Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech spoke of hope at daybreak after a long night of captivity. He spoke of the crippling continuation of segregation and discrimination even 100 years later. He spoke of us as an island isolated from prosperity by public policy and racist sentiment. He spoke of cashing a check issued on a promissory note. His civil rights speech questioned the inalienable rights, liberty, and pursuit of happiness promised to all but yet not delivered to us. He spoke of the urgency of the times, police brutality, ghetto conditions only varying in the size of the ghetto, voting rights denied, and the indifference to injustice provoking an interdependent fate of destruction.
However, he did not speak of becoming docile and we should not let the interpretation of his words convert us into doormats for those who say his words were those of passivity. He was emphatic about there can be no rest or contentment until we are recognized and treated equally as first class citizens. He did indeed speak of a color blind society but have we achieved it yet? If not, many interpretations and assertions regarding his speech are still delinquent in their realization. As such, the racial utopia of his dream is a society we are working towards but still have a considerable ways to go.
The unrelenting echoes of his voice ring loud and true as if he is giving that speech today. Many of the conditions he spoke of still exist as challenges of today. Sure, apologist, revisionist, and the treasonous historically ignorant point to gains amounting to meatless bones of patronization comparative to other segments of society. He also warned us of contentment fatiguing us to complacency. It is also true that our complacency has now led to our conditions just as much as the forces against us have. Patience is a virtue only when it is not used as a crutch propping up alibis of inaction and deficits of fortitude.
Where is our bus boycott or march on power mentality insisting our demands are met? We whimper in celebrations of causes which allude us disguised as a tribute to the man himself. They are separate. Celebrate the man but the fight for the cause, his cause which has always been our cause is still waging far from over and constantly under siege. Any factual revelation of discrimination is labeled anti-American, anti-white, divisive, and well, racist. It absolutely is exactly that if judged by the metric of Jim Crow and those who would hold themselves to a delusional entitlement of superiority.
But that was the point of his speech. He was, and I am also very clear to state it is not a reference to all white people or people of any “color” who do not hold racist sentiments. Much like in home room when they call names at roll call. If it is not your name, you don’t answer because they are not talking to you. Same for acts of racism not committed by you. Counter claims of racism because we assert our humanity may just have to be the price of doing business and should not deter us from our appointed duty. This counter claim of racism from pointing out the elephant in society amounts to playing the dozens and you can’t play with me in a way I don’t play.
Label it as you may but it does not change the nature of the historical accuracies by the whining “white victimization” petition when social change or accountability hounds your privileged fragility of a fractured identity. The reimbursement of our claims are met with entitlements of moral bankruptcy or written off as an uncollectable debt of justice. But, why? A large part is the psychology of assimilation where we must shun any association or resemblance to those of us still stereotypically marginalized based on our indoctrination of them as memories of inferiority. Our Judas approach to denounce them to appease others and pacify ourselves maintains our separation and our collective ostracization.
It is an adoption of an ideology mimicking an identity conditioned upon us similar to the squabble between house and field personnel. An immigrational surrender of our identity to gain acceptance. Dr. King spoke of governors, some now are freshly minted immigrants I might add, as vicious racist whose lips are dripping with, well their hypocrisy of racism or the eradication of it. Frankly speaking, presidential candidates can be included as well until their ethnicity is challenge as not “white” and then they cry racism which they say does not exist.
However, I would bet white is what they self-identify as on an application when it suits them. This code switching is a form of discriminatory privilege many fail to admit but routinely use such as the term minority or person of color. These minor practices do not obscure the awareness and denial of much more significant normalities and fluctuating definitions of unnecessary labels. They protest the restrictions of racism and subjugated labels only when directly applied to them. Why would it exist for them but not for us when we have a documented archive of its existence for us? They can ban books but history, memories, and truth is a much different story.
So, August 28, 1963, was the date of Dr. King’s historic speech and more than 60 years later the runway is still not clear for equality to land. Advocates of freedom are not voting for something. We are voting against our forever intertwined destruction. Our collective survival. This is especially true for Blacks, the enemy of those who opposes our interest is a friend not to us but to our interest. Assimilation surrenders an identity which many believe was taken from us centuries ago, but as Dr. King said this is a beginning and not an end.
Our salvation will be our dignity, content of character, and fortitude persevering as our sword to tremble the sentiments of injustice from the ideological delusion of Stone Mountain in Georgia to whatever rock of ideology racist hide behind or under. We have tried a soul force of faith more appropriate for that time. It has proven that the beggars tool benefits only time. So, don’t discredit Dr. King’s dream turning it into a nightmare by our empty talk and celebration. Celebrate his life and legacy sure, but don’t succumb to the relaxation of a partial achievement. Dr. King warned us of this with his words and life
Nevertheless, his legacy is best celebrated by the actions of people who embody his calls to arms by being about it instead of talking about it. Standing on the ideological business about it. To not be deceived about his dream we must learn about the Dreamer and his speech from his words beyond the sensationalism of a few of the more famous verses. It will inspire you to a greater appreciation for his significance as a sociopolitical force so dangerous he had to be silenced. READ the speech to consume the magnitude of its message so it can never be silenced. Please, don’t sleep on the Dreamer’s message. Humanity has no color only where racism has no place. Hopefully one day we’ll have a Happy MLK Jr Day which is not a dream but a reality!
Thurston K Atlas
Creating a Buzz