January 17th, 2006

The Lady

Reflections on yesterday's holiday...

I'm not a big fan of Martin Luther King, Jr, but I acknowledge his importance in the history of blacks seeking equality. I grow weary of hearing "I have a dream..." every year around this time, and the hammering of "Black History Month." My main reasons for this are because I feel even many of the most successful black people in our country hide behind alleged inequality as an excuse for whatever social ills they propagate. As an example, I'll never forget a few years back hearing Ja Rule, a young black rap artist who has probably already spent more money than my family of four will ever earn in their lifetimes, speaking in an interview on television. I paraphrase, but I'm very close on this...

      Oh yeah, I still struggle. As long as you're a black man in America, you're going to struggle.

Give me a break! It is precisely this bias of perceived injustice held by many blacks that keeps them in a state of dissatisfaction, in my view. I wonder if he refers to the struggle of traversing his vast estate? Or the struggle of picking which limo he should ride in? Struggle!

I agree with what MLK said in his "I have a dream" speech, though in retrospect history has demonstrated he was unable to live by some of his own words. This, we have learned, is common for powerful, important people. I think of Kennedy, in MLK's day, and Clinton most recently when I offer what, for me, is the most significant quote from that famous speech.

"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 think we've come a long way from the prejudice and racism of those days, but I think we've lost permanent ground when it comes to the content of men's character. Would to God the latter was not so.

Be that as it may, I have learned that the main reason we so rarely hear this speech (or see it written) in its entirety is because the King family controls the copyrights, and they charge fees for its use, even to schools. I think it is a travesty that they would deem the money they make from this speech more important than the distribution of its message. For that reason, I provide you with a link where you can hear it and read it. And, I also provide you with a free, unauthorized copy of the entire speech, in the interest of spreading the message... Collapse )

This is a link to a Washington Post article on this subject.