My students and I were talking in class about how Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi were both influenced by Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" essay. The question arose in class as to whether there might be a person alive now that would have a dynamic personality and ability to speak out for racial discrimination beyond the black and white problem. 2 of my students are Hispanic and are constantly looked down upon as if they must be an illegal immigrant because of their accent and the color of their skin. There's still much racial discrimination among many groups in this country. And there still are too few ways for would-be illegals to enter the country in a viable legal status to do the jobs that Americans don't want to do. The hope is that Obama could be this type of voice, but the students seemed to think he is still mending the rift between blacks and whites rather than focusing on the rifts between all the races. I'm not sure that civil disobedience is the answer to the multi-racial problems that we still have in this country. But there is a need for a dynamic non-white leader to be inspired as King and Gandhi were by Thoreau. King's non-violent civil disobedience brought rights to the blacks while Gandhi brought freedom to the Indians from Great Britain. Universal multi-racial tolerance would be quite the miracle, wouldn't it? But it has to start somewhere. Thoreau's refusal to pay taxes that supported a government that allowed slavery didn't necessarily put an end to slavery, but it was a beginning.