I have commented on several occasions with friends over the past three days how ignorant our society has become to MLK and his writings. I don’t know if I want to begin the blame game and say it is the media’s fault, the school’s fault, or WalMart’s fault (Biggest Shopping Day since the Christmas Holidays!!! blah blah blah….). Rather than blame anyone, I simply ask that you take a few minutes today and read for yourself one of his many great speeches and see how applicable his words are for you, for me, for all of us.
One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
I was part of a workshop on cultural diversity last weekend, and I, for the first time in my life, really began to understand what it meant to be black and what blacks go through on a daily basis in America. And now, when I read such words as I have snipped above from the Dream speech, I realize (for the first time again) what MLK’s words mean.
As a dad in a single-income family raising three young children, I have often grumbled at the hardships of making ends meet on a daily basis and living in such a way that I pray for no emergencies requiring buckets of cash to fix broken cars, broken bones, broken water heaters. But in all of my grumblings, I have taken for granted the privileges I have been afforded simply by being a white man in America.
Despite what people may say about affirmative action, about political correctness, about white guilt, about all of That, I will, in my lifetime, always have a greater advantage over non-white males to live a life that is not under a societal magnifying glass so acutely focused on me that the very concentration of it burns my skin and disallows me the opportunity to walk down the street, drive down a road, eat in a restaurant without wondering what others might be thinking (because in all of these places, there is the strong possibility that there is somebody thinking prejudicially).
But even beyond that, I read MLK’s words and learn from them as they apply to my own life: They are inspiring to me to be the person God made me to be–to be him fully and with a charge to not let this gift of who I am go ungiven to the rest of the world today as well as 150 years from now.
May I do my part to live fully, responsibly, and dare to dream and work toward the fulfillment of those dreams.
Take some time today and read MLK’s words. Strip away the thoughts of great sales and days off and let the words speak to you what they will.
Then embark on the day living fully as You, in all ways that You may provide happiness and love for yourself and for those around you.