Fifty years ago today Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, and today we have a national holiday; but we have less respect for one another than ever as a nation.
A great deal of white America loves to talk about black-on-black crime, but somehow never uses that term for other crime.
A great deal of white America loves to say that they see everyone as equal, until a black family moves in nearby. Do you feel that way with your other ethnic neighbors?
A great deal of white America loves to say that this is a land of opportunity, and that you just have to work hard enough. Sounds good, but if you are not considering the powerful evil of the new Jim Crow then all the hard work in the world means nothing.
A great deal of white America is blind to the implications of police shootings, with the most recent being Stephon Clark. However, justice is fleeting for everyone from Trayvon Martin (shot by a “stand your ground” George Zimmerman acting in a form of community watch – self-policing), to Sandra Bland, to Tamir Rice, to Philando Castile, to the list goes on and on. Nikolas Cruz, Dylan Roof, and a number of other truly dangerous white shooters were taken into custody alive and given due process. The evidence of this imbalance is overwhelming. Ignorance, and ignorant hateful remarks wrapped in what people believe as “free speech” persist. That along with a powerful misunderstanding of what free speech and First Amendment rights actually are. And even if the officers who shoot are unaware of their internal bias, that does not mean that the bias does not exist and that it should not be dealt with.
A great deal of white America thinks that the Civil War is over and that we should just move on. What about the hateful history of someone buying, selling, trading human beings born with the same dignity and grace, but who were seen as chattel? Did you know that people were bought and sold about every three minutes.
On that same topic, a great deal of white America and the get-over-it notion has very little idea of the real history of the Civil War. Why? Because most of us were not taught what really happened. Try the Uncivil Podcast as a starting resource, plus great episodes of The Nod. Here are some Uncivil episodes that stand out; this one, and this one, and this one. As for The Nod, try these episodes here and this two–parter. (And a shout out to Gimlet Media for producing such podcast excellence!)
A great deal of white America sees itself as the standard or the norm, and sees people of color in roles of those who need to become more like us. Why? Here is a podcast that has a segment worth listening to on this and other pertinent topics – Pod Save America, featuring an interview with community organizer and activist, Berry Accius.
If you wish to honor the memory of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr today, think, pray, reflect, and act on these things. And if you feel yourself rising up and saying “No – that is NOT true!” consider it an invitation from your inner self to explore why you feel so resistant to such ideas. And remember that only light drives out darkness – choose the path of peace.
May the memory of Dr. King shine brightly, and may his memory always serve as the impetus for the change that brings forth justice and peace.