Martin Luther King
(Dr. Martin Luther King speaking just one day before his murder)
As a parent, so many of my experiences and views are colored by my relationship with my child. Her view, unlike mine, is not boring or caught up in cliches, or tainted by political correctness, is always, for better or worse, quite candid.
So when she is off from school for a holiday, I always engage her in conversation and query her to be sure that she is not just thinking she has off from school to watch more Sponge Bob.
Today, I asked her about Martin Luther King Jr. and she responded that he had worked to make "the laws equal to everyone", which I think is as good as any seven year old, or many adults for that matter, could come up with. She further tied in the recent election of Barack Obama as evidence of the fruition of King's impeccable work.
Through her words and from what I already know, I see that Dr. King's Dream is becoming more and more a reality, but I also am not deluded enough to believe that the work for racial and economic equality is finished. Indeed, the same child who raised my hopes also gave me a reminder that when it comes to race, we still have a great deal of work to do. She recounted to me a conversation that she overheard, where another child had made the comment that "Martin Luther King Day was just a day for black people to not have to go to work". The comment was bad enough, but what was worse was the fact that the adult that was with these children did not correct the child, but instead just laughed.
It was a reminder that the fight against bigotry is no longer one that is waged so much against institutions or hopelessly racist politicians, but one that occurs in the homes and schools of America. A fight that will have to continue, so long as the outdated construct of race exists.