As a believer and witness to some aspects of Martin Luther King’s Jr dream I have seen with my own eyes facets of his words become a norm among our cultural that was a radical change during his lifetime. My heart is saddened though because to blindly think that all of Dr. King’s “Dream” has come true is not real. My question to you is simple, but at the same time it is quite intricate. Do you believe Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech has come to full permanence? If not what aspects of our culture needs to change in order to truly live the dream?
Interracial Adoption –
One hot button issue that is up for debate is becoming an adoptive parent to baby or a child of a different race. Celebrities such as Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock among others have adopted children from other countries. One of Madonna’s adopted children came from Lilongwe, Malawi. The controversy surrounding this issue is that these children are not only from another country they are of a different race. This raises serious questions about race relations and for the children finding their own identity within the two worlds they are now a part of. In 2010 black children left the care system at the rate of 24% while white kids were at 43% according to the US Department of health and human services. So if black minority children are getting adopted in less numbers than whites should it matter who adopts them?
One aspect of the article I read on CNN in which the author Lola Jaye who also wrote a novel of a Nigerian girl who is adopted by a British pop star and has issues connecting to her roots back home. Her writings note the issue at the heart of the matter. The detachment the child may feel knowing they are different and also knowing they come from a country or household unlike they place of origin. Not talking about race and differences between the two cultures seems to do more damage than good. Taking the there is only one race the human race approach where some people pretend not to see color lines seems to have a adverse effect. The talk on race needs to be a continuous one with the child acknowledging and learning from differences instead of ignoring them.
One encouraging statistic is that interracial marriages among heterosexual couples have seen a jump of 28% from 2000 nearly 5.4 million couples. Also an 18% increase among unmarried heterosexual couples (1.2 million), and also 21% jump for same sex couples. Dan Lichter a sociologist at Cornell University emphasizes “Race is still a category that separates us and divide us,” but “ this might be evidence that some historical boundaries that separate us are breaking down” Lichter says. The internet has been a key channeling factor in connecting more and more people and couples that may have never have met before. To add to the stats according to the US census biracial and minority babies being born outnumber white babies for the first time.
Another positive sign that Dr. King’s Dream is gaining momentum is that the education gap between black kids and white kids is narrowing. One of the authors of an article on “The Regal Magazine” Ferguson points out that his research shows that the parents of white kids and black kids read to them pretty much the same amount of time from first grade to fifth grade. After fifth grade the percentage jumps to 70% of white parents reading daily as opposed to 40% of black parents reading to their kids. The educational gap now is more about economics than race. Low income families as opposed to high income families are now showing increasing gaps in education. Only 9% of second generation individuals in a low-income household had completed college reported in 2007. Now that the educational gap is shifting more towards a social class issue than of race fixing our economic shortcomings maybe a key factor in fixing our country and fulfilling Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream.
Racism still alive –
Even though the US is making strides to the utopian like society that Dr. King envisioned in his speech, We still have those who oppose the progress and more so those who have not properly identified racial tendencies that have been ingrained in the fabric of their history. To touch on the subject Paula Deen who earlier last week was exposed in a deposition for some racially insensitive words including using the N-word. More so than that, nothing has exposed the open wound of racism in this country and even the refusal to see it the case of a 17 year old boy in the state of Florida who was shot and killed last year.
Treyvon Martin’s death by the hands of George Zimmerman started a campaign of support not only in the black community, but those who have lost a child to gun violence. A law in the state in Florida that gave Zimmerman exemption from being arrested is one of self defense. The law itself came into question in such cases as this one. Sean Bell, Emmett Till, Rodney King and now Treyvon Martin are all cases where an injustice was not prohibited by the law and have also called for public outrage. What is fascinating about this case is the subliminal perception played out by the media on the two individuals in this case. For Martin’s perception he is portrayed as a normal 17 old kid who went to school, hung out with friends and kept up with what was going on with his social media content. While another point of view showed Martin as a menace in high school who often suspended, smoked marijuana wore a “hoody” which became the centerpiece of the argument. Even Geraldo Rivera, who explains that the hoody itself made Treyvon a thug who would’ve killed Zimmerman certainly if he hadn’t acted heroically.
One theory that touches on the heart of the matter of racism is economics and social class and the separation of the classes. Many believe capitalism is the reason racism is an able-bodied force that continues to subject minorities to sub standard living and quality of life. The idea of capitalism gained momentum in this country during the slave trade. The slave traders and merchant capitalists made money using African men and women plantation workers, maids, servants, nannies and other fields of service. In Africa the mining of diamonds and America the mining of gold and silver has made many traders fortunes that started the early industries of capitalism and more important this revolutionized the world.
The enforcement of slavery was for cheap labor so it was primarily economic benefits more than social prejudice against an ethnic group. So if capitalism is keeping racism and inequality alive what then can be done to handle racism? Some believe socialism is the answer. Think about it there are no social classes. Everyone enjoys the same quality of life and access to the individual development. It may not be what you think is the right answer for this country. I just want the information to be out in the public eye. If this is not the answer what would you suggest?
My Last Words –
As a young child growing up in America I definitely identified myself with my African- American brothers and sisters, but as any kid when you’re young you can play on the playground with any race and have fun. You didn’t worry about inequality or employment differences between the races. It’s funny how when you get older through the years and you form more and more opinions about the world around you, you simultaneously isolate yourself into groups whether it’s based on race, gender, nationality, political alliance or any disunions from each other. I look on my facebook page and have friended people I haven’t talked to in years, but I remember even wanting to be like them because they were the popular one or the cool one. Yes some of them were white and some were of other races, honestly to me though it was more of how I saw myself as shy kind wanting to be more outspoken than wanting to switch my race.
What was pointed out to me sadly though is that in order to truly be a post-racial society we have to an honest conversation about it and make a stalwart effort to change our society from the top down. From the TV shows we watch, to the radio, to the neighborhoods we live, the foods we eat and even the way we speak to one another is essential to real change. It hurts my heart enough to cry, because I have biracial family members who I love dearly and know that I have friends who look past color lines and have accepted me into their friend circle without me assimilating to fit in. I love this country and I hope to see all aspects of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream come true.