We have a week until we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and I have been thinking of his message for the past few days. In many ways, we have made remarkable progress in the area of Civil Rights and in others we are stuck in the 60s. Minorities are being hired more and more and in most places there is no color line. Businesses recognize the contribution of African Americans all across this country, but the actual point of celebrating a holiday shows us that we have really not progressed that far. If we really were color blind would have to celebrate these differences?
I think not. I believe that in a world that is truly equal and truly diverse we would not look at a person’s skin color or the spelling of their last name. We would not care if they spoke with an accent or dressed in garb that was foreign to our eyes. We would judge, as Dr. King said, based on the “content of their character” more than anything else. The point of having these holidays, aside from getting a day off from work, or a day to do some community service, is to make sure we remember that there was a time when things were worse as well as honoring a great person.
I submit to you that remembering these things is a measure of how far we have come, surely, but we still have plenty of racism all around. It’s not just white on black either, or white on any other color. There is plenty of negative thinking by blacks against whites and fear by others of whites. No, we have not come far in the ways of accepting all no matter the color of their skin, the tone of their voice, or the amount of grey in their hair. We still need to honor those who have gone before us and fought for rights for any group they are associated with. We still need be reminded that we have much further to go before we are truly a “Nation of the People”.