Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In Spite Of It

43 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in Memphis. A lot of people who read this blog weren't born then...I was just 10 years old myself. A lot of people hear stories about that time and hear about how a lot of those civil rights people risked their lives to obtain the rights we all enjoy today and that seems foreign to them. It seems foreign to me.

I must admit...I've grown up in a somewhat different America. The Ku Klux Klan is still around, but it doesn't have the sway and the prestige and power it once had. More than likely if they lynch someone or bomb a church, killing it's inhabitants...They will be prosecuted and punished.  There was a time when they would not have been indicted! The men would have openly have bragged about what they had done and all white juries would not have brought charges against them and if they did, they would not have convicted them. Recently, a man in Texas and a man in Alabama have been sent to Death Row for two racially motivated slayings...Unheard of even in 1968....The year Dr. King was killed.

We have an African -American President! That was unthinkable in 1968...It was unthinkable in early 2008...but it happened! I have been in Texas and Georgia and Florida and North and South Carolina and seen Black males and White females walking hand and hand...Going to proms together and getting married and having babies...Unthinkable huh? The year I was born, that could have gotten them both killed!

For as much as America is seemingly different and supposedly Post Racial....It is still very much the same....The Congress and The House are full of newly sworn in officials who oppose everything this President proposes , just because he is Black! I'm not just talking about Republicans and Tea Party members...Some Democrats too! It is so obvious to me that a lot of white people in this country voted against their class interests and voted in a lot of these scary Republicans, who are now cutting their jobs and their health benefits and taking away their unions rights to collectively bargain(thus making them ineffective) and gutting the public education system that will be educating some of their children, just because they felt that voting Republican was a blow to this African-American President.  They essentially shot themselves in the foot!

Racist violence still exists...Case in point..36-year-old Kevin Harpham allegedly dropped a backpack on a bench in downtown Spokane. The pack contained a sophisticated homemade bomb filled with shrapnel dipped in cyanide. It was set to explode just as hundreds of marchers would be going by. Thankfully, a sharp-eyed cleanup-crew member spotted the bomb just moments before the crowds reached the bench, and a bomb squad acted quickly to defuse it.

The attempted bombing was one of several threats targeted at civil and human rights activists in the past 12 months. These include dozens of threats received by NAACP staff and volunteers in the days after they called on the Tea Party to police racist rhetoric at its rallies. In one such incident, a caller threatened to make "the streets run red" with Black blood.

So...While a lot of things have changed in the 43 years since Dr. Martin Luther King has died...So much hasn't. We can't be scared.  We can't be intimidated.. It was a lot worse for our parents and grand-parents and yet they stood up and pressed on in spite of it. I'm talking about Blacks and Whites and Native Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Women, Gays...Everybody who ever took a stand and took to the streets..There was always the real chance that you were risking your life....and yet..they took stands, they took chances...In spite of it....

I'm thankful for them....I want to take chances....In spite of it!


James Perkins said...

Speak On it!

Swaggie said...

Damn man, this was on point!


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