Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What happened to the dream?

31 Posts in 31 Days: #7

"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."

-- Martin Luther King Jr.

I thought I said everything I had to say on the subject of Michael Jackson last week. But I heard something today, and I have to comment.

This is a difficult subject to talk about, it's hard to balance discretion and sensitivity with truth and frankness. The subject is race.

At the BET awards, Sunday June 28, host Jamie Foxx, addressing the crowd regarding the death of Michael Jackson said, "We are here for the greatest. There's no need to be sad. We want to celebrate this black man -- he belongs to us -- and we shared him with everybody else."

I know what he was trying to say, but what he did say bothers me enough, that I need to address it.

There are a lot of things in my life, that I'm not quite ready to explain to my Creator just yet. But, I could stand before God today, and tell him that I've never harbored a racist thought -- it's just not in my make up. I have plenty of flaws, but I was blessed not to have that affliction.

Dr. King's dream was not a dream for African Americans, but for all Americans. I can't speak to Michael Jackson's character -- he was an extremely complicated man -- but at his height, he was the embodiment of the dream.

He transcended race.

He didn't belong to one group of people, he was nearly universally loved by everyone. When I watched him, or listened to him, I saw his talent and energy, his charisma and his brilliance -- not his race.

The problem with racists is that they see race as the defining attribute of one's character. It is possibly the least important aspect of character. Men with the same color skin as I have, have done amazing things. They have also done horrific things. I have no claim on either one. I am my own person, and responsible -- for good or evil -- for the things that I do. If Michael Jackson's blackness was what made him great, was it also what made him weird? Both statements are absurd. But, if you see race as the defining aspect of character, then that is the only truthful conclusion you can come to. But no one wants to take credit for the bad stuff.

Our character is the sum total of our experiences, our thoughts, our actions and our intentions -- the color of our skin should have only a marginal impact, if any, on the development of character.

Ironically, Michael Jackson's own songs indicate how he felt about the subject of race. Go back and listen to "Heal the World." Listen to "Black or White."

Michael Jackson was not perfect. Dr. King was not perfect. I'm not perfect, and neither are you. But, I have to ask, why do we still see this kind of thing everyday (and by the way, there is no such thing as reverse racism -- it's just racism)?

The march on Washington was in 1963.

The great healing dream was given voice 46 years ago.

Why can't we get past this?

"Heal the world. Make it a better place. For you and for me, and the entire human race."

--Michael Jackson


TuTu's Bliss said...

It seems so far away but it just isn't. I agree that there is no such thing as reverse racism just racism but we have come really far in a very short time. The last time a man was hung from a tree just because of the color of his skin in my home state was in the
late 60s. I think even "sharing" is progress considering the pain so many endured. Hugs always, Jen

Aaron said...

I agree. I wrote about this too, but mine was not as good as yours.

The insanity of racism is still alive, fueled by the notion that someone was good or bad based on the color of the pigment in their skin.

Grow up America, move past it. Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

(In my best Napolean) GOSH!!!!!

Alex @ I'm the Mom said...

Very well said. I wouldn't have put it as nicely.