A quick thought about MLK, Jr.


I really don’t understand the white male animosity towards MLK. I certainly don’t find it threatening to my heritage to learn about the contributions and sacrifices of other people that helped build and craft this Nation.

Actually, I think it is part of a uniquely American experiment; it is e pluribus unum, not In God We Trust. People really get caught up in this topic. I can appreciate the angst the boomer generation might have about MLK. After all the 60s were a time of dramatic cultural and political change. And if you believe in a zero sum world, you probably believe you lost something. You probably believe something was taken from you.

However, it is beyond me how anyone outside of that generation can still hate him or feel threatened by him. Seriously, let’s be honest: if you are white and male you are still belong to the financial and cultural dominate power brokers in our society. Sure you can cherry-pick what you might call “reverse discrimination” (I wouldn’t call it that) but, seriously, if you are WASP you are privileged.

A great many people consider MLK the face of the modern civil rights movement. It certainly seems to me he is to the civil rights movement in the US what Washington was to the Founding Fathers and Nelson Mandela was to South Africa.

Like Washington, MLK was the face and an articulate leader but he relied on the sacrifices of thousands and thousands of others to bring about the changes he thought were important. A reality they both acknowledged over and over.

MLK was a very inspiring leader, speaker and preacher…he was also a human full of frailties. Maybe that was the problem. We expect purity from those labeled different from us while we conveniently ignore our own hypocrisies and inconsistencies.

I kind of like the reality of MLK’s humanity.

Women, Catholics, the poor and Jews also benefited immensely from the civil rights movement. Today, it has become such a cliché to denigrate the work and sacrifices of the people that were involved in the Civil Rights Movement and turn it into a black vs white thing.

I’m really glad MLK had a dream. I’m really glad he loved his Nation so much he was willing to step into the breach and speak up. I’m really glad he shared his dream with us. It is an excellent dream.

I’m hoping to live long enough to see more of it realized.

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