Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. A day truly deserving of celebration. We will be inundated with an endless array of powerful quotes, facts about his life, and undoubtedly innumerable references to the movie “Selma”. All of which are due a man the caliber of Dr. King. But are we TRULY showing respect, or just giving in to the moment and making ubiquitous posts. I can not, nor do I desire to, judge the heart of any particular person posting what they choose on their chosen social media platform. But what I CAN do is make a observation of social trends and behaviors.
Let me preface by saying, I truly expect a backlash for this post. But, I’m ok with that. It won’t be the first, or the last, time. Here’s what I surmise. Today we’ll read EVERY powerful quote Martin Luther King ever made. Tomorrow, we’ll act like we’ve never heard of him. This is the unfortunate truth. Tomorrow we will go back to living our lives and doing the same things we always do. This is really sad. When I listen to the speeches of Dr. King and what he wanted from society, I look at today and I ask myself, “Would he be happy, or disappointed, if he could come back for one day?” I think both. America has made some incredible improvements since his assassination. Blacks can go to any school they want. We can sit, eat, pray, party, and work wherever we want. We are (at least on paper) equal as a society. Not only can little black boys and little white girls be friends; they can date, marry (or not) and produce bi-racial babies that can become President of the United States. On THAT front, I think he would not only be pleased. He would be overwhelmed! We have what he always wanted; a chance to be treated equal.
But I also think he would be beyond disappointed. The way we use “the N-word” to describe each other. The way we refer to women as “B”s and “H”s in music and television. The number of children raised in single family homes. The legislation that is engineered to create and maintain an invisible, but very real, ceiling on minorities. And the barely digestible trash we produce for ourselves on television (IE Real Housewives of LA, NJ AND ATL, Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, The Bachelor/ Bachelorette and a host of others). I wonder how he would feel to know that parts of our society is completely fine with reality TV shows that depict African American women as catty, argumentative, and overly aggressive drama queens that are more likely to get into a fight at a fine dining establishment than pay the bill. Yet they are appalled and insulted once the SAME type of show involves their Greek letter organizations. What does it say when we are more upset to have our organizations demeaned, than our character as a people. What does that say about our pride as people. As Americans, and as Christians (or whatever faith you practice). If Dr. King spent a complete day with any one of us, at the end of the day would he say, “You make me proud.” or “You break my heart.”? I know many of us aren’t going to be honest with that question. But deep inside, you know the truth.
If we REALLY want to respect not only Dr. King, but ALL of the brave men and women, black and white, that fought, bled, cried and died ALL to have equal rights, we must be respectful to each other, as we want others to respect us. We need to stop bringing ourselves down as a nation, as a society and as a culture. We must stop being afraid of each other as blacks and whites, and start spending more time getting to know each other. Most fear doesn’t come from actual danger, it comes from lack of personal, first-hand encounters. We should stop striving to be better than the community, and make the community better. Just because we have a African American president DOES NOT make America “post-racial”. It’s ironic that I’ve never heard a person say that that actually VOTED for President Obama.
America has made amazing inroads towards racial relations. With each generation, race becomes less of an issue. Many of the racial obstacles that once hindered minorities from advancing have all but been eliminated. But some were placed onto others. We’ve now turned our hatred towards homosexuals, Muslims, and Hispanics. They deserve the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the rest of us. We don’t have to always agree with each other’s opinions, religions, or politics. But we should, at least, respect them. And we cannot vilify an entire race or religion for the inhumane, and egregious, actions of a radical few. After all, when we look back out our own histories, EVERY race has had some radicals that we do not want to be connected to. Treat others as we would have them treat you. At the end of the day, that’s all Dr. King was dreaming about. Equality. It’s that simple. If you REALLY want to show respect to Dr. King on his day, get out of your comfort zone and talk to someone that isn’t like you. If you’re straight, talk to a homosexual. If your Christian go talk to a Muslim. Who knows, you may walk away with a new friend. And God would be pleased. Until next time….
God bless and dress well.
William Wilson, CEO
William Wilson Clothing
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