Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dr. King's Legacy

("50 Years Later")

Was the election of President Obama a step back for racial equality in this country?

I know that might seem a ridiculous query but I wonder whether, in some macabre fashion, it did not free up those with their bias fully intact, to point to this event as a marker to demonstrate that we no longer had to investigate ourselves .We had passed the most defining of tests of the progress Dr. King envisioned 50 years ago, and could now move on to more important, more relevant concerns.

Yet events before us continue to demand our unfettered attention to ongoing systemic problems. From Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action and the voting right acts, to the stop and frisk policies of our country's most renowned city, to the implicit prejudices in the Florida gun laws, to the failures in our prison system and its unequal sentences, to the lack of educational opportunity and unrelenting poverty, we have been faced with repeated reminders that we are far from where we need to be.

We cannot fool ourselves into allowing the elevation of our first black President to relieve us of our obligations. Blacks believe that this country continues to treat them unfairly because it does.

We must do better as a nation than we have. We cannot slip into a complacency. We risk much of the progress made over the last half century in being satisfied, or in allowing this issue to go unchallenged. Dr King's legacy, and our morality, demands more of us.

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