28

Fifty years ago today, one of our nation’s greatest men made one of its’ greatest speeches.

On August 28th, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, before his life would be tragically ended just short of 5-years later.

Each time I hear or read it, I think of the proverbial “could’ve been”, had this brave leader and great visionary of his people not been taken away from “them”, as well as “us”, so prematurely, along with his dream of seeing “them” and “us” combined as “we”.

If you’ve never seen the entirety of King’s speech, I suggest you at least commemorate the day by doing so. It’s literally not much longer than the shit I spew on here each week and would do you a helluva’ lot better good to read.

Furthermore, if you only rely on the quotes and segments that you’ve heard, you’re doing its’ greatness a horrible injustice.

All of that being said, I’d argue that, when reading the transcript, a great majority of King’s dream has actually been realized; though I’m sure I’ll take some shit for such a statement.

I admittedly don’t know the hardships some have endured, or others may still, but I do pay great attention to the world around me and, when looked at through a fair and logical lens, it’s hard to argue with the progress.

Additionally, I believe that King would now have an entirely different dream for his race and can only hope that somebody with his courage and wisdom will rise from their ranks in what I feel is a crucial time.

In his opening, King states that “one hundred years later (referring to the Emancipation Proclamation), the colored America is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the colored American is still sadly crippled by the manacle of segregation and the chains of discrimination.”

This was true in 1963, and especially in the South. Since then, schools have been integrated and there is nowhere in this country were you can legally bar a person from entering, or force to use separate facilities, based solely on the color of their skin.

To the contrary, there are actually universities, magazines, television networks and even beauty pageants specifically FOR people of the black race, which is somewhat ironic really.

I’m by no means ignorant to the reality that struggles still exist, but opportunity has been made available and great strides have been made.

He went on to say the following: “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice.”

Opportunity for EVERYONE is everywhere you look. Is it harder for some than others, abso-fucking-lutely, but the opportunity is definitely there.

Look around and you will see that there are MANY wealthy black people who have made it in the world of professional athletics, music and entertainment, as well as business and politics.

Additionally, opportunity is afforded in multiple avenues including grants and college funds, minority rules within businesses and within the award of contracts in industry…but the effort has to be as well.

The first step is tossing the excuses and blame, which seems to be all of our biggest roadblock.

King also stated that “We cannot be satisfied as long as the colored person's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.”

Again, I personally believe the opportunity to leave is now there, but the willingness may not always be. In fact, I’d argue that it’s much easier for a black person to move into a “traditionally” white neighborhood than it is for the opposite, at least in terms of acceptance and safety.

It’s always hard, as well as scary, to leave an environment or neighborhood that you have always known, but the opportunity IS there, and I can assure you that there are areas outside of the dangerous “hoods” we’ve all heard of in each city, where you can get affordable housing without the added worry of your child’s safety, at least when it comes to gun violence.

There is violence everywhere, but the very real concern of losing one’s life when simply walking out your front door or down the street is just not something known in most other communities.

That is neither hateful nor racist, but fact.

In a better-known portion of the speech, he stated, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character.”

Again, King’s ancestors now live in a nation where they can quite realistically be doctors, lawyers, congressman and, as we’ve all recently witnessed, even President, if they possess the skills and, more importantly, the desire to do so.

I think that for the majority, those individuals are definitely judged by their “character”, and no longer by “the color of their skin”, but perhaps I’m farting rainbows.

Now more than ever, EVERY American has the opportunity to succeed, just not necessarily the balls.

If King were alive today, I think that the dream would shift from equal rights and freedom to preserving black culture, the race itself and its’ youth, specifically relating to young men.

They’ve gone from a race adamantly, and rightfully so, fighting for the same rights as every American, to a race that is quite literally, in some respects, fighting for its’ life.

Overwhelming statistics will tell you that my own race battles with prescription drug, heroin and crystal methamphetamine addiction, as well as many of the same deadbeat issues of neglecting their offspring that is also found in other cultures.

Nobody is immune and I realize this.

But if you cannot, or refuse to recognize the broad swath of extermination of young black men by like-aged members of their own race that is undeniably occurring across our country, than you are blind to reality or just plain fucking lying to yourself.

We all need a wakeup call.

While it’s ingrained in some by their upbringing or environment or simply born out of unfounded hatred, I find it a copout, in this day and age, to continuously blame one’s plight on the actions of another race.

We all have personal accountability and all races have certain sectors who have not “made it” in relation to others.

But what prompts one to actually commit violent atrocities within their own race and walk away from the parental responsibilities of raising the next generation to try and succeed beyond your own?

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely know that problems exist in all races with violence and single parenthood, but the statistics cannot be ignored.

As a parent, I can tell you that the greatest goal in life, other than the day-to-day safety and wellbeing of your child, is to watch them grow into something greater than you, including garnering the wisdom to overcome your stubborn, old prejudices and tired excuses, which WE ALL tend to make.

I would never argue that members of the black race are still not occasionally treated unjustly by people of “authority” and even sometimes outright abused…I’m not that goddamned stupid.

But I think that MLK would stress the importance of not even putting oneself in a position where this is a possibility, while I understand that this is not always an option.

What I do know is that we all still do some shit wrong but it no longer lies at the feet of just one race.

White folks had a big old shit sandwich to eat at one time and I honestly believe they’ve gone a long way in doing so.

Hate breeds hate and blame breeds blame. Somebody has to take charge and request change, make change and fucking DEMAND change, as Martin Luther King Jr. did.

Only this time, they have to demand it of their “own people” as well.

What’s your dream…KMFP-out!

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jpkimlin
# jpkimlin
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 1:42 PM
I have never read nor seen the speech in its entirety. You are correct, there is a lot more in it than is repeated in standard media. Very well written by a very strong man, who paid for that courage with is life.

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