As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech “I Have A Dream” it’s caused me to look inward & examine how I really feel about White people in this country. Let me start off by saying that people of all races get on my nerves, so I certainly don’t discriminate in that regard. But sometimes when I see older Whites (male or female) I often ask myself, “I wonder how they felt about Black people 50 years ago?”
Let’s review our history, shall we? Integration in our school systems wasn’t really enforced until 1957 (Brown v. Board of Education, 1955) and the Civil Rights Act wasn’t passed until 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on a plethora of things, including race. Basically, less than 50 years ago the majority of Whites in this country didn’t think that Blacks were good to enough to go to school with, let alone hire. So, I often wonder do White people of that generation take issue with the way things are now?
In my daily comings & goings I often encounter older White people and when time permits I sometimes stop & ask them their true feelings about the Civil Rights era. I ask them how they view African Americans in this country today. I also inquire as to whether or not they raised their children to be against minorities, Affirmative Action or equal rights especially since that was simply the way things were for their generation. And I also wonder what these same older White people are doing today in 2013 to help unify this country, eradicate racism and promote equality.
After I have these discussions with older White people, I speculate on what life will be like in 30 or 40 years when Whites become the minority in this country. Will I be able to empathize with them? Will I fight for their “equal” rights even though they didn’t fight for ours?
On this 50th Anniversary of the March On Washington it’s nice to see so many people standing up for what’s right. But as the 11-time NBA Championship winner Bill Russell said in his speech today, “You can only measure progress by how far you have to go”.