Filial Piety: Martin Luther King Jr.

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Filial Piety Filial piety generally means respect for one's parents. In the Chinese culture, obeying one's parents is held as one the most important virtues. Confucianism particularly gives a high value for this. Relating the meaning of filial piety to Martin Luther King Jr. time would have been an endless cycle of mistakes. Martin Luther King Jr.’s role during his era was to change the mindsets of all parent figures and children to better the future of African Americans in the United States. As Confucius says, “ When your father is alive, observe what he would like to do. After your father is dead, reflect on what he has done. If for three years you refrain from altering your father’s way, you can be called filial [xiao].” (1.11, The Analects).…show more content…
As Confucius says, “Nowadays this is taken to mean being able to feed your parents. But dogs and horses can do as much. If you are not respectful, how are we different?” (2.7, The Analects). You cannot treat your parents as a chore. Being filial nowadays is seen as obeying and respecting your parents because you have too. For a son to truly be filial he has to want to obey and want to respect his parents. Not only because he does not want to be disowned. As for MLK in order to uplift the human personality, one has to choose to want to uplift themselves. Every individual is uplifted or degraded by the laws they choose to be just or unjust. One single moral code will not be fit for everyone. If growth with a person’s mindset is seen as a chore then the growth is not growth but further…show more content…
Martin Luther King Jr. would argue and say the one that can tell the difference between a just and unjust law is the gentleman. Yet, Confucius would argue and say the gentleman is the one that is willing to take action while the petty man is all talk. As Confucius states, “He first puts his word into action. He then lets his words follow his action.” (2.13, The Analects). The gentleman knows and understands the power of words. In order to not let others down it is best to allow his actions to speak for him then allow words to further shape his actions. MLK was a man of words, he allowed his words to encourage others to want change and take action. Although, MLK was not a man of actions as Malcolm X was one can argue that his words were action enough. Confucius also mentions, “ The gentleman [junzi] understands what is morally right. The petty man [xiaoren] understands what is profitable.” (4.16, The Analects). A gentleman can distinguish can between what is morally right or wrong and MLK would agree. While the petty man only interest is in favor of himself, a petty man will not care about a just or unjust and will not care whether or not his words reflect his actions vice

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