Saturday, August 27, 2011

Misquoting Martin Luther King

I had a conversation with a person that was arguing the famous misquoted statement of MLK.

This weekend was supposed to be the unveiling of the memorial statue on the mall in D.C, but hurricane Irene trumped that occasion. Irene, the storm that was hyped up so much and juxtaposed with Katrina, sent folks running. Religious folks say it is the wrath of God because of laws past granting gay rights. I doubt if God is anymore interested in that than all the cheating going on at the stock exchange.

Here is Dr. King's the real statement:

"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

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 the content of their character.

I have a dream today."

Now, he said:  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 the content of their character.

The misquote is that his Dream was for all children to live in a nation where they would not be judge by the color of their skin.

He didn't say that.That wasn't the point! When reading it in 1963 or 2011 terms, at the time Black folks were catching hell, getting lynched, children blown up in churches and now 50% unemployment and 45% incarceration, under-educated, under-served, and marginalized.

The question for America has been: "Well what do you do with a people you no longer need?"
Even President Obama is judged by the color of his skin. Don't tell me you think he isn't...please.

We, black people are the ones not treated with dignity and respect. Even when ESPN tried to say : "If Michael Vick was white would he had received the same bad treatment?" they were castigated under the guise of racism [although the photo shopped picture was a bit much].

We are not as far along as we think, if you don't believe me ask a dark-skinned brother who is not a pro athlete. It's hell out there for black folks.  We have become the foundation on which everyone gets rich. From Prison, to Music, Abortions to Drugs. Why? We're easy targets.

White children did not have this "wholesale" problem in 1963 or 2011, black ones did/do, and by extension, brown, red, and yellow. White folks always judged each other on character content or lack thereof.  But the thrust of the sentence in the speech --which BTW was really called: "We have come to cash a check America!" --was that his children, and all those who looked like his children [black] would in his dream be judged on the content of their character. It was the children of the slave and sharecropper who would not be judged by the color of their skin.

White folks then and now have never been judged by that standard. So please get your facts straight.

Did he believe in equality for all?  YES, but this statement was meant to emphasis the dream for black children. 

Remember! Context...context...context!

I heard a brother say that the statue of King had a look of disgust on it's face. Well, that may be true. But disgust for who? I think it may be the ones that still judge on the color of his children's skin and those who refuse to cash the check that a million lives died for.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

The 3000 pound Elephant in the Room

I was talking to a friend that lives across the street from me. She was the first to put a Obama sticker on her car, yard sign, and proclaimed she "loved him like a son."  Now she frequently says, " Well do we still like Obama?" Like we're twins and my politics mirror hers just because we both voted for the president. When she says this, I'm polite, because my mama taught me to just smile and let white folks talk until they get tripped up in their own thoughts, and I did.
As the conversation progressed I said, "Ya know most white folks that voted for President Obama wanted to vote for a black man as president, but they don't want to really be ruled by a black man. They had good intentions, and may have gotten caught up in the promise of Hope and Kum-ba-yah, but when the rubber met the road they couldn't stand with the man because they never understood the coming adversity the rest of America would pull out the bag because of his blackness."

They will march with you and maybe even stay at your home for a meal, but when the lights were turned out they'd put a chair next to the door just in case they feared someone would break in and rape them. It's what I call 50% there with you.
So, that's where the "WE" in my neighbors statement comes into play. Do we still like Obama?
Maybe she forgot that we still live in a prejudice society, and out of the 49% of America who did not vote for the President [white, black, brown, yellow or red] at lease half of those folks could not live in this land with a black man at the helm. Too much like equality.

Maybe she forgot that most news analysts and pundents, skirts around the "black" issue the big elephant [n-word] President that "... is not like us, and does not understand American exceptionalism." She was ignored all of the years of animosity and hatred and suddenly in 2008 the hard core prejudiced America thought this election brought in the NEW AGE of colorblindness and a POST RACIAL society.

Sorry kids we need to go back to the drawing board!

Now, my friend listened to what I had to say, but I don't think she heard a thing I said because she called me again and asked the same thing a month later. I wanted to tell her, Honey you should have known people weren't going to let him be free to do what he thought he could do, and that his presidency is most symbolic. No a symbol for us, because we know what time it is, but for you to make you think that everything is OK, and for those who hate him, that he is the source of all evil and that makes them feel better. It's all about making y'all feel better.
But, I didn't say that, I listen to the voice of my mama, " Let white folks believe what they want to baby." 

I believe eventually the Elephant crap will tickle my neighbor's nose, and she will remember we have a long way to go and maybe she will open up her eyes and see that most of this crap is caused by the fact that our President is a black man, and get behind that man and stop vacillating.

Each One, Teach One.


I was talking to a stock broker the other day a white woman who is very, very, conservative.  She'd lost a good chunk of her retirement in the last two weeks because of the stock market roller coaster. She told me that in her conversations with other Republicans they came to the sad conclusion that the Republican hierarchy would rather sink the ship than let Obama have anything.

Now, they see what we have seen because their Roth IRA's and 401K's and other stocks are tanking. She said that they should think more about America and less about the 'black thing'..her words.

So now what I asked her, now that we are all being treated like N's what do we do?