Monday, January 21, 2008

MLK Day Thoughts

In anticipation of Martin Luther King Jr. day, last night, my daughter asked me if the African people when they came to America had to build pyramids. The question stung me as a “light skinned” American, because no matter how long ago oppression occurs (and I am consciously avoiding any tie-in to the Holocaust), future generations of the oppressed still feel the pain. Not only do generations and generations of oppressed people suffer because of what their ancestors went through, but also the future generations of people who did the oppressing suffer terrible guilt. As human beings there is nothing stronger living inside of us, no matter who we are, than wanting to see our children safe (in all ways), to do better than we did, and to not feel our conflicting pain. However, to have pride and understand who we are, we must be taught where our people have been. Today I am a guilt ridden; pain stricken Jewish American, because no matter how we try to disseminate things, it is all weaved together in what we are, what we will become, what our children are, and what they will become.

So, “No honey, they didn’t have to build pyramids in America, they had to farm crops for plantation owners, wait on people, suffer and pretend they cared all the while earning nothing and being constantly dehumanized, tortured, and beaten. Pyramids, crops: it’s all the same, because it is about people were treated, like animals, by other people. Not just what they had to do.”

Today I wish that Martin Luther King were alive so he could see his children have an opportunity to vote for a man who looks more like them than like me to run for President of the United States of America. After all, my daughter went with me when I did…

When I asked her what she knows about Martin Luther King, Jr. she told me: A girl sat on a fence and talked to the African American kids on the other side and then they played, played, and had fun all day, and when they got tired, they all sat on the fence to rest. Well, Martin Luther King Jr. came and he knocked that fence down, (so they could play whenever they wanted) and it was the longest fence in the world. -- 'Nuff said for 1st grade. Thank you to her music teacher.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. -- "Strength to Love," M.L.K. 1963

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