A Martin Luther King Jr. quote displayed at the University of Oregon narrowly escaped being erased after student leaders worried it wasn’t inclusive enough.
The school’s Erb Memorial Union, currently under renovation, has the following King quote placed prominently on one of its walls: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream … ”
The quote may seem pretty inclusive, but according to the Daily Emerald, the renovations prompted a question about whether King’s statement was appropriate for modern-day sensibilities.
“Does the MLK quote represent us today?” Student Maria Ashley reportedly asked. “Diversity is so much more than race. Obviously race still plays a big role. But there are people who identify differently in gender and all sorts of things like that.” (RELATED: Elite Chicago HS Plans ‘Racial Identity’ Seminars For MLK Day)
For now, though, the quote will be staying in place, but student union director Laurie Woodward said she was happy that people were questioning it.
“What words are is important,” she says, “but what’s more important is that people think about what the words should be.”
Incidentally, the quote that previously occupied the wall prior to King’s was itself removed for not being inclusive enough. The quote, by former Oregon dean William C. Jones, spoke about the university pursuing “the good life for all men,” and was replaced after students complained that using “men” to refer to mankind was sexist. The university considered modifying the quote slightly, but Jones himself rejected the idea, saying he didn’t want to “give hostage to ignorance.”
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