Monday, January 19, 2015

Like an Evergreen Project - I Have A Dream

Credit to Thinkstock.com
When I think of the Civil Rights era, I think of the fear-mongering and oppression given legal backing to place a group of human beings into a category of subhuman and therefore unworthy of equal access to rights outlined in the Bill of Rights, the document we often reference today when an infringement is felt or experienced.

I think of the strength of character it took to know that fear, to face it hourly, daily, weekly, constantly aware that violent tactics would be used to discourage activists from seeking to have equal rights and equal protection under the laws of this land. And in most cases, not a gosh darn thing done to perpetrators of various horrendous acts, like lynching.

Dr. Martin Luther King was a well known leader of the Civil Rights Era. Having this holiday set aside in his honor, to me, is our country's way of giving a name and face to a growing pain this country had to go through to become a better nation.

Although many strides have been made and many minds opened to seeing people as "members of the HUMAN race" first, then their different complexions, pigmentations and ethic backgrounds, we still have issues that must be addressed if we are to be a country that truly means for every person to have equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal protection under the law.

The struggle doesn't stop because one step forward was made. We must maintain our own personal "evergreen projects" working in our own minds, hearts, and homes to see humans as humans, or we can sadly slip into a society where...

***It's okay that a woman walking home from work gets attacked, raped and beaten nearly to death...because, hey, she's black. Doesn't matter. Now, if she was white, let's get a rope!***

That may sound foolish, but consider Rosewood and who knows how many other little towns or villages that may have fallen to such a heinous end without survivors to document what happened to them.

Credit to Thinkstock.com
On August 28, 1963, Dr. King delivered his "I have a dream" speech which still resonds strongly to this day. I have a dream as well, that my daughter doesn't have to endure racial profiling (been there, not a good feeling) or ever experience the penetrating, piercing pain of a hate stare, such as the likes I experienced during a very brief visit to a deep-in-the-South town. I have a dream that maybe we'll soon realize that we're one race, a human race, and the beauty lies in how our differences can complement one another.

Do you have a dream?

24 comments:

  1. Yes, it's very sad all the work we still have to do both in our country and in the whole world. We all need to take our own steps to make things better. As I go through my own transition in life, I'm trying to figure out how I go forward to help my community because we all have this duty and it's good to have a larger purpose in life.

    Thanks for such an inspiring post!

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    1. Glad to share, Natalie. And well said :-)

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  2. My dream is that we stop segregating ourselves by color, sex or religion. Too often we stuff ourselves into categories as if winning the best in a 'smaller' category makes us unique.

    I don't want to be known as the 'best Latin, Catholic, short, old woman anything'. Let me just be the best I can be without the labels.

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    1. I'd like to see your dream come true as well, Maria. If someone where to come up to me and say they think I'm the 'best African-American (I'd use Black by my biological father was from Nigeria and my momma was a country girl from Arkansas so the AA description is a bit more literal for me), Christian, chubby, jolly, single momma' I'm not sure how to take that as a compliment since those descriptors can be one-dimensional.

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  3. Sad so many had to fight for human rights they should've already had, including go back to Suffrage. There continues to be prejudice on all sides but we have come a long way since King's speech. May we continue to change.

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    1. I applaud the women of the suffrage, and the men who supported their struggle.

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  4. When a white man can make a 911 call and tell outright lies (proved by video surveillance) which cause cops to bust into a Walmart and shoot a black man carrying merchandise from that store ... with no consequences for the cops or the maker of the false emergency phone call ... we still have a LONG way to go.

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    1. Wow!

      Just...wow...

      Yes, we have a long way to go. And the good thing is that the changes are occurring over time. I doubt we'll ever get to perfection. But maybe one day even more people will realize that the example you provided just can not be an acceptable scenario.

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  5. I remember watching Roots with my dad long before I could fully grasp the concept of human cruelty. I remember telling my dad that the slave holders were monsters. He assured me they were just people. People who justified wrongs to make their lives easier. That selfishness was a human's first nature- a nature we must be conscious of and guard against.

    As for King. He was a wise man. I wish he was still with us. We could use his wisdom right now!

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    1. Seems your dad was also very wise, Elizabeth.

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  6. It's terrible what's going on nowadays. I pray things get better soon. Things need to change.

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    1. Excellent post, Angela. And I have the same prayer.

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  7. Excellent post. It's always been a puzzle to me why people can't see the beauty of diversity. Not only race but sexual orientation and religion and the multitude of other things that make us different and divinely human.

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    1. Sadly, so much is taught to us as little ones that we grow into beings of categories instead of beings accepting of the beauty of our differences.

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  8. Well said, Angela. I love Dr. King's speech. So powerful. It's amazing to me that there are still so many barriers based on race, gender and religion. We are all God's children. We're all brothers and sisters.

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  9. Wonderful post. I love see my son and all the other children of various races in his school getting along in perfect harmony. I want him to carry that on to adulthood. I wish all of us would.

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    1. It is wonderful to see the acceptance in unblemished eyes.

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  10. Great post, and you're right. There's so much to embrace in our differences. It's better when people are exposed to various cultures and races as they're growing up, especially in a positive and uplifting light. That song from South Pacific is sad but true:

    You've got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You've got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It's got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You've got to be carefully taught.

    You've got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
    You've got to be carefully taught.

    You've got to be taught before it's too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You've got to be carefully taught!

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    1. Those lyrics brought tears to my eyes, such truth in them.

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  11. Great post, Angela! Sorry I missed this earlier this week!

    Racism is truly an ugly, horrible thing. It's one of the most blatant "us versus them," "hate-the-'others' ignorant, insecure, vile phobias of weak-minded people.

    The sad thing is that, despite it being SIXTY years since a tired Rosa Parks refused to move on that bus and 52 since Dr. King's wonderful speech, racism still seems much too easy to churn up in people -- it takes so little sometimes to stoke that fear and hatred of the "outsiders," from it's long and ancient roots, going back to when humans were small bands of isolated tribes clinging to each other as they cowered in caves.

    But we don't have to succumb to it -- we've reached the stage in humanity where our knowledge should supersede our old ignorant fears. Where we should fully understand that those "differences" that separate us -- like where we fall on the spectrum of the amount of melanin in our skin cells -- are really artificial and arbitrary segmentation of very small variations of the common "human" race we all are.

    As Dr. King said -- the only valid way to judge a person is not by their skin color, their language, their religion, or their cultural heritage, it's by the content of their character.

    Dr. King's dream may not be yet fully realized, but the good thing is that it's still shared, vivid and alive in more and more people. I cringe at the ugliness that racism still evokes today, but I still hope and pray that Dr. King's dream will soon come to full fruition.

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