On the national holiday celebrating Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., I thought it would be most appropriate to highlight the positive consequences of his leadership and sacrifice.
King’s dream included the hope that one day black and white children would play together.
My friend Lesli Brower’s thoughts about her interracial marriage illustrate how far our country has come:
My 8-year-old Derek bounced downstairs this morning and said, “Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!” and squeezed me tight. I asked him why he was so excited about it and he responded, “Because black kids weren’t allowed to go to restaurants or drink from water fountains or go to school with white kids. But then Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech and then they could go to restaurants, drink from the same water fountains and go to the same schools.” Derek wasn’t wallowing in the negative, he was rejoicing in the positive.
Right there was validation to what I was already going to say. How does one properly celebrate today? Must you go march on Fountain Square downtown? Watch movies from days of yore? Revive old wounds from a sad and tumultuous generation? How many of us do anything on MLK day, really, except sigh with relief for a day off and the ability to sleep in? (I know that very accurately describes me.) But that’s only because just like I don’t wait until Christmas morning to celebrate Jesus, I don’t wait for MLK Day to celebrate diversity and his amazing and courageous sacrifice and contribution to humanity. Rather, I am grateful and rejoice in the fact that my family, being interracial, gets more stares for having four – yes, FOUR children (gasp!) when we go out in public, not the difference in our skin color.
I rejoice in entering any restaurant I want to order whatever I want; belonging to a church that welcomes me with open arms because I am a child of God, NOT because I am a “black” child of God; the ability to send our children to any school we want based on our personal preference and not being stifled by a backwards point of view; by walking down the street free without fear of retribution for the color of my skin; for having the world and all of the opportunities that lie therein at my feet, as well as our children having the same based solely on their ability and God’s will; and, finally, though I disagree with every policy he’s instituted and what he stands for, we have a black president of the United States of America serving his second term.
There will never be a racial utopia because knuckleheads do indeed exist and man has a sinful heart.
However, rather than feel victimized, I choose to place the burden on them and feel sorry for their lack of forward thinking. And in the meantime, I celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream each and every day, though on a subconscious level, in my gratitude for its manifestation in the true freedoms and opportunities that exist for ALL.
Today, January 20, 2014, I think MLK would be proud.