What about Dr. King’s dream?

Published 8:46 pm Monday, January 16, 2017

By Joseph L. Bass

It is interesting to observe activities celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is often quoted. In it he envisioned that people will be judged based on their character, not the color of their skin.

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It seems unfortunate that many do not understand what America will be like when we achieve Dr. King’s dream. How can we effectively strive to achieve his dream if many envision a world different from what he talked about? Because of this, we are not making much progress.

What will be the characteristics of the United States of America when his dream becomes a reality? Much, of course, will be different from today in schools, academic research, government programs, employment and the news media.

In our schools, there will be no issues involving race and ethnicity. If people of the same race or ethnicity want to live in the same neighborhood, their children will go to the local school. If a lot of Italian-Americans want to live in the same neighborhoods, there will be no concern about concentrations of their children being able to walk to school.

Money for the children’s education will be spent on learning supplies, enriching educational activities, books, internet access, teacher salaries and so on, instead of buses and fuel.

No one will think that Italian-American children can learn less because they attend schools populated by their cultural peers.

Research designed to determine how government programs can best help Americans will focus on the character of those that do well and those that do not.

What are the common characteristics of families and villages that produce children with strong characters, resulting in high achievement in school and work? How can government programs provide activities that develop good character in our children so that they can achieve the American dream as adults?

As Frederick Douglass, another great visionary, said, “It is easier to raise strong children than repair broken men.”

The American economy will be stronger, and people will have greater wealth, because businesses will spend money on developing and making quality products, instead of spending money on bureaucratic efforts to document employees’ race or ethnicity. Employees will be hired and fired based on their work performance, reducing overhead costs for lawyers.

News articles in the media will no longer focus on “firsts.” When a white, female is appointed president of Howard University, there will be no news articles about her race or gender. There will only be news about her academic and experiential background and capabilities to lead this great university.

America will be greater and stronger when we achieve Dr. King’s dream. Unfortunately, we are not making much progress in that direction.

Today, the media, the government, and the people are headed in the opposite direction. All focus continues to be on race and ethnicity, instead of striving toward the rainbow world Dr. King envisioned.

How can we move forward if our focus is on the characteristics Dr. King abhorred?

Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at ABetterSociety1@aol.com.