Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lost his life in the fight for freedom and equality 50 years ago on April 4, 1968. Throughout this year, Grace and Race Ministries, Inc. will share some of the quotes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that spur us into personal and collective action.Today let’s embrace what it means to be maladjusted in support of anti-racism.
When I ask myself how I want to be seen by others, “maladjusted” would not be my first choice of words. When I ask myself what it means to be seen as a Christian, then I readily Dr. King’s call to become “maladjusted.” We are called to be transformed, to be new creatures in Christ, to love others as Christ loves us, to live in grace.
Dr. King made this statement in a speech on December 18, 1963 at Western Michigan University.
Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in modern psychology. It is the word “maladjusted.” This word is the ringing cry to modern child psychology. Certainly, we all want to avoid the maladjusted life. In order to have real adjustment within our personalities, we all want the well‐adjusted life in order to avoid neurosis, schizophrenic personalities.But I say to you, my friends, as I move to my conclusion, there are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good‐will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self‐defeating effects of physical violence…In other words, I’m about convinced now that there is need for a new organization in our world. The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment‐‐men and women who will be as maladjusted as the prophet Amos. Who in the midst of the injustices of his day could cry out in words that echo across the centuries, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
I commend you on your efforts to bring attention to racism by starting this dialogue. I think we will accomplish more through education and actively pursuing those who practice racism. This must begin with us realizing that racism is more than a black/white issue but is pervasive throughout all society and is prevalent in all races. It is not just a skin color issue but a heart and cultural issue.
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