According to the two texts, Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Junior and In response to Executive Order 9066 by Dwight Okita, the issue of racism and discrimination greatly features in both texts. The two pieces of writing were written to respond to other pieces of writing that landed the authors in detention or segregation. In Letter from Birmingham Jail, the author is writing to respond to a newspaper pull out written by white clergymen who criticized his involvement in the protests that took place in Birmingham. In the second text, In response to Executive Order 9066 the author, who is a young girl, writes innocently to protest the incarceration that was meted on her and her family and entire Japanese (Jago 02). In view of the two texts, the essay seeks to examine the subject of incarceration and discrimination and whether the two authors responded appropriately. Did the authors respond to the issues that were facing them appropriately?
In the opening words of the Letter from Birmingham Jail, the author begins the text with reasons why he is writing the letter and then he gives logical reasons as to why the injustice in Birmingham is a threat to justice everywhere. Perhaps it is understood that the author is writing the letter in detention following the protests that he led in Birmingham despite being a nonresident of the town. In the second text, In response to Executive order 9066; a young innocent girl finds herself in a melee of incarceration that was facing American Japanese. The young girl, Dwight Okita, do not seem to understand the reasons for the incarceration and she only got a to know how serious the issue was when her close friend, Denise, scolded her for revealing secrets to the American enemies. The whole issue happened so quickly such that she explains how she had to pack her things in a hurry because they had to be in a desert camp as per the president's directive. As it stands out, the introduction of the two texts shows the level of dilemma that the two authors were in as a result of the issue of race. It is clear that while one was incarcerated for demonstrating, the other was incarcerated for being among the perceived traitors of the nation (Jago 01). Indeed, the response given at the beginning of each text shows that the two authors were disappointed and they felt let down by the move to have them incarcerated. It is quite unfortunate for Dwight Okita to find herself amidst all the chaos and confusion laced with hate from friends and entire white populous just because the president signed an executive order to have them incarcerated because they were suspected of leaking secrets to American enemies.
Unlike Martin Luther King Junior who is of age to understand the reasons that led to his detention, Okita doesnt have even a glimpse of what was going on and it is explained by the fact that she still approached her close friend Denise warmly not knowing that she was already hated her. Incarceration and discrimination are the perspectives of the two authors differ in the sense that one author, Martin Luther, understood very well what will befall him if he was to be arrested and perhaps he pre-empted his arrest in the quote; Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of police brutality is known in every section of this country. Its unjust treatment of Negroes in the courts is a notorious reality (King 02).
Luther was aware of the consequences of his actions which he knew it may end up with being arrested and detention and perhaps he was prepared for any eventuality. However, unlike Luther, Dwight was unaware of what they she was going through and it can be expressed in the quote; I saw Denise today in Geography class. She was sitting on the other side of the room. Youre trying to start a war, she said, giving secrets away to the Enemy. Why cant you keep your big mouth shut? (Okita 01). Okita was not aware of the hate that her friend harbored and she was shocked to learn about it from her friends. It can be seen also that Denises parents might have painted Okita in bad light thus leading to the harsh treatment that she received from her all-time close friend.
Luthers response to the issues that were facing him can be termed as mature because from his response it can be seen that he was fully mature and had a way of words in expressing various issues that were happening to the African Americans in as far as racial prejudice is concerned. On the other hand, Okita is completely innocent of the events that led to their incarceration; she even uses the symbol of tomato seeds as a sign of friendship to her friend Denise, a symbol which can be interpreted to mean that their friendship would blossom again after the incarceration. In as far as responses from the two authors are concerned; it is clear that Luther is responding from an informed point of view while Okita is responding from the uninformed point of view. Okita's response is more of an inquiry into the whole aspect of incarceration and she uses a choice of words that appeal to emotions (Jago 03). Because just like any other child, fourteen years to be precise, they will like to understand why their all-time favorite friends are no longer studying with them, they would also like to know why are they being relocated against their will, more so against the will of their parents. Luthers response to the issue of discrimination appeals to all senses, logic, emotions, and ethos since he began by justifying his presence in Birmingham and then he went ahead to explain why the issue of racial prejudice was a cross violation of human rights as well as well as explaining how the sociocultural construct as constituted then was getting it all wrong in as far as the issue is concerned.
Generally, both texts respond to the issue of discrimination and incarceration in different ways but the bottom line as per the intention of the two authors is to inform others about the discomfort that comes with the prejudice. The two authors made their displeasure both expressly and covertly in a manner that their understanding of the whole issue allowed them. Luther was very comprehensive in his response while Okita was more of an innocent reaction to the superficial issue of not living a normal life where she can interact with her friends.
Okita, Dwight, In response to Executive Order 9066, All Americans of Japanese Decent Must Report to Relocation Centers uclajournals.org. 2011.
Jago, Carol, et al. Literature & Composition: Reading, Writing, Thinking. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011
King Jr, Martin Luther. "Letter from Birmingham city jail." (1963)
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