This archived article was written by: Alex Anderson
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a mere human. He was also a man who was tired of seeing his community in shambles all over his country. What made him great was his approach to the overarching racism filling the country at the time. King knew that if only black people and the black community were angry and yelling about racism, no one would listen. But if all people from all backgrounds marched together, then maybe we as a country could get somewhere, and there’s no better way to get people to care than through kindness.
King’s most famous ”I Have A Dream” speech gets quoted so often it’s almost a figment rather than an actual speech. The most famous quote is, “ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but, by the content of their character.”.
There is another part of King’s speech that probably hasn’t been quoted in the last 30 years but should be looked upon just as often, “We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.” The reason this hasn’t been quoted recently is because you don’t see “white only” signs anymore. But that’s not true, ask any brown child struggling in school in a poor neighborhood in the south Bronx and they will tell you otherwise.
Just 10 years ago there was a “whites only” sign hanging in the nation’s capital at the White House until Barack Obama took office. Outside of every business where the entirety of the CEO board is white, there is a “whites only” sign on the door. In recent months there has been a “whites only” sign put on the doors to the United States of America. These signs can’t be seen unless you want to see them, unless you want to see the struggle many, if not all minority groups face, when it comes to systematic racism.
Systematic racism is more than yelling the N-word at a black person as they walk down the street. It is making sure black people stay poor so that for generations they will have to live in the ghetto. It is making sure that schools in the ghetto are underfunded and understaffed so those students don’t get a chance to rise above.
April 4 is the 50-year anniversary of Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. There is progress in the USA, but it seems like recently one step forward means two steps back. We as a country can not forget our history because we are not that far from it repeating itself.
In honor of MLK Day, take three steps back, check your privilege, examine your community and ask yourself “is this the best we can do?”, because we have not come as far as we think we have.