Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr.

I am not a civil rights specialist or consider myself in any way knowledgeable in the subject. Other than my own feelings that all peoples of any race or nationality deserve respect and are entitled to every opportunity in the world that is of their interest.

I grew up in the sixties as a boy. The sixties was the period I went from 5 years old to 15. This is a time that shaped me greatly. There are those that believe in the adage that "you are what you were then" speaking of that period in one's life.

I am not presumptuous enough to think in any manner I could speak for Dr. King. However, when I look around my world as a white middle-aged man that lives in the suburbs of a major Midwest city and holds a management position with a manufacturing company I have to wonder, is this "The Dream"?

How much work is left to be done? Drug addiction and alcoholism still ravage the poor and minority communities. Gangs of youth instill fear and prey upon their own brothers and sisters. In the name of capitalism liquor stores, pawn shops, and payday loan businesses flood into poor neighborhoods under the guise of assistance to the needy. Educational systems fail to prepare the majority of youths living in areas where the perceived only way out is through crime because the "system" is fixed against them. The silence of the night is not filled with the chirping of crickets and croaking of frogs; rather, the sound of gunfire and wailing of sirens. Our prisons and jails are disproportionately filled with minority inmates. Is this "The Dream"?

I know in the sixties the issues were much different. Whole races and nationalities of people were considered less, just because of the color of their skin or where they came from in the world. Sometimes I see great progress. I see the President of the United States is a man of color. In places of business there are men and women of color leading industries, not nearly enough but progress none the less.

At times what I hear today is disheartening. The voices to deny equality are loud against people in this country that happen to be Muslim. Immigrants, legal or illegal are referred to as "those people". Racism is instilled in our culture using the words "we are all equal". Equality isn't about the finish line, equality is about the STARTING LINE.

We all still have so much to learn from Dr. King.


LisaC said...

Very thoughtful. It is very easy not to pay attention and just move along in my own personal universe, dealing with my own personal triumphs and troubles. But we are all part of the bigger world and it won't get better unless we all work on it every day. Thank you for making me take some time to think about this.

Syd said...

I agrEe. There is much to be done. The dream may be inside but it can easily seem unattainable.