What happened to King’s dream?

Published 7:31 pm Monday, November 10, 2014

Recently I saw a lady with a T-shirt celebrating the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. In his speech he envisioned an America in which people would be judged based on merit and character, not the color of their skin.

Now, 61 years later, what has come of his dream? I am concerned many people that think they are promoting civil rights are actually promoting bigotry.

In 1965 I viewed civil rights much the same as Dr. King. I had just moved to California and was starting a first-period seventh-grade social studies class when an eighth-grade girl walked in who was assigned to help school secretaries.

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She handed me a nearly blank card on which was a request for information about the students in my class based on a euphemism I did not understand. I told her I would provide the information later.

In a few minutes she came back and said the counselor said I had to provide the information now. I wrote on the card, “I only have regular students in my class in here.” Later the counselor came in, counting students and writing down numbers.

Of course, what was desired was a count of the white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and so on, students. Since this was Southern California, there was quite a mix. There was one girl who had just moved from Brazil and could speak only a little English.

From my point of view, race, ethnicity, and so on didn’t make any difference. I was there to help every student learn as much as possible. Mine is the kind of point of view that Dr. King would appreciate.

What has become of Dr. King’s dream? I see little effort to move toward it. Most “civil rights” activists continue to focus on race. Race is frequently promoted as an important issue in voting districts, school attendance areas, university admissions, employment quotes, government grants and contracts and more. Many will vote for a particulate candidate for elected office, not based on merit and character, but based on the color of the candidate’s skin.

It seems to me that what passes as the “civil rights” movement is based on bigotry.

If we are to move forward toward Dr. King’s dream, race and ethnicity can no longer be factors associated with voting districts, school attendance areas, university admissions, employment quotes, government grants and contracts, and for whom we vote. Only merit and character will be involved in these issues.

And what passes today as civil rights activism will be seen as what it is — promoting bigotry.