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Myths and heroes - oral bac anglais LV2

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Par   •  1 Avril 2020  •  Dissertation  •  738 Mots (3 Pages)  •  710 Vues

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Myths and Heroes

A myth is a traditional story used to explain certain social or historical phenomena. It is a widely held though partly false belief that usually involves a hero. Per se, when we say « hero », we consider him/her as an extraordinary person that has extremely noble qualities such as altruism or wisdom. 

Today I’m going to talk about Segregation in the US, and you may wonder how it is related to the notion. Well, at that time, other countries considered the United States of America as the world’s democratic leader while the country was actually going through a civil war that went against democracy. By debunking the American democratic image worldwide, the revolutionists were, in fact, debunking a myth. But  Is breaking a myth considered as heroism ?

Normally, and historically, a myth is linked to a hero. Thus, a hero is the main actor of a myth. Joseph Campbell, in his book « The hero with a thousand faces » , considers that all heroes are part of the same myth, the mono-myth. They all lead similar journeys, although in different circumstances. The hero myth, according to him, exists in all human cultures, and keeps getting updated as the world keeps changing. The Hero’s journey is all about leaving one’s comfort zone, having an experience that transforms you and the world around you, recovering, and then doing all of it once again. And the cycle goes on and on. 

 When a journalist once asked President Obama « What does it take to be a hero ?» He brilliantly voiced his answer, and said: Heroes are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. They help transform the world, and they never know how actions are going to ripple over time. Which means that heroes are not always part of a myth, a hero can be just a friend taking other friends’ keys before they drive drunk.

During segregation, heroes were ironically fighting against a myth. The heroes were fighting for their truthful rights by different means. Sitting on a whites-only seat on the bus as Rosa Parks did or delivering speeches as Martin Luther King did or even singing songs as Ray Charles did. By all means, these heroes spread their influence across the United States of America and the world. In class, we saw how Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s challenging gesture during the Summer Olympics in 1968 promoted equal status for African-Americans. Earlier that year, the USA witnessed  the assassination of two very important people: Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The document we studied is an extract of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award Ceremony where the two athletes were given an honor award and a very moving video presenting their journey was shown. The video revealed the two sides of the coin. First their rewriting the moment of their receiving medals as they took the opportunity, being on such a huge platform , as to raise awareness of matters of civil rights and social responsibility. They rose their gloved fists and bowed their heads, bare foot, to both assert their dignity and remind people of their poor childhoods and current oppression. But by doing that, they debunked the myth of the United States of America being a democracy. This is where we get to the other side of the coin, as these heroes were rejected by the American society for showing the world what was really happening in the United States. They received death threats and hate mail, suffered isolation, harassment and unemployment . And, after years of a silent combat, they finally got what they deserved, a statue on the San José University campus in their honor, and the Arthur Ash Courage Award. 

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