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The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice

If there were any day to get weepy about social justice, today seems like a likely candidate. We can get bogged down in the moment, and despair of things ever becoming better, but look to ten years ago, look to 30 years ago, look to 200 years ago. When we take a more expansive view of things, the arc of the moral universe does indeed bend towards justice. Mankind in the moment can be grasping and selfish and short-sighted, but there are always also people who push us to be better, even at the expense of our own well-being (look to slave owners whose livelihoods would be ruined by emancipation).

Even in the past five years, we have seen a groundswell of outrage that feels new. I speak primarily of outrage directed at our media, which can feel like a trivial thing until you realize how much our views are shaped by what we see and what we are told is acceptable. Percentage of women who had a speaking role in the 100 most popular films in 2012? 28.4. Percentage of people of color who are starring in the upcoming Gods of Egypt? I believe that would be 0. This would, in the past, be unremarkable, or those who remarked on it would have a small voice and no reach. Now it is noticed. Now it is ridiculous when Benedict Cumberbatch, the whitest of white people, is cast as Khan in the latest Star Trek movie, a role originated by Ricardo Montalban. 

LGBT people, who for decades and, let's be honest, centuries/millennia, have had to be silent and hide, now protest not only a lack of representation, but deliberate queerbaiting by shows that would like them as viewers, but are too scared to actually represent them. Real representation in a groundbreaking number of television shows has made the LGBT community much less patient than it used to be. While LGBT subtext alone used to be greeted with expressions of immense gratitude, it is now examined with suspicion as to the creators' motives, while other canon representation is held up as proof that this could happen and questions are asked regarding why it is not.

Gay rights. Black Lives Matter. Women's equality. These are all part of Martin Luther King, Jr's heritage, being either inspired by his activism or direct descendants of it. As I heard this week, thank God for our dreams, and the hope they give us to make the world a better place.


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