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Dr. King’s Legacy For All Americans

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As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and work tomorrow (Monday, January 16), I think that we should take a moment to remember his important contribution to our country and the world. Dr. King walked with tremendous dignity despite carrying a heavy load, in his own interpretation of faith, much the same way Jesus did when carrying the cross. Dr. King’s crosses to bear were prejudice, inequity, and ignorance, but he did not shrink away from this momentous challenge but rather embraced it as his raison d’être until the day he died.

When I teach composition to college students, one of the pieces I use for the section on argument and persuasion is Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It is one of the finest pieces of writing, persuasive or otherwise, that we have as a legacy of American truth and justice. Like Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address,” Dr. King’s speech stands the test of time, and it seems to me to be even more poignant and to the point than it was forty-two years ago.

Can we imagine what it must have been like to stand on the Mall that day and hear that magnificent speech? I’d say there have only been a few times in history when such a great oratorical moment has been recorded for posterity and so many people learned of it and felt its impact. The fact that it was broadcast on national television added to its importance and scope, and I can picture the New York lawyer, the Congressman in Washington, the tycoon on his estate, and the poor people of this country all watching it at the same time. Obviously its effect would vary depending on the individual, and those who were ignorant or intolerant were probably not going to watch (or more importantly listen) in the first place.

There are so many amazing lines in this speech. The one I like best, and one that I know I will share with my daughter as she gets older, is “I dream of a time when my children are not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Who would not want this for his or her children and all children everywhere? This and so many other lines from the speech haunt me, for Dr. King’s dream should not ever be forgotten, but sometimes it seems that it has been.

We need all children to wake up and go to school everyday knowing that it is their world, that we are going to make it so, that we want them ALL to learn, that they can be anything they want to be, and that this is true and not just an advertising slogan. This has to be valid for all races and both genders. The legendary New York City politician Shirley Chisolm, who died last year, said that her greatest obstacle (in politics) was not being black but being a woman. Dr. King’s words apply to this and many other situations for women. A female student must never be afraid to raise her hand, especially not because she is a girl and fears indignity or believes she will not be treated with equity.

We have a long way to go, but look how far we’ve come. I suppose Dr. King would be pleased with many things that have transpired since he gave that amazing speech in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial on that beautiful August day in 1963, but he would also be outraged that many inequities remain. As we reflect on the marvel of the accomplishments of his life, his contribution to our culture and nation, we must remain in awe. Against much adversity, he stood for peace, dignity, and decency when no one else could or would do so.

The “I Have a Dream” speech is for all Americans, including those from many countries who did not call America home back in 1963. Then the divide might have been discerned as between black and white; today the unfortunate rift is more multifaceted, with so many immigrants living here from all over the world. I’m sure Dr. King would be cognizant of the fact that these new Americans face the challenges of those who came before them, and he would embrace this diversity and stress the necessity of opening our arms and welcoming them into the American family, the mosaic that has become our nation.

If Dr. King were alive today…. It is hard to end that sentence and not think of possibilities, of his growing older and guiding generations who have come since his passing. One thing we know is that Dr. King learned something important from another great leader named Mahatma Gandhi (who was also assassinated). He understood Gandhi’s wisdom that peaceful protest is the only successful kind, for it melts the swords of the oppressors much faster than going at them with firepower.

Of all the things he might have done, I believe Dr. King would have continued his work for peace while always remaining peaceful; it seems that lesson is sorely needed in this uncertain time in history. If only people across the world would embrace this tactic today, we would have less war and much more peace and stability.

What would our world be like if Dr. King had lived? It would have been inevitably a much better place.

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About Victor Lana

Victor Lana has published numerous stories, articles, and poems in literary magazines and online. His books In a Dark Time (1994), A Death in Prague (2002), Move (2003), The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories (2005) and Like a Passing Shadow (2009) are available online and as e-books. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated mostly on fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with Blogcritics since July 2005, has edited many articles, was co-head sports editor with Charley Doherty, and now is a Culture and Society editor. He views Blogcritics as one of most exciting, fresh, and meaningful opportunities in his writing life.
  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    In a more enlightened future, I am confident, the time of year we call the holiday season will extend at least until the middle of January, and include the celebration of Martinsday. It certainly couldn’t hurt to add an extra three weeks to the season when we all do whatever we can to promote peace on earth and goodwill toward everyone.

  • Catana

    I’m confident that if King had lived, it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference. It’s nice to think that one individual could really count for much, but that’s not the world we live in. At least the anniversary gives everyone a chance to do some wishful thinking and indulge in useless sentimentality.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    It must be convenient to believe such things, Catana. That line of thinking makes a perfect rationalization for never lifting a finger to help anyone else unless you might profit by doing so.

    If I’ve misjudged the way you go through life, I’d love for you to explain what you’ve done to make the world a better place, and how you reconcile such actions with the pessimist philosophy you’ve stated above.

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    Catana, I understand your sentiments, especially the way the world is going these days, but I have to believe in one man (or woman) being able to make a difference. Think: Dr. King, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Louis Braille, etc. Perhaps I am too optimistic, but I want to believe that the good in the human race outweighs the negative. In that way one person can rise up and spark change and lead the way.

  • Catana

    That’s quite an assumption you’re making, Victor Plenty. I didn’t say no one should do anything. I merely said that one person isn’t going to make much of a difference. I see a lot of the eulogizing as a way of excusing oneself from having to do anything. Our world is too complex for any one person to have a real effect. But if all the sentimentalists would get off their collective asses, then maybe things would change.

    I consider it hypocrisy when people eulogize King (or whoever), moan about what’s happening to our society and to the environment, and then run off to Walmart or someplace similar that’s having a big sale on something that they could do just as well without.

    You haven’t just misjudged, you’ve misread and made unwarranted assumptions.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    I have to believe in one man (or woman) being able to make a difference.

    I don’t dispute that Dr. King made a difference…but ultimately, no matter how good the leader is, it’s the people who follow his lead that make the difference.

    King led the group that organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott, but it took thousands of people consciously avoiding the buses for that boycott to work.

    Perhaps he would have continued to inspire if he had lived, but his death is no excuse for letting his inspiration fall by the wayside. Because his work was ultimately made successful and great by the people…and the people are still here.

  • http://www.richardbrodie.com/ Richard Brodie

    Martin Luther King Day is racist. I don’t think there should be any holidays for contemporary individuals, for two reasons:

    1. It’s wrong to single out one racial group for special recognition. Haven’t there been Oriental Americans who have made valuable contributions? I guess maybe they just weren’t as noisy, or didn’t get as much media coverage. And what about the original inhabitants of this land, the American Indians? A Cochise Day, to commemorate the most famous Apache warrior to resist intrusions by whites in the 19th century would certainly be preferrable to a King Day.

    2. Even among blacks, who decided that MLK was more worthy of being honored in this way than someone like G.W. Carver? Now there’s a real American, someone didn’t spend his life rabble-rousing for the government to try and regulate social attitudes and behaviors, but instead went about overcoming, on an individual level, the obstacles that stood in his way. Instead of the collective “WE shall overcome”, here was a man whose infinitely more admiriable individualistic motto was “I will overcome.”

    The disgusting fact is, some idiot politicians wanted to set up King Day in order to try and ingratiate a particular ethnic minority. At the very least, don’t you think it should be rotated between MLK, Jesse Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan?

  • Anthony Grande

    I am offended that MLK Day gets so much recongition and schools and banks close with it too.

    Don’t get me wrong MLK was a great man and he did great things (except for some adultry problems) but why does he and his day get so much respect and credit while the greatest Italian American and bravest man ever to live Christopher Columbus and his day gets nothing?

    I don’t even get Columbus Day off from school. They say “Oh, Martin Luther King Jr. was just for the blacks, he did everyone justice.” Well, yeah, but didn’t Columbus do something that benefited everyone in the world?

  • Maurice

    Michael #6

    Amen. The people are still here. You could call MLK the catalyst that made the people act. Now that we have acted we must never forget.

    Have a great MLK day everyone.

    Maurice

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    Thanks to all for the comments.

    In the end one man (or woman) makes a difference because he or she inspires others. If tens of thousands of Indians protested peacefully against the British because they were following Gandhi’s lead, then that’s a case of one man’s difference. Of course it takes others; it always does.

    Dr. King didn’t do it all by himself, but he started the fire and others dipped their torches in his flames and lit the darkness.

    And Anthony, Columbus Day is a national holiday: banks, schools, and stock markets close. New York City holds a huge parade. I don’t see how (and I’m partially of Italian descent) this doesn’t honor Columbus.

  • Anthony Grande

    That is funny Victor. I had to go to school on Columbus Day. Where is the honor?

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    It should be Emancipation Day celebrating the end of the Civil War, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the great Americans who went before us in the struggle for basic civil rights. Dr. King deserves many an accolade but we must never forget Malcom X, Medgar Evers and, most of all, Rosa Parks. In that spirit, we must work to achieve that equality which sees no race, gender or nationality as an impediment. It all sounds real pretty and we talk a great talk. The reality is we remain divided in this war of race and idealogy.

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    If that’s the case, Anthony (your going to school on Columbus Day), then it’s a matter to take up with your school. It is still a national holiday. Yesterday, despite that status for Dr. King’s holiday, many people still had to work. I had a UPS delivery; I saw school buses (although much fewer than usual), and New York City Sanitation picked up the garbage.

    Besides, the most important thing about a holiday is not having the day off but using it as a way to honor the person/day/concept/. For example, as a Catholic I don’t get off for Ash Wednesday, so then it is up to me to go get ashes. On Election Day I have to work, so it is my choice to make sure I vote.

    The thing is to be proactive. By the way, what do you do to honor Columbus on his day? On the other 364 days of the year?

  • zingzing

    i had to work yesterday, and it took me until lunch time to even realize that it was MLK day. the spot i wanted to go to for lunch was closed… on a monday… i didn’t understand. then my friend reminded me that it was MLK day. next thing to come out of my mouth was, “well then, why the hell am i working?” which, of course, was not the right response.
    even though i had to work, those of us who did have the day off from school or work should use that day, or at least some small part of it, to reflect on the changes that MLK set in motion. his contributions to american society were vastly important. they trancend race.
    i don’t think that bitching about other days you don’t have off from school is the right response. neither is calling the day “racist.” do you think that african-americans benefit from the day more than you do? certainly, they do not. well, they might, because they probably do reflect upon his contributions with deep thanks and thought. there are plenty of days that celebrate white americans. the very thought of calling MLK day “racist” is pretty damn racist already.
    columbus’ contributions to american society are more mercurial/debatable. did he discover america? up for grabs… did he even land in america? don’t think so… what was he after? india… and more specifically, trade routes, and more specifically, monetary gain. his journey was hard and it was brave, but was it as hard or brave as MLK’s? hell, no it wasn’t.

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    Zing, your comments are an affirmation. Thanks. To call a day dedicated to Dr. King “racist” seems in and of itself a racist thing to say. This man was so dedicated to rights for all citizens that it must be understood that he was speaking for every American (even, amazingly, the bigots who hated him). The problem is some people heard him but weren’t listening. That’s really something we can’t change but it is a sad thing indeed.

    The key thing is to examine that “I Have a Dream” speech carefully (having taught lessons regarding it, I know it word by word). Dr. King includes everyone in “the dream” and indeed recognizes that anything less than that will be a failure.

    Brave? Undeniably. A hero? Unquestionably.

  • http://www.richardbrodie.com/ Richard Brodie

    the very thought of calling MLK day “racist” is pretty damn racist already.

    Well, I thought I made it pretty clear why it was not racist. But by now I’m getting pretty used to people not replying to my SPECIFIC points on this “discussion” site, but instead just coming back with nothing but an unresponsive, general negation of my position.

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    Okay, let’s look at what Richard said specifically.

    1. It’s wrong to single out any racial group for special recognition.

    Could be true if this were called Black Americans Day or Day Only for Black Americans. That is not the case. As I think I’ve noted in the post and my comments, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is something for all Americans, thus inherently not racist (though some may still perceive it to be).

    2. Even among blacks, who decided that MLK was worthy of being honored?

    It comes down to either believing in everything having an ulterior motive or not. Quite simply, in my estimation, many people (black and white) saw MLK as a heroic person, an exemplary figure who preached peace and justice and died for it. In my humble opinion, that makes him “worthy” of the day.

    Richard also mentions that the holiday should be “rotated” to honor other blacks. Fair enough thought wise, but the problem again lies in motivation. Look what has happened to Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays. These used to be individual holidays for the presidents celebrated on separate days; now we have President’s Day which basically honors ALL former presidents. I don’t know if this captures the essence of the day or not. I don’t think many people are doing anything to honor Lincoln, Washington, or Grover Cleveland for that matter.

    Unfortunately, it has become a day to boost lagging midwinter sales. It also kicks off a week long vacation for most schools. People aren’t doing much to celebrate anything; they’re out shopping or flying to Jamaica for sun and fun.

    I think we run the risk of corrupting the very nature of holidays in general. By losing the meaning of their original intent, these days will become just days off with no substance. I don’t think we want that for Dr. King’s Day or any other holiday worthy of celebration.

  • http://www.richardbrodie.com/ Richard Brodie

    In a sense, Victor, you’re correct. It is a day for all Americans – a sad day. King epitomizes the ultimate corruption of what this country once stood for. America was founded on the concept of individual rights. Civil rights are counterfeit rights.

    The fundamental right to the pursuit of happiness, which primarily entails having the government leave you alone, has been corrupted into the antipathetic “right” to have an all-intrusive government try to guarantee that you will achieve happiness.

    When men are free, there is always the risk that they will not achieve the happiness they want. And conversely when the government undertakes to attempt the impossible, and tries to guarantee that everyone will achieve happiness, we wind up being neither free, nor happy. Men who value liberty don’t mind accepting the risk of failure, in order to be free to pursue happiness in their own way.

    King also represents the corruption of language that always accompanies the destruction of noble political ideals. Before him “discrimination” wasn’t a dirty word. To be discriminating in one’s taste still carries a vestige of positive connotation, but it has now become primarily a perjorative term. It started out as a synonym for discernment, the ability to see or make fine distictions – the quintessential defining characteristic of rational intelligence.

    But consider its new meaning – treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit. In order to prove to the government that you do not discriminate, an employer, educational institution, etc. winds up having to ignore individual merit and reject applicants of greater merit, based on their status as members of the majority class, in favor of someone of lesser merit from a minority class. In other words, in order not to discriminate you have to discriminate! This is a perfect example of what Ayn Rand aptly calls “cannabalistic” concepts. Martin Luther King day is the celebration of an epistemological disaster.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    It’s my understanding that in some southern states it’s actually called King Lee Jackson Day.

  • zingzing

    richard brodie, #16: “Well, I thought I made it pretty clear why it was not racist. But by now I’m getting pretty used to people not replying to my SPECIFIC points on this “discussion” site, but instead just coming back with nothing but an unresponsive, general negation of my position.”

    richard brodie, #7: “Martin Luther King Day is racist.”

    zingzing, #20: “i generally negate your position, and this is a response. end of discussion.”

  • zingzing

    richard, what the hell are you talking about? “an epistemological disaster?” who the fuck cares? because of MLK, black people can use the same bathroom as white people, they don’t get lynched for whistling at a white woman, they can vote without the threat of violence, they can sit anywhere they goddamn choose, they are FREE.

    oooh, the word “discriminate” leaves a bad taste in your mouth? jesus, what about every other word that you say?

    and that crap about civil rights being counterfeit? yeah, maybe to you, white man, but i guarantee that no black man in 1963 was thinking, “jeez, what’ll happen to my pursuit of happiness when those policemen stop aiming water cannons at my body and attack dogs aren’t knawing at my legs? what’ll my happiness think when i can sit eat where i choose? what’ll happen when i can admire that white lady without getting beaten into a pulp and dropped at the bottom of a river with a stove tied around my neck? hmm… better reconsider this…”

    i want to call you many different, foul names.

  • zingzing

    oh yeah, there are inherant problems with affirmative action. it is a bit… unfair in it’s own way. but, so are the hiring and admission practices of many companies and institutions. so, it’s a necessary evil.

    america’s pre-civil rights treatment of minorities was not necessary, it was just evil.

  • http://www.richardbrodie.com/ Richard Brodie

    i want to call you many different, foul names.

    Is this your reaction to ALL people who don’t trot along with you, mouthing the conventional wisdom, or is it reserved only for those who can articulate a maddeningly coherent opposing position.

    (and BTW, does #21 represent a continuation of the ended discussion?)

  • zingzing

    no, it’s not my reaction to all people who don’t trot along with me. just people spouting off bull. your “maddeningly coherant opposing position” is nearly racist. i won’t say “racist,” but that’s only because i don’t think you would have the balls to say this shit to a black person. tell me you would, and i’ll believe you are a racist. tell me you wouldn’t, and i’ll believe you are just letting shit fall out of your mouth.

    i was ending the discussion on whether or not you called MLK day racist. you did.

  • Bennett

    Richard wrote that Dr. King “spent his life rabble-rousing for the government to try and regulate social attitudes and behaviors.”

    Hmmm. Lynchings. Needed fixin’. The white southerners weren’t doing it, so King correctly realized that peaceful demonstrations were necessary to change both the laws, and the general (white) publics perception of what rights our Constitution guaranteed to EVERY American.

    By using the phrase “rabble rousing” you clearly show your true character.

    The “rabble” was made up of hard working Americans, black AND white. People who shared a dream of equal rights and justice for Americans of ALL colors.

    A belief you obviously do not share.

  • http://www.richardbrodie.com/ Richard Brodie

    Hmmm. Lynchings. Needed fixin’.

    Hmmm. And now that the blacks have been “liberated” into the big city ghettos, how many more are murdered by other blacks? I’m sure the number dwarfs to insignificance those killed by the KKK. In both cases all that’s needed is better law enforcement, not a dangerous perversion of the concept of individual, freedom-from-government-intrusion, rights.

    To the extent that King’s rabble-rousing contributed to the liberal attitudes which have resulted in blacks being enslaved into perpetual welfare dependency, his activities resulted in far more harm than benefit for American Negroes.

    And if what I call the rabble were so hard-working, how did so many find the time to do so much marching?

  • zingzing

    i hope you live in a place with no racial diversity, richard. you’re hopeless. sometimes when it seems you may be on to some sort of interesting, if strangly wooden-shack-in-the-woods, point, you back it up with a nicely racist statement. mmm.

  • Bennett

    Yeah Zing, he’s a lost cause. Like many annoyingly uneducated yet feverishly opinionated folks who have visited BC to spead a little hate, he too will pass.

    No one will miss him.

  • http://www.richardbrodie.com/ Richard Brodie

    Well, you two can pat each other on the back all you want. But the fact is, rather than being uneducated, I have simply not allowed myself to by brainwashed by all the PC garbage you guys like to wallow in.

    And none of my statements have been racist, or hateful towards any people or groups, although I have certainly not tried to disguise my displeasure with certain bankrupt ideologies that I believe have led to an increase in human suffering, despite claims to the contrary by those who are unwilling to admit how miserably they have failed.

  • http://theliterarythug.blogspot.com robert lashley

    Richard, I’m a moderate conservative, but if you cant respect what Dr King meant to america, then your more part of the problem about race than the solution.

    That and your logic’s got more holes in it than a block long slab of swiss cheese.

    1 “for. America was founded on the concept of individual rights. Civil rights are counterfeit rights.”

    the civil rights movement, or at least the antequated one that king stood for, was about the right for everyone to be treated equally. Nothing could be more about individual rights than the right to have an equal playing field. Is liberalism about that now, no. But the victories of the civil rights movement, relating to the concept of equality of opportunity, is the essense of the right of the individual.

    “The fundamental right to the pursuit of happiness, which primarily entails having the government leave you alone, has been corrupted into the antipathetic “right” to have an all-intrusive government try to guarantee that you will achieve happiness”

    The pursuit of happiness was in the declaration of independence, but alas, so was these pesky little things called laws. What you are essentially saying here is that civil rights legislation takes away the ability to do what you want to do, and from what you are implying the thing that you want to do is discriminate.

    “When men are free, there is always the risk that they will not achieve the happiness they want. And conversely when the government undertakes to attempt the impossible, and tries to guarantee that everyone will achieve happiness, we wind up being neither free, nor happy. Men who value liberty don’t mind accepting the risk of failure, in order to be free to pursue happiness in their own way”

    GET THEE TO A LAWBOOK! How is the right to vote, the right to housing, and the right to fair adherence of the law emblematic of the government imposing happiness on people. Now if you want to talk about affirmative action, O.K, you got a point. BUT DR KING HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT. Dissassociate Dr king from the race baiting cur’s that comprise the modern civil rights struggle. Matter of fact, dissacociate the majority of black people from them while your at it.

    “King also represents the corruption of language that always accompanies the destruction of noble political ideals. Before him “discrimination” wasn’t a dirty word. To be discriminating in one’s taste still carries a vestige of positive connotation, but it has now become primarily a perjorative term. It started out as a synonym for discernment, the ability to see or make fine distictions – the quintessential defining characteristic of rational intelligence. ”

    Trying to discern your leaps of logic is like trying to find waldo in a map the size of old mother russia. Discrimination wasnt a dirty word before? I would like to inform you that they have this book. It’s a really good book that has been a source of importance to many people. It’s called the dictionary, and in the dictionary they have millions of words and those millions of words have what we readers call MULTIPLE MEANINGS. And discrimination had MULTIPLE MEANINGS long before Dr king was even born. How dr king, in some vast conspiracy, forced everybody to shift that meaning at gunpoint isnt only, to put it mildly, a matter of debate, but of a matter of the visions of conspiracy theories dancing in your head.

    “But consider its new meaning – treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit. In order to prove to the government that you do not discriminate, an employer, educational institution, etc. winds up having to ignore individual merit and reject applicants of greater merit, based on their status as members of the majority class, in favor of someone of lesser merit from a minority class. In other words, in order not to discriminate you have to discriminate! This is a perfect example of what Ayn Rand aptly calls “cannabalistic” concepts. Martin Luther King day is the celebration of an epistemological disaster.”

    Once again, a perfectly valid point that you are astronomically foolish enough to pin on Dr king. If I were you I would read some of his essay books, with that aformentioned dictionary if you need to, and see for your self that Dr King came from a non violent religious and moral tradition in the tradition of such great thinkers like Gandhi and Reinhold Neihbur. But judging by the rigor of your intellectual dialogue, or obscene lack therof, i’ll hedge my bets on you doing so.

  • Bennett

    Richard. Do you know haw many poor white trash families there are in the good ‘ol USA? Enough to fill three times the “black ghettos” that currently exist.

    That you assign the status of poverty and ghetto-dwelling to a portion of America that has darker skin than you is the most obvious racial stereotype I’ve seen in weeks.

    The policies that ensure racial equality in America are some the finest things our country has ever dragged its collective feet into enacting. We are shamed by the dozens of countries that beat us to the punch by decades, and they didn’t need a civil war to get it done, and they manged to do it without creating as much overt resentment, and lingering hatred.

    As that may be.

    But if you don’t recognize that the Civil Rights movement of the sixties had a profoundly positive effect on America. It focussed the thoughts of society on understanding the basic civil rights due to every man and woman, and illustrated that there is a level of human dignity that SHOULD be promised with the birth of every child – white, black AND brown.

    If you don’t see this, then I think you are out of touch with reality.

    robert lashly – Wonderful comment! Thanks for the fact about the history.

  • http://www.richardbrodie.com/ Richard Brodie

    Do you know how many poor white trash families there are in the good ‘ol USA?

    Funny, you don’t every hear the phrase “poor black trash”. So only poor Aryans are trash, huh? I guess this means it’s acceptable come out with a racist reference like this, as long as it’s directed at white people.

    That you assign the status of poverty and ghetto-dwelling to a portion of America that has darker skin than you is the most obvious racial stereotype I’ve seen in weeks.

    I never said blacks were the only ghetto dwellers. But it is their premature wholesale emancipation that forced them to congregate and breed in these hell holes. If they had been freed more gradually, and without sacrificing a hundred thousand or so young American lives in a needless civil war, the amount of suffering would have been several orders of magnitude less than it has been.

    We are shamed by the dozens of countries that beat us to the punch by decades,

    Get back to me on this one after Shariah Law replaces democracy, and Islam relaces Western Civilization throughout Europe, later this century.

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/VictorLana/entries/1203 Victor Lana

    I am a little bit weary from these comments because I realize the futility of trying to get through to some people.

    Maybe it’s a poor choice to use an analogy that will only work if you know who Bill O’Reilly (the conservative host of The O’Reilly Factor) and David Letterman (the TV funny man) are, but here it goes.

    What’s happening in some of the comments for this post reminds me of when O’Reilly appeared on Letterman’s program. The thing is that O’Reilly thought he had Letterman on the ropes, but Letterman’s as wily as they come and danced like a butterfly and stung like a bee.

    The result: no matter what Letterman said, O’Reilly didn’t hear him. One could also say it was the same the other way. Letterman didn’t want to hear O’Reilly and said that most of what O’Reilly talks about is “crap.” This is not intelligent discourse and leaves the audience with no recourse (at least for this viewer).

    Please click on the URL under my name. There is a picture available there in one of my old posts on my blog. That picture (of a lynching of two black youths in Marion, Indiana in 1930) says more than I could ever say here. It tells why what Dr. King did should be commemorated with his day, and also why it is necessary and compelling to never ever forget his legacy.

  • http://theliterarythug.blogspot.com robert lashley

    I apologize for getting into a tete-a-tete with mr brodie and not addressing your post. I strongly agree with you in your assertion that Dr king’s life and works should be celebrated and commended.

  • http://www.angel-and-soulmate-selfhelp.com/blog.html Angela

    “It tells why what Dr. King did should be commemorated with his day, and also why it is necessary and compelling to never ever forget his legacy.”

    Here, here, Victor!!!

  • KYS

    Oh, my goodness.

    This is the first time I’ve seen Brodie’s white hood. Wow, you look good in linen, my friend, and it must feel nice against your newly shaven head.

    Here’s the deal.

    King’s messages are universal. If you cannot see their value, and the good it would do for the country to take those messages to heart and abolish racial divides from our hearts and minds, then you are selfish and closed minded, and you don’t have a true understanding of love, brotherhood or solidarity.

    C’mon people, now, smile on your brother.

  • zingzing

    richard brodie: “Funny, you don’t every hear the phrase “poor black trash”. So only poor Aryans are trash, huh? I guess this means it’s acceptable come out with a racist reference like this, as long as it’s directed at white people.”

    aww, poor white people… they never call black people bad names… my favorite racial slur is one i discovered yesterday… it’s “bucket.” as in, “you ain’t pale, you’re a bucket.” mmm… lovely.

    “I never said blacks were the only ghetto dwellers. But it is their premature wholesale emancipation that forced them to congregate and breed in these hell holes.”

    anyone else getting a picture of rats in their head? “premature wholesale emancipation?” premature? how about “centuries too late to ever make up for it?” or, “well deserved?” or, “lucky we did it before they kicked our bucket asses?” fuck, you’re a nasty piece of work.

    “If they had been freed more gradually, and without sacrificing a hundred thousand or so young American lives in a needless civil war, the amount of suffering would have been several orders of magnitude less than it has been.”

    revisionist history is easy, eh? also, it’s full of shit. you can’t say what would have happened. “freed more gradually?” what, are you suggesting that some of them should have been freed, while others were kept enslaved? “oh, hey, it’s your turn to experience that which us white people take for granted, FREEDOM! ENJOY! oh, no, not you. you’re up next year… yeah, get back in that field and work, you… don’t make me whip you! yeah, yeah, yeah, quit your bitchin’.” your ideas are total hogwash.

    you should move to boulder, co. i hear it is the whitest city in america. that way, you can learn to live amongst human beings without being subjected to racial diversity for a while. then, when you learn how to accept other white people for their differences, maybe you could try chicago, then compton. there, you could learn a few things about the thing we call “reality.” maybe you should at least visit the place for a while.

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    Zing, there’s nothing like diversity because it opens one up to the real world (Boulder, CO doesn’t sound like anything real, though its citizens would probably disagree with us).

    That’s why I love my home city and why, despite detours taken during my life, I am committed to staying here. I am a graduate of a New York City high school, and this amazing school system (which I can proudly say counts Willie Randolph, Colin Powell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Aaron Copland, Jackie Gleason, and Barbra Streisand as graduates to name just a few) has its flaws but still educates over a million children a year. These students come from a kaleidescope of backgrounds, and the system (despite its critics) does a good job of educating and preparing students for that real world out there.

    Dr. King embraced diversity, but more importantly he noted that equity for all was the standard. He dreamt of the day when his children would walk hand-in hand with white children, not only as equals but as friends.

    Who wouldn’t want such a future for their children? For all children?

  • zingzing

    that’s a good question, victor… i’m not so sure that everyone here would agree with MLK on this one, and that’s the sad thing.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Kareem Abdul Jabbar…Lew Alcindor…might have spelled the last name wrong…graduated from Power Memorial HS…same HS my uncle went to…not exactly a public school…I do believe it’s actually called Power Memorial Catholic Academy…or it used to be anyway…I only know this because I did a report on him when I was in like 8th grade…

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    Thanks, Andy. You know, I just started naming New Yorkers I knew (for example, I know for sure that Colin Powell graduated from City University of New York which is a “public” college). Glad you knew that about Kareem because I didn’t.

    I think the point I was rushing to make (without checking more carefully) was that New York has had a rainbow of success stories (no matter what schools these people attended within the city), that our diversity is our strength, and that 8 million people (many from all over the world) find unity and stability here.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I think ‘The City’ is one of the coolest places on earth! My grandparents lived in a little italian neighborhood in the Village…there was an italian feast on the street they lived on every year…they lived right over top of a bakery! very cool place to spend a lot of time as a kid.

  • kelly

    Everything about King is a lie and never wrote a speech that wasnt written for him by Levinson. He was fabricated by the Jews to promote their agenda for civil rights. There is no such Martin Luther King Jr. That name isnt even a legal name nor any great name. Just a figure created and funded by the jewish for their own agenda.

  • kelly

    Michael King his real name was a self professed Marxist. Where are the civil rights in tyranny.

  • kelly

    Not to mention that he got off on beating women during sex. Some equality. What’s so great about that. It’s amazing how blindsided people allow themselves to be. If they heard the truth they would still choose not to believe it. I believe in civil rights and glad it happened but King as an individual is no hero. And it would have happened with are without King because it was the right thing. People were just given a phony hero. Look deep the information is available for anyone Who Wants the truth. But unfortunately most people are apathic and want to be spoon fed fairy tales

  • http://lilpimpruby ruby

    i think this is really touchfull it made me wantto cry so bad im really grateful for wat he did ok bye

  • maira

    hi

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    It’s nice to see new comments on this piece. Peace, love, and happiness to all in 2007!

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/VictorLana Victor Lana

    I think that even though this piece is old, its necessity remains the same. If you look at the comments, you will know what I mean. Thanks.

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