It was asked of me, do I think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. be pleased or displeased by the state of America concerning race today.
And my answer was, “Well it depends, was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. cryogenically frozen over the past 40 years or has he been alive all of this time?
If he had been cryogenically frozen for the past 40 years or so, then I think he would be pleased beyond words as to how far we have come. You’ve got to keep in mind that as far as he would be concerned, on Monday he was sitting at the back of a bus, drinking from black only drinking fountains and getting the black beat off of him for trying to vote.
On Tuesday he wakes up from cryogenic sleep and there’s a black Secretary of State, he can vote in any state in the union but Montana, Idaho, North and South Dakota and for the most part, blacks can go anywhere they want in the country and the worst thing that is going to get tossed at them are some disapproving looks.
But on the other hand, if Martin Luther King Jr. had never been killed and you ask me what he would think about the state of America concerning race today, I think he would be frustrated and disappointed.
Because the Martin Luther King Jr. waking up from cryogenic sleep is just looking at the surface stuff, because that is what he was trying to address at the time of his death.
The surface stuff.
The police turning water hoses on people, the dogs, the cross burnings, the lynching kinda stuff. Actually changing attitudes would’ve been nice but even the most optimistic faith drunk Jesus freak would’ve told you that was asking too much in 1968.
That was over and beyond what anyone expected. Martin Luther King wasn’t trying to get you to like black people.
He just wanted equal protection under the law for black people.
All he wanted was for whites to listen to him enough to see that it is unfair that both blacks and whites are paying the same city taxes that fund the same municipalities but only white people get to vote on who is appointed to manage the affairs and how those dollars are spent.
No taxation without representation. Look it up. Let me vote or give me a tax cut.
Had Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived, he would’ve seen that once equal protection under the law was established (for the most part) that ushered in the next phase, changing attitudes and sadly no one has stepped up to the plate to take on that challenge.
I hate to use such an overused cliché but removing WHITE ONLY signs on shop doors and getting laws taken off the books that make it illegal for a black person to walk out of his door after the street lights go on was easy compared to actually challenging people to change their attitudes inside of their heads.
Like an iceberg, the majority of that iceberg goes unseen underneath the surface of the ocean but it makes up 90% of the mass of the object.
We haven’t even begun to work on eroding those ideas because we are still basking in the afterglow of just being able to go to college without taking the National Guard with us to every class.
And that part is harder than anything that Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, SNCC or NOI ever tried to take on in the 1960s.
What we have to fight now is the idea that ANY time a white person doesn’t get into a university then some LESS qualified minority must’ve taken his/her place. Like every single white person is automatically qualified and every single minority isn’t qualified.
What we are fighting now are unchallenged assumptions held by both black and white.
Too many blacks have a litany of baseless unchallenged assumptions of not only themselves but of the world around them that contribute to the existing condition of race in America, just as too many whites also operate day in and day out on their own set of baseless unchallenged assumptions that contribute to the backsliding in America today that we see regarding race.
Unfortunately since if people don’t see South Dakota outlawing blacks from voting or requiring creating black only drinking fountains in any new Wal-Mart built in the state, people think that racism is over.
They equate racism and prejudice with those sort of things. Overt things. In your face kinds of things.
People feel that they have a right to their attitudes, which they do, and regardless of how destructive and ignorant they are they want to hold on to them.
See, the next phase of this battle is going to be personal.
This isn’t about passing laws, this time it’s about addressing how we view ourselves and others.
Why do you think someone is less black if they speak proper English?
Why are you comfortable being called a Nigga even by someone white if they don’t emphasize the (er)?
Why is it white to do your homework and care about school?
Why do you find it threatening to see a black man with a white woman?
This is about facing the reality of why you don’t want your white daughter dating a black person or why you tell everyone that your half-black grandson is Hispanic instead of biracial.
This is about why you have gone to school with minorities from kindergarten all the way to the day that you graduated from college and yet you have managed to not have made a single meaningful lasting relationship with any of them. All of your friends are WASPs just like you. Why is that?
Why are you uncomfortable around people that are different than you?
Why would you not even consider voting for a woman or a minority for President of the United States? Where in the constitution does it say that a white male must hold that position?
Why do you think diversity is wrong? Why don’t you think its odd that the overwhelming majority of managers in your company from middle management on up to senior management is a WASP male just like yourself?
Is that supposed to be natural? Is that because they just out worked everyone else for those positions? Is it this way because they shown themselves to be more qualified than everyone else? Or do you even notice the lack of diversity at your job? Do you even care? If you don’t, then why?
If you don’t get into the school that you want, get hired for the job that you want or get into the program that you want why do you immediately assume that some unqualified minority took your well deserved spot?
Do you ever consider the possibility that you weren’t more qualified than that women or minority that was accepted into the program or is that just an automatic that he was given something because of his race or her gender?
Do minorities have it so good in America? Do you know that for a fact or are you just assuming?
Do you really believe that Mexicans get treated better in America than they do in Mexico or are they just tolerating prejudices in exchange for making a better life for themselves financially?
Martin Luther King’s birthday reminded me that the real battle has yet to be fought. The real battle is going to be fought within each and every one of us not on the steps of some courthouse or marching down the street in front of the White House.
Thanks for kicking this off Dr. King but we still have a long way to go.
So to quote Mr. Wolf, from Pulp Fiction "let’s not go sucking each other’s dicks just yet."