“We all stood - amidst this brotherhood of humanity - rapt with attention as King told of his dream of an America where his four little children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged "by the color of their skin but by the content of their character". Martin Luther King.
What a powerful phrase. It should replace the tired worn, “we shall overcome”, rhetoric of the past. Why are there not thousands of voices condemning the continuation of a fight against those who would continue a fight in anger when achievement in harmony would be so much better? The blame of failure to succeed lies within the individual and those who instill beliefs of blame upon others.” (huffington post)
Kings words that day are revered today as a battle cry. Not the words about character,
(they would be pointing the finger in an unpopular direction) but the call to overcome unfairness. We have too many churches, learning institutions and politicians clinging to the injustices of the past rather than the possibilities of the future.
If an honest appraisal of our race problems in the United States were to be taken, one would have to admit to great movements toward equality in most areas of our society. We hear only about how badly we mistreat our African American populace and other people of color. This is in fact true, but the reasons are most likely not due to prejudice.
We continue to hear about the disproportionate numbers in regards to unemployment, incarceration, conviction rates and income. We get bombasted with media hype about how Latinos and African Americans are viewed as dangerous by the rest of us. About how we view them as incapable of holding higher paying jobs. Once again there is truth in those statements, but the reasons are most likely not entirely due to prejudice. The responsibility for curing social illnesses is one we all bear each and every day. If we as individuals do nothing to make our neighbors existence on this planet better, then we are failing both them and ourselves. As a society, we need to start treating cause rather than blaming the symptoms on someone else.
Martin Luther King’s dream consisted of an uplifting of his people into a place where their character replaced color as criteria for equality or inequality. There can be no denial of his character or the character traits that he propagated within his community. Whether or not he would be happy with the advances we have made regarding racial equality is not the question. Would he be promoting the anger, the resentment and the entitlement mentality? I don’t think so. He was a person who accepted his responsibility as a leader and acted in that manner.
We no longer have that many heroes in our society who promote good behavior, a high ethical standard and the Good Samaritan attitudes that I was privy to in my formative ages. The Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy’s have all been replaced. Heroes expounding the feats required to overcome evil are at a minimum, while being replaced by examples of a more dubious nature. Our young people are in an atmosphere constant input from those outside their immediate influence. This is not limited to any one ethnic group but spreads across all boundaries within our country. Our society is what the majority holds sacred in its cumulative beliefs, ethical sensitivities, and whatever seems popular. Character is only relevant to now, in the new society, not what was or what may be a better for the individual in fact. Age old mores of value are being eroded by the constant waves of anger, mistrust, and feelings of being denied, the “you owe me because I exist”, perks of life. It is as if the past descriptions of morality and respect for others have been replaced in the new heroes with the attitudes promoted by gangsta rappers, shock entertainers, anarchists, rebels, violent videos. It is no longer an “in thing” to be a law abiding, hardworking, responsible young adult who works toward achieving successes in their life.
The society and country we are to be exists in the nourishment we provide the minds of our children. It rests upon each of our shoulders to insure the quality of character that will enhance the beliefs of the future in a positive manner. All people of all groups within our great country have the responsibility of positive example, remembering that we are all members of the family we call humanity.