Monday, January 17, 2011

Late MLK Day Musings

I haven't liked anything I've written about Martin Luther King, his day and his dream. Except for some writing elsewhere where I dealt with a FB troll, nothing has really hit the mark. I just deleted four paragraphs I hated, in fact.

We have not fulfilled the dreams or visions of Martin Luther King. Society as a whole has not. White people have not. Black people have not.

Oh, we're better. There are no codified separation laws, no Jim Crow. White folks have discovered that they will not die if they share water fountains with Black folks. Black folks have had opportunity opened up to them in ways that would have been inconceivable back in the 1950s. It is illegal now to deny jobs or housing to people based on the color of their skin. That is all progress and good.

Still, a look at comment boards on sports and news stories will reveal White prejudice and hatred, and Blacks still sometimes struggle against White people judging them due to their being Black, rather than as individuals. Prejudice remains in the hearts of many, sometimes blatant, sometimes latent.

Black people have failed Dr. King. Some have taken up violence, against both Black and White, and making it a culture statement. Some have turned their backs on education, calling it "White", seeing it as selling out. Some Blacks have fallen prey to an entitlement mentality, waiting for a hand out instead of a hand up, or taking initiative.

Dr. King would be dismayed at the number of Black males in prison and dead due to crime and violence. He would rue the lack of firm family structure in America--a problem for both Black and White. He would be perturbed by both the quality of today's integrated public schools and the bad attitudes and laziness of students, especially Black students.

Dr. King, IMHO, would come against the use of race as victimhood. He would stand up against using past injustices as an excuse for failure, or an excuse for bad behavior. During the bus boycott and other protests, he constantly reiterated the need for non-violence. He called for all to be better then those who would commit violence at them during the protests. He pleaded for love and good to meet hate and evil.

We have made progress since the days of protest of the 1950s and 1960s. But we are not there yet. In my simplistic little mind, I would love for skin color to be as meaningful to the judgment of a person as the color of a cat's fur. It is more complicated than that, I know. It's tribe and culture, comfort with the familiar, fear of the unknown. In the end, we are all human. There is little DNA difference between the White and the Black. If we remember that, culture and all that seem less daunting.

6 comments:

Bob G. said...

T.O.:
I think what you posted HERE is (probably) better than those 4 paragraphs you deleted...

You have captured the TRUTH and the REALITY of the beliefs...and the dream.

Wonderfully said.

Stay safe.

chuck said...

Looking directly at serious crime, the US Dept of Justice shows Black on White Crime is 50 to 1. That is NOT per capita. Black on White rape is 565 to 1, once again, that is NOT per capita. Black on Black crime vis a vis White on White crime is 10 to 1. The crimes themselves are obviously horrific.

Here in Kansas City, Mo., the smell of cordite wafts over Westport, blood stained streets in midtown reveal almost daily, another violent exsanguination and the local newspaper trembles at the thought of revealing the race of the perpetrators. This necrosis, this 5th column of hate, mysogyny, violence, murder, rape and theft are part and parcel of a subculture, that mainstream America refuses to acknowledge, and in fact promotes in the media.

The universal lubricant of this abberation, is a Hip/Hop/Rap lifestyle that excuses abhorant behaviour and promotes the culture of complaint by way of "The Narrative".

The "Narrative" excuses criminal behaviour, bad grades, poor parenting, lack of ambition and achievement, by second partying and asigning ALL of the heretofore mentioned to crimes committed by people dead, 50 to 500 years ago, on people dead 50 to 500 years ago. An undefeatable straw man granting carte blanche to those folks who exsitentially draw every living breath through their identity as a black person, first and formost.

The "Narrative" is the easy way out. A built in explanation for any failure. The gears have worn smooth on that machine, and that is, imo, the crux of Glaze's premise. The tranny is gone, and that bus, no matter where you are sitting on it, is stopped dead in the road.

In Kansas City, the continuing African American faceplant is apparent on the streets every day. I am glad things are so perfect over in Perfect Village. They won't be for long. What has metastasisized here in Missouri, is coming your way.

The way to end this stupidity, is for African Amercan leaders to admit the real time problems and focus on jpersonal resposibility. I relaize I will be called a racist for saying these things out loud, but, the folks who are hurt the most, by this American conspiracy, which we all participate in, are black people. When we DON'T print the color of the perpetrators in the newpapaper, de facto permission for the same behaviour is effected.

I am not calling for murder, war and hate here, I am calling for dialogue. I am calling for constant conversation with people of all colors to keep the wounds fresh and bleeding so we will heal the problem. Sweeping uncomfortable racial conversations under the table, only creates the opportunity to continue with the same old approach.

That fuckin dog ain't huntin no more.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
I don't want to come off as somebody who knows the answer here, or that I don't struggle with most of what you have posted.

But there is no man's message that has not been misunderstood--no man without fault--no man whose legacy has not been cheapened by others.

If nothing else, maybe we can just celebrate that St. Martin lived, and that he was heard, and that he is still pondered, even in the number of distractions and defacements all around us.

I don't have anything else to offer, since, as I said, I am so troubled myself.

Ann T.

the observer said...

To all:

First, I was OK with this post, but I don't think I made it clear enough that MLK would not tolerate the incessant playing of the race card today to excuse Black misbehavior and underachievement.

Jim Crow is dead. Slavery is gone. Even plantations are scorned. Like chuck said, that tired old dog ain't going to hunt any more.

But each time a Black person does a bad crime, it reinforces the still present picture of Blacks as inferior in some White people's minds.

Does anyone remember a book called Black Like Me? In that book a White journalist takes medicine and uses make up to pass himself off as Black. He travels throughout the deep south, and notes his experiences. If you haven't read it, you must.

One scene, of many in this book that have stuck with me, is when he is riding (in the back of the bus) to Mississippi. For an unknown reason, the bus driver does not let the Blacks off of the bus at a rest stop. There is mutiny afoot. One man urinates in the bus. All threaten this action. One stands up tho, and says, but that is what he wants. He wants us to act like animals. We can't give him that satisfaction.

This was the way MLK worked as well. But Blacks have yielded to anger, to easy pleasures and answers over the years. It might be understandable, but it creates a vicious cycle that buries the Black people further and further in failure.

There's more, but I may already be long. T.O.

the observer said...

chuck--
I agree that there is no running away. South Kansas City (and Grandview and Raytown), where I make my home has been finding that out, what with the struggles with Hickman Mills C-1 schools, the decline of the 64134 and so on. If we want to retain the very part of our town that makes it great--our communities and neighborhoods--we much stop this brain dead slave mentality in its tracks. And right now, too, because it doesn't discriminate--it eats the smart and full of potential as well as those who have swallowed its lethal poison. Incidentally, there are White people who have taken in the same lazy, hateful, handout oriented poison--and they are dying of it too.

Black leaders must start the dialog because they will not accept it from Whites. Right now, it seems as if the leaders with the best potential--the pastors of the churches--are too busy kissing the rings of status, money, church growth to risk standing up and being prophets without honor by speaking the truth. Secular leaders are too busy sucking at the teats of the city, especially cows like the school district, using the History of Mistreatment to gain gifts that don't really help the kids but line their own pockets.

We all Black and White must stand up and without fear of the "race card" stand up and talk about how things are and were, and how we can make it better.

You are so right. Sweeping it under the rug under the guise of not making anyone uncomfortable will solve nothing.

The Observer

the observer said...

Ann T:
Without Martin Luther King, I don't think we would have gotten as far as the Voting Act or the outlawing of segregation of schools, buses, lunch counters without horrible violence.

And for that alone, MLK deserves his day. But he also left a legacy of right minded ness about so much of this, most of which is not even tapped. We see the "Dream speech" but do we remember his council to young Blacks in his Ebony advice column or his talk with grade schoolers in which he encourages them to work harder than anyone else.

Perhaps it is time to look at the rest of the King canon, especially his words to Black people, for some guidance.

The Observer