a HUGE portion is people like me-two-years-ago, who just didn’t understand why All Lives Matter is not the right saying to make a difference.

And then there’s those fragile white people, especially, who badly want to be oppressed.

(also a little like me-two-years-ago. so I guess mostly white ppl but also random uneducated POC)

Of course, the majority of white people do not feel like that, but there are some people who are literally desperate to be ‘oppressed’.

~bUt OnE tiME a bLaCk pErSon wAs MeAn To mE~

I just want everyone who is reading this to stop. 

Look away from the screen and breathe, deeply.

Mourn for Ahmaud, mourn for Breonna, mourn for George, and mourn for all the Black people who lost their lives as a result of racism.

We remember you, and we will not stop fighting for you.

– Aditi ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

Why Feminism Sucks

Feminism is stupid.

It’s completely, utterly stupid.

I mean, can you imagine that? Wanting equality? Isn’t that just wishy-washy nonsense? There’s obviously a hidden meaning behind that.

You may be thinking, Well, I’m a feminist! Why would you ever say that it is stupid? But I have a revelation for you. You might think you’re all high-and-mighty, demanding something so radical and unachievable (come on- it’s not like it even makes SENSE) but you’re just poor, misguided and bored little girls.

Even the dictionary agrees that feminism is idiotic! See, look at Merriam-Webster: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of-” 

Oh. Well. It’s not like M-W is even RELIABLE. Urban Dictionary, of course, will give us the most accurate answer. See, there’s even three amazingly accurate definitions:

  1. “The worship of self. If you are a woman. Especially if you are a deadbeat weight to society.”

  2. “Feminism is a movement full of women who seem to think that their ability to (have a baby) entitles them to bigger and better everything.”

  3. “What women who can’t get (a date) turn to when lesbians don’t want to be around them, either.”

As you can see, the very reliable and trustworthy editors of Urban Dictionary agree with me! After all, the very radical and incomprehensible causes of equality doesn’t warrant anything much! Continue reading “Why Feminism Sucks”

Hinduism Q&A ANSWERS*! ft. another late q&a answer post

***contents under pressure***

*written by a very brain-dead human who duly apologizes for the late post*

Well, hello there. Let’s get started, huh?

I wanted you guys to comment below any questions you have about Hinduism. From meditation and yoga to rituals and beliefs to food and holidays- I’m answering everything you wanted to know! First, I’d like to start off with an overview:

Hinduism is a lifestyle. It started as Sanathana Dharma, a way to live, and a way to carry yourself through the day with something to believe in and keep you on a morally clear path throughout your life. When the British took over (omg Ellll 😂) they named Sanathana Dharma ‘Hinduism’, since India is also called Hindustan. That’s where the name came from.

Hindusim believes in one God, an energy that keeps us grounded and lives in each and every one of us. We also call it the Universe, or paramatma. That’s what we mean when we say that God is in all of us. You may have thought that we worship hundreds of gods- and that’s partly true. Most of these gods (Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Devi, Karthikeya, Ganesha, etc.) are other just ways to worship God and be able to relate to God more, in a personal way, through the stories and mythology. For example, Ganesha is the god of removing obstacles and Hindus pray to Him when we want success and luck.

We understand that God is an omnipresent energy that lives in us and everywhere around us, and the best way to live our lives is to follow the path of dharma (truth), do our duty, give back to the Universe, and live with a balanced karma. When we die and leave the body (our vessel through this life only), our soul/spirit/athma chooses another body for reincarnation. Our next life is based upon the type of life we lead now.

Other gods, like Krishna and Rama, were real people who lived on Earth with the rest of us. They are incarations of God, blessing us in our direst times. They are both incarnations of Vishnu, god of transformation and preservation.

I know lots of you don’t know anything about Hinduism at all, so I hope this overview helps you understand what’s going on in this post! (btw we’re at 700 words already just with the questions and this omg)

Continue reading “Hinduism Q&A ANSWERS*! ft. another late q&a answer post”