"Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths. " ~Joseph Campbell~
I sure hope that Dr. King's dream wasn't a myth. Apparently most black folks don't think so. All it took was the election of his O ness to turn their thinking around. In a poll taken last year right after that historic election, 69% of blacks thought that Dr. King's dream had been fulfilled. That was up from 34% just a year before. Dr. King would have been 81 years old today, and it has been 46 years since that historic speech. I wonder what he would have thought of A-merry-ca and our new "post racial" African American president if he were alive?
I see that Dr. Boyce Watkins, writing for The Grio ,took a shot at that question:
"Dr. King would love Obama for representing the essence of the American dream. He would be proud of Obama's considerable educational and personal achievements. On the other hand, I suspect that King would be disturbed by the fact that Obama has a sworn commitment to protect the machine of war and corruptive capitalism. But he would celebrate the many freedoms that are protected by that very machine.."
Interesting. Of course I think, to answer that question, where Dr. King would probably stand on Obama's commitment to corporate interest would depend on how close he believed that A-merry-ca had come to realizing his dream. If he thought, for instance, that we were close, I am guessing that he would trust big corporations and the machine that supports "corporate capitalism" to do right by the lesser among us. If not, I suspect that he would be very disappointed with his O ness.
I also think that because of the president's race, we have been forced to confront the subject of race more openly and in a more high profile way. It has given us some "teachable moments" which I hope will make us all better. I think Dr. King would have liked that as well.
But sadly, from where I sit, we are not quite there yet. Although I have been fortunate. Someone being a racist --whether it be the man in the street or someone in a position of power-won't affect my life one way or the other. To quote a very famous rapper: "I am going to get mine." But what about some poor kid in inner city_[pickl your city] or rural_[pick your state] who will never get a proper education because of _[pick your poison] ? The little day to day indignities I can live with. (Like when some asshole at an airport in a major A-merry-can city wanted to see my ID after I made a credit card purchase over the Christmas break. And missy, who was right in front of me, made a larger purchase and no "may I see some ID mam?" from the ignorant ass clerk.) Because I can always come home and blog about it to a few of my closest friends. Just to get the shit off my chest.
And, of course, there is the other side. -Carmen Dixon wrote about it recently.- White folks who feel that they can't have an honest conversation about race because they don't want to be labeled a racist. You Negroes can be so defensive about everything race related. Here is a white lady who is about to give birth to an interracial child in "post racial" A-merry-ca. She is expressing her fears and apprehensions of what lies ahead:
" Being called racist in today's society is almost as bad as being called a baby killer. Just look at Trent Lott and Imus. Yes, the comments they made were incredibly offensive: Imus (in)famously referred to the black members of a women's college basketball team as "nappy-headed hos," as recently as 2007. But instead of taking the opportunity to turn a negative into a positive -- discussing the comments and why they were offensive, we stamped "racist" on their foreheads and shipped them away so as not to blemish our politically correct landscape. In an effort not to be labeled racist, white people often walk on eggshells, uncomfortable and unsure of what to say to a black person. In fact, in a 2008 study on race, when a white person was interviewed by a black person on racial issues they reported higher levels of anxiety than when they were interviewed by a white person. This effectively kills real communication, and true understanding -- the cornerstones of what is needed for our country to truly become post-racial. Source: My Worst Fear as a Mother-to-Be? A Burning Cross on Our Front Lawn, Colleen Oakley, Lemondrop.com"
Of course Carmen was not pleased, and she tore Missy a new one. I won't go there. I will be kind. Hey, if that's how she feels, so be it. I would only say to Ms. Oakley, that in the spirit of MLK Day, let's talk about it. Let's have a teachable moment. I don't want you to have any level of "anxiety" when you talk to the field. I am not afraid of Kumbaya moments.
This is what Dr. King would have wanted. Talking about our fears and anxieties. So that, in the future, ignorant ass store clerks won't judge travelers by the color of their skin but by the content of their pocket books.
Before I go; shout out to all the volunteers who came out in Philly today and represented in the true spirit of what this day is all about. Your behavior had field written all over it.
*Pic courtesy of CSTSP.Org.