“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
– Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
August 28, 1963
This August will mark the 45th anniversary of that historic speech. Martin’s “four little children” aren’t little children anymore.
They have grown up. Have we?
Have we grown up enough to turn Martin’s dream into reality?
Do we judge people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character?
More specifically, do we judge Presidential candidates not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character?
I wish people would stop talking about the color of other people’s skin.
Let’s all be “color blind”.
At a Martin Luther King Day celebration at City Hall New Orleans on January 16, 2006, Mayor Ray Nagin gave the following speech where he claimed to have had a converation that morning with Reverend King:
I greet you all in the spirit of peace this morning. I greet you all in the spirit of love this morning, and more importantly, I greet you all in the spirit of unity. Because if we’re unified, there’s nothing we cannot do.
Now, I’m supposed to give some remarks this morning and talk about the great [Reverend] Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You know when I woke up early this morning, and I was reflecting upon what I could say that could be meaningful for this grand occasion. And then I decided to talk directly to [Reverend] Dr. King.
Now you might think that’s one Katrina post-stress disorder. But I was talking to him and I just wanted to know what would he think if he looked down today at this celebration. What would he think about Katrina? What would he think about all the people who were stuck in the Superdome and Convention Center and we couldn’t get the state and the federal government to come do something about it? And he said, “I wouldn’t like that.”
And then I went on to ask him, I said, “Mr. King, when they were marching across the Mississippi River bridge, some of the folks that were stuck in the Convention Center, that were tired of waiting for food and tired of waiting on buses to come rescue them, what would he say as they marched across that bridge? And they were met at the parish line with attack dogs and machine guns firing shots over their heads?” He said, “I wouldn’t like that either.”
Then I asked him to analyze the state of black America and black New Orleans today and to give me a critique of black leadership today. And I asked him what does he think about black leaders always or most of the time tearing each other down publicly for the delight of many? And he said, “I really don’t like that either.”
And then finally, I said, “[Reverend] Dr. King, everybody in New Orleans is dispersed. Over 44 different states. We’re debating whether we should open this or close that. We’re debating whether property rights should trump everything or not. We’re debating how should we rebuild one of the greatest cultural cities the world has ever seen. And yet still yesterday we have a second-line and everybody comes together from around this and that and they have a good time for the most part, and then knuckleheads pull out some guns and start firing into the crowd and they injure three people.” He said, “I definitely wouldn’t like that.”
And then I asked him, I said, “What is it going to take for us to move and live your dream and make it a reality?” He said, “I don’t think we need to pay attention anymore as much about the other folk and racists on the other side.” He said the thing we need to focus on as a community, black folks I’m talking to, is ourselves.
What are we doing? Why is black-on-black crime such an issue? Why do our young men hate each other so much that they look their brother in the face and they will take a gun and kill him in cold blood? He said we as a people need to fix ourselves first. He said the lack of love is killing us. And it’s time, ladies and gentlemen.
[Reverend] Dr. King, if he was here today, he would be talking to us about this problem, about the problem we have among ourselves. And as we think about rebuilding New Orleans, surely God is mad at America, he’s sending hurricane after hurricane after hurricane and it’s destroying and putting stress on this country. Surely he’s not approving of us being in Iraq under false pretense. But surely he’s upset at black America, also. We’re not taking care of ourselves. We’re not taking care of our women. And we’re not taking care of our children when you have a community where 70 percent of its children are being born to one parent.
We ask black people: it’s time. It’s time for us to come together. It’s time for us to rebuild a New Orleans, the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans. And I don’t care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day.
This city will be a majority African-American city. It’s the way God wants it to be. You can’t have New Orleans no other way; it wouldn’t be New Orleans. So before I get into too much more trouble, I’m just going to tell you in my closing conversation with [Reverend] Dr. King, he said, “I never worried about the good people — or the bad people I should say — who were doing all the violence during civil rights time.” He said, “I worried about the good folks that didn’t say anything or didn’t do anything when they knew what they had to do.”
It’s time for all of us good folk to stand up and say “We’re tired of the violence. We’re tired of black folks killing each other. And when we come together for a secondline, we’re not going to tolerate any violence.” Martin Luther King would’ve wanted it that way, and we should. God bless all.
Nagin began by invoking spirits of Peace, Love, and Unity. (Does that sound vaguely familiar to something you’re hearing in the current Presidential race?)
Nagin stated: “We as black people, it’s time, it’s time for us to come together. It’s time for us to rebuild a New Orleans, the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans. And I don’t care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day.”
Chocolate? It doesn’t matter if our skin looks like dark chocolate, milk chocolate, carmel, or white chocolate. We are only one human race, all made from one blood. For more about the genetics behind our skin color differences read this. (UPDATE: that link may no longer be functional…if it doesn’t work, try this alternative. It’s not exactly the same, but covers some of the same science.)
Racism is a tool that Satan uses to divide us, not unify us. Don’t let deceivers tell you that they greet you in the spirit of peace, love, and unity and then use rascism to stir up divisive emotions. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Judging someone by their skin color instead of their character is racist.
Voting against someone because of their skin color is racist.
Voting for someone because of their skin color is racist.
Let us truly realize the dream of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Let’s all be color blind.
Reverend King would’ve wanted it that way.