Today I will wear my collar at the Martin Luther King Parade and ride on the church's float with our daughter. The cover of the history book of America may have changed, but the pages are still being written. Dr. King spoke of the lives of African Americans being crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. Today, segregation and discrimination still bind people of color. However, the oppressor has changed clothes and is now disguised in the disparities of education, health care and the economy, sentencing laws and the war on drugs.
Dr. King marched on Washington to cash a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. That note was a promise that all would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today we should be focused not just on a common inheritance, but also on our own personal investment. This is not an African American holiday. It is an American holiday.
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” wrote Dr. King. Our present must be about our common destiny. To make manifest the Dream of Dr. King, we must walk with the clarity that our destinies are intertwined and our freedom is inextricably bound.
We have come this far with a black problem looking for a black solution. We have seen progress. If we are to continue the arc of progress, our struggle for justice can no longer be a black problem. If you are white, spend time today learning about the privilege in this country of having light skin.
Racism is an American problem.
It is my problem.
And it is yours.