23 November 2011

social justice & advice columns

Martin Luther King, Jr. (uploaded from TheRoot.com)
are there any other combinations that could be more incongruous?  yet, they are two of my favorite things!  i am committed to living ethically and fighting for social justice.  and i love advice columns.  (i feel like i should stand up as though at an advice column readers anonymous meeting.)

so you know that i was absolutely undone when i read that Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote an advice column for Ebony magazine from 1957-1958.  so this was post-Montgomery Bus Boycott, people. incredible!

the column was titled "Advice for Living," and from the few snippets i've read, it adheres to the advice column style that we know. people were writing in for advice about love, relationships, etc.  and King's answers range from spot-on, hilarious to unfortunate.

so, of course, my "big idea" wheels are churning and i'm wondering whether radical politics and advice-giving could be made congruous.

hmmm.  so what might that look like?

dear marya:  i'm part of the 99% and have been active in the occupy movement.  we have been getting donations from restaurants and most of the food isn't vegan.  yet, i am.  i don't know whether to fast, sneak out to cafe green and spend $20+ on a delicious meal or just be grateful for what's been given with love and eat it. signed hungry and vegan everyday

dear have:  first, i want to commend you for being part of the 99% and doing your part to bring forth a more equitable world.  i feel your (hunger) pain(s).  i have also thought about joining occupy dc for a weekend and i stop myself because of my concern about what the hell i would eat.  on the one hand, you want to stay true to your personal ethics and your commitment to ending factory farming in the u.s.  at the same time, you understand that sharing food is an important part of being communal and that there is serious disparity in food access and you don't want to contribute to a 1% food culture.  so what to do?  first, accept that there is no one right answer.  second, that whatever you decide is ok.  i would also talk to the food coordinator and reach out to local groups, including food not bombs, vsdc and cok for donations and suggestions.

what's your verdict?  congruous or incongruous?