Swickard: Understanding MLK’s colorblind world

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. They are words that will dwell in the hearts of mankind for centuries: “I have a dream…” At last week’s fifty year celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, I was disappointed that the occasion was partisan and worse, missed entirely Martin Luther King’s desire for a colorblind society.
     What made King extraordinary was that, like Gandhi earlier, he knew the oppressed minority could not by force of arms change their own status. Both men realized that only by appealing to the good people of the majority could any real change occur. That is exactly what happened.
     The 20th century was America’s worst and best years. Sadly, early in the century our Constitution had been changed but not the society. Men of color fought for this country and came back to a society still firmly in the grip of the race haters. We now realize that many of the majority population were on the side of minorities but needed a catalyst for them to make societal changes.
     In the 1950s Martin Luther King had a vision of a colorblind society. He did not want Blacks to oppress Whites any more than he wanted segregation to continue. It was difficult to change our society. As we saw in the years that followed, discrimination by the majority was eliminated. Yes, there are still pockets of haters on both sides and there are race baiters and those who make a good living dividing us, the United States of America. But we, as a nation, heard the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. We reached out and embraced his heart to ours.
     This nation now reflects a racial blend of heroes and leaders from President Obama to Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Condoleezza Rice, Bill Cosby, Will Smith, Oprah. And the list goes on. Any child born today can be president or can rise to the top of Hollywood. Any child born today can be a general, admiral or Supreme Court Justice. Our society is becoming a racially blended society. Tiger Woods blends two races as does our President.
      We are told that we should not judge all Muslims by the actions of the few extremists. I would extend that argument to include not judging America by the actions of a few race haters. Let us be Martin Luther King’s colorblind America.Read full column



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