Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday requires some reflection, I suppose. I’ve been thinking about it most of the day, although not in a normal sense.
King was a black man, fighting for equal human rights for all people, regardless of race, I wonder what he would say if he were in this country today. Do you think he would be happy or sad at the way it all turned out? Would he be proud of the public persona used by so many black people today, based upon the leaders of today–not scientists or engineers or writers, but Snoop Dogg?* Or would he lament at the continuing divide between people of different races and cultures?
I’m not taking a side. Well, I am, but I don’t mean to put down any particular aspect of life of ANY race. Our culture in this country is this way because WE make it that way. We can’t blame it on our fathers and grandfathers, but neither can we blame “the other side.” Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world,”** and he was right. WE have to be the ones who complete Dr. King’s Dream.
I don’t advocate violent means to do this, just a change in perception. The first change needs to be yourself–how do you (whatever your race) view a member of another race? Do you recognize it as the first thing you see? Or does it not matter to you? What is your reaction? When you see a white person, do you make sure they can’t grab your wallet as they pass?
It’s something I need to remind myself of all the time. Growing up in Vermont does not prepare you for meeting people who are different in many ways–and new things are scary. But most of the time it’s fun to learn, and I hope that we can all learn together.
There, that ends my pseudo-sappy language for the month.
[*Why did I pick on Snoop? Is he morally reprehensible? 2014-02-03]
[**Actually, I think he never said this, but he expressed this idea at some point and it’s been whittled down to this phrase. 2014-02-03]