Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!
All Americans should celebrate the life of this great American and the minders of the Georgia State House located just blocks from the place of his birth in Atlanta, should find a more prominent place for his portrait, but I digress.
Below is my first Charlotte Observer column published January 16, 2007. So important have race relations been in my life that I made it the subject of my dead tree main stream media debut.
Let me add some context, two years on. Much of MLK's dream has been realized, and tomorrows Inauguration of the first President of known partial African descent is just the latest and most visible. Me and most of my friends, black and white in the South, long ago moved on from the race game and have judged each other by character content, and dare I day that for more than 20 years, so have most Americans.
What is so sad is that the media and the left won't let race go.
Now, we have the greatest proof of all that whites will elect a Black man. Obama polled better than Kerry. That case is closed.
But what of blacks? To my mind, they will not have realized the Dream until they stop voting for Democrats at the rate of 90+%. No one should begrudge Blacks in their overwhelming support of Obama. Catholics and Southerners did the same with their firsts.
But the real test comes in the next elections. Will they now vote more according to their beliefs on policy.
I heard someone say that the real evidence that America was achieving the dream was not so much when Frank Robinson was named the first black manager of a Major League Baseball team, but rather, when he was fired for reasons akin to those just like his white counterparts.
My dream is that we get past the political correctness, expose and extirpate all our pathologies and truly judge each other and our own based on character and not skin color, and that ultimately, we consider all of each other, our own, i.e. We the People.
Since Eve but the apple and Cain slew Abel, there have been those that found reasons to hate, with race being one of them. But that some people have and will always harbor such hatred should not obscure the fact that we are living in King's Dream today.
Now, from two years ago:
Achieve King's dream with equal treatment
Misguided liberal policies assume blacks are inferior victims
Special to the Observer
"Daddy, why would somebody want to shoot a preacher?"
That was a precocious little boy's first reaction upon seeing the headline of The Spartanburg Herald announcing the assassination of the 39-year-old leader of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr.
No holiday cries out for a progress report more than the one President Ronald Reagan signed into law in 1983 and that America celebrated yesterday. Where do we stand nearly 39 years after King's death on April 4, 1968?
Brandon Woolfolk, a 23-year-old African American junior at UNC Charlotte presently working as a hotel clerk, told me last week that "One change is that back then blacks feared whites. Today, they fear other blacks."
Dewey Tullis, a life-long educator and prominent black member of the Spartanburg County Democratic Party, told The Wall Street Journal before last fall's election he was supporting the Republican running for South Carolina's top education post because, "Frankly, I'm tired of seeing our young black men graduate high school without knowing how to read and write."
One main reason for these disturbing assessments: the well-intentioned but misguided liberal policies implemented immediately after the race-based "Jim Crow" laws were abolished. New race-based laws were passed, old non-race-based laws were misinterpreted by liberal judges, and new welfare policies kicked the black father out of the house and made Uncle Sam daddy.
Character building a priority
By contrast, King's dream was that people be judged based, not on skin color, but rather on the content of their character. There is hope, however.The Charlotte-Mecklenburg African American Agenda conference earlier this month, whose agenda "priorities" could have been written by whites, shows that more and more blacks get it and are about the business of character building. Event organizers even invited as a featured speaker National Public Radio correspondent and Fox News commentator Juan Williams, author of "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America -- and What We Can Do About It."
Now, what about Caucasians?
I became active in the Democratic Party mainly due to my disdain for the racism I saw in the 1970s. Happily, I watched most of the Republican racism melt under the weight of King's mainstream American and Judeo-Christian moral arguments. Unhappily, I watched disturbing pathologies develop within my party and its members.
Then, during my five years in Atlanta before moving to the Queen City, I experienced what I call a "conservative epiphany," in large part due to the covertly racist behavior of fellow liberal Democrats in their treatment of blacks as inferior victim dependents and their overt disdain for the Christian faith that inspired King.
Radio talk show host Dennis Prager recently described being shown a video of people reacting to a talk show organized by a firm that specializes in analyzing such shows for their producers. Prager noticed that the carefully chosen panel included no blacks. The firm explained that in their previous experience they discovered that after a black person gave their opinion about a show, white people would rarely offer differing opinions for fear of being deemed racist.
This condescending and misplaced white guilt and fear of the Political Correctness Police must end.
Face down the PC crowd
I don't remember Daddy's answer to his eldest son's innocent inquiry some 39 years ago, but there is nothing I better remember than the way he lived his life. Dad employed the non-race-based Golden Rule found in Matthew's Gospel as he coached some of the first racially integrated little league baseball teams in my hometown and insisted that blacks employed with him at Southern Railway be held to the same standards as whites.
King based his civil rights message largely on that New Testament passage, which admonishes us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, as well as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which acknowledge equality before our Creator and require equal treatment under the law.
Quite simply, whites must stop treating blacks as inferiors, and muster the courage to face down the PC crowd to make King's dream more of a reality.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson