No time off is necessary for Good Friday, MLK Jr. Day
Good Friday vs. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The great debate continues.
I belong to the Student Government Association (motto: “Proudly Serving About 120 CMU Students”). Each year, this fine organization passes a resolution urging the need to celebrate MLKJ Day by canceling class, and each year the proposal gets shot down, with good reason.
The only holiday CMU intentionally celebrates in the spring is Good Friday, which doesn’t make much sense since most other businesses and schools continue their daily lives on this day. Of course, this is the same university that paints random white lines and puts up fences that obstruct driving ability, so nobody is too surprised by anything that happens around here anymore.
Anyway, people wonder why we have Good Friday off and not MLKJ Day. After all, both Jesus and MLK were men of peace and dark skin. Both said unpopular things in a time when they needed to be said. Sure, Jesus was (and still is) our Lord and Savior, but MLK was Baptist!
The point is, we should not have either day off. Many people play the MLKJ day card as a race issue, saying that he was an important black leader that should be honored. I totally agree with this. But a day off is not the way to do it.
What does a day off get us? Students who don’t have class will stay at home, study, play video games and drink, even if the holiday means something. People do this for all holidays, including Boxing Day, Thanksgiving and Bangles Day, which falls on a hectic Monday every year (har!).
If students have class on MLKJ Day, they will already be on campus and more likely to stop by a booth or seminar between classes. If students learn about the man on their own free will, his legacy will be much more effective.
Shoving MLK down our throats, though, by making us feel guilty for not wanting a day off is a sick way to prove a point. The same holds true for Good Friday; would Jesus want us to put our lives on hold to honor Him, or would he want us to help others and live as He did?
I cannot bring this issue up in SGA because I get rocks hurled at me from all of the Democrats and African-Americans in attendance. Through a string of four-letter words and spittle flying around the room, they inform me that black people just want their one day to honor this one man and I just don’t understand culture and I should die for even considering doing anything on MLKJ Day besides kissing his ... gravestone.
I feel that to really honor MLK and Jesus, we should act as they would, especially on those two days. It’s what they would want, and it’s how we can continue their vision for a more peaceful world. Demanding a day off accomplishes nothing; forcing people to attend programs and lectures about men they never met only further polarizes people.
For academic concerns, I suggest that professors not do anything demanding on these days. No tests or mandatory classes — because students who feel strongly will skip anyway, and it is not fair to punish them. Some people call America a “Christian” or “white” country. And yes, we will never satisfy everybody. So make the holidays optional, since people want to keep crying about it.
Plus, if we get MLK Day off, how about a day off for prominent dead Arab, Hispanic and Japanese leaders? Sound like a stupid idea? So does getting MLK Day off simply because he was black. It’s because he was a great American that he needs to be honored — not with a day, but with continuous actions.
On Good Friday, I will probably go to church to honor Jesus. On MLK Day, I will surf the Net to find out some info on him. But more importantly, I will devote those two days to helping others and being a good friend to anyone who needs it, regardless of race, creed or Social Security number.
It’s what they would want.