He Had a Dream; What Has America Done With It?

Martin Luther King Jr. - Wikipedia

It has been 40 years to the day since Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of a motel in Memphis. The man had a dream, and given the current state of affairs (thanks Spitzer) revolving around the 2008 Presidential campaign related to race, now is an opportune time to take a look at how black Americans are doing compared to April 4, 1968.

Notice how I said black Americans. Black suffices, but I’m also pointing out that I’m talking about blacks in America, because we are talking about the liberties that King drew attention to. Let’s drop this crap about African Americans, ok? Raise your hand if you are from Africa. More of you reading this, if you are black, are more likely to be “Jamaican Americans” than a true African native. I don’t go around filling out forms that I’m a Danish American, just because some ancestor of mine came over on a boat and neglected to get his name changed to the standard “Peterson” of this country. That’s Step 1 of our current situation. Step 2 is to forget that and don’t even call out race. Why do we need to add someone’s race to so many topics?

The problem isn’t race, it’s this:

What have you done with what you have been given in terms of: finances, education, intelligence, family upbringing, and job opportunities? This isn’t about your momma or your daddy. It’s about YOU.

My dad is a perfect example of breaking the downward spiral of a defeated family. The oldest son in a his kids/her kids re-marriage, he left home (and the country, actually) to go get an education. He worked his butt off to pay for school. One summer he returned home to find out the family had moved to another state and never told him. Ok, you getting me here? We’re white, and this is what I am a product of. He went on to another school for a while and got married and had to drop school.

After two kids with cystic fibrosis came into his life and drove him untold thousands of dollars into debt in the 80s, he finally recovered financially in the 90s with one kid remaining, got his Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering Technology, and dug himself out of their financial hole. Meanwhile, his siblings have been on and off welfare, racked up half a dozen divorces, and I’ll just stop there. I could be wrong by one or two siblings, but his next oldest sister is the only one with a college degree and never divorced. He could have been like his family, but he picked himself up by the bootstraps and did something. He tried to make a legacy for his future generations.

What have I done with what I was dealt? What have you done with what you were dealt?

One of the major platforms of this race is revolving around the idea of “Two Americas.” If Two Americas exists, then it’s because people are letting it exist for them. Stop being a victim and do something. If you can’t do something, find someone to help you do something about it. It’s ok to wallow in misery for a while, but eventually you lose your being if you stay that way. Don’t tell me there is a second America where people can’t rise up because of “The Man” or “The Machine” or “The Administration” or other crap like that. Colin Powell should knock your face off (son of Jamaican immigrants, raised in the Bronx).

Let’s look at a few celebrities and see if they think that America is a land of choice, freedom, and a way out from where you started:

Oprah Winfrey Jay-ZBill CosbyBarack Obama - Hate his politics, but he did something