UNITED STATES—It is hard to believe that the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 93 years-old this past weekend. It is still hard to fathom that this titan who changed the scope of race relations, relationships and the world during his short-time on this planet was assassinated back in 1968. Each year, I reflect on King’s mission of promoting non-violence, but fighting for equality for all people regardless of the color of their skin. Yes, we have made progress, but it feels there is still more work that needs to be done, a lot more work people.
The one thing that always fascinated me about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was his ability to not react with violence when violence was being thrown in his direction. Whether it was being beaten by police officers, having his home firebombed, dogs attacking peaceful protestors, fire hoses being used on protestors and so much more disgusting acts of hate that I think people fail to realize because they haven’t done their homework when it comes to American History people.
Protests exists today, but they’re not always peaceful people, whether it be Black Lives Matter, supporters of the former Donald Trump, the steps we’ve taken ahead, in the past year, feel like we’ve take a ton of steps back. Dr. King’s mission was all about equality; people being treated equal across the board regardless of the color of their skin. That is the problem with America, we see color, we refuse NOT to see color. I once told someone I wonder how the world would navigate if everyone was blind, if we couldn’t identify people based on how they look.
Would that change things? Could we get closer to that equality that Dr. King fought so tirelessly for and lost his life for as a result of his mission? I want to say yes, but we’d just find a way to categorize and make people stand out from others based on the cadence or how someone talks. We as a country like to categorize people and it is something we NEED to stop doing. There is NO NEED to separate or categorize people. Why do we do it? We need to focus on treating people the same way that we would like to be treated people. The concept seems so easy, yet, why is it so hard for this vital goal of Dr. King’s to come to fruition?
Well, you do have that issue of hate being taught to people. I had a conversation with someone recently about racism and if people are inherently racist and my answer was no. There is no way a person is inherently born a racist. Racism is something that is taught. It starts with the parents or the grandparents teaching such things to their children, and their children’s children. Yeah, it might sound a bit foreign, but it’s true. Racism is something that is taught, people learn it so as adults we have to be better.
When we see wrong, we have to call it out and ensure the person who is being called out understands why what he or she did is wrong and how they can work to be better. You don’t just cancel people because if you do so they never learn from their actions. Should they be punished? Absolutely, but give them the opportunity to make amends and learn from their actions people.
Remember back in the 60s, there was no internet, there was no social media. People could behave one way in public, but a completely different person at home. Nowadays behavior is being monitored 24/7. If you act out, you best believe someone has a cellphone ready to go to capture someone’s bad behavior to have it blasted all over the internet and the media. It is the world we live in today, which would make a person more cautious about their behavior, but the reality is that is not the case people, not by a long shot.
How would Dr. King respond to seeing the protests of 2020 and 2021? He would have been appalled by some of the behavior exhibited by Blacks across the country after the murder of George Floyd. This is not saying everyone partook in such bad behavior, but a lot did and it was not warranted. You cannot combat violence with violence it only leads to more violence that may be the reason that King’s mission of non-violence worked so potently because people were baffled to see people NOT fight back when they were struck with police batons, sticks, stones, rocks and so much more.
I don’t know if that would ever float in the current world we live in. If people are presented with violence I just see more people responding with more violence which does the opposite of what Dr. King wanted. With that said, it is 2022, it is time for us to reflect on Dr. King’s iconic “I Have a Dream Speech” and actually put his words and his mission into action. We need to be better for the generation that will follow us.
It is time people, it is time for us to get to that place where we stop seeing color and focus on the content of the character of the person that we’re talking to. Don’t make preconceived notions based on what you think you know versus what you actually know. If you want to honor Dr. King be better, do better and implement change. Don’t just say it, actively do it.