This past Monday, America celebrated the 25th Martin Luther King Day. As it has in the past, this day brought to mind a panel discussion I was priveleged to join back in 2001 (my senior year of high school) sponsored by Umoja (student lead-group at my school). I was known in my high school as one of the best Conservatives (a small pool of talent in a New York state high school I must admit). A Liberal friend, with whom I had enjoyed many great debates with through our honors History and English classes over the past years, was a member of the group Umoja’s branch at my school. The goal of this panel was to discuss race relations 33 years after Dr. King was assassinated. I will never forget this event. It was the day I truly understood how the American Left has failed Dr. King's dream.
The panel consisted of some black students and some white students. I recall most vividly the stories of "racism" that some of these students claimed to have experienced at our school. Included among the most prominent "offenses" as being asked questions about their hair and how difficult it was to manage! I have always believed that the greatest problem that caused racism in America was ignorance. If this is the case, how is it racist to ask questions in an effort to understand? Further, aren't questions like this a demonstration that our generation does in fact recognize that race differences are purely skin deep...that black people are simply PEOPLE...people who have different physical traits but otherwise 100% the same!
If I may step away from the point of this article for one moment, I'd like to take time to explain the real purpose of race. The physical traits of different races on Earth were caused due to the process of physical adaptation as people moved into different parts of the World. For example, the physical traits of people from eastern African descent. People in Africa generally have long and lanky frames. Their skin has a high amount of melanin in their bodies because melanin is essentially sun block built in to the human body. The more melanin a person has in their skin, the more they can be in the sun without the sun's rays damaging their body. The lanky frame and high amount of melanin in black person's body is the ideal combination of traits to dissipate heat and to withstand the longest possible time in the sun.
People of northern Asian decent are generally shorter and squatter. They have thicker, darker hair and almond shaped eyes which reduce the glare of snow and ice. They tend to have flatter noses because that shape nose is less exposed to cold. People of Asian descent often have minimal facial hair because a man's breath often condensates on the beard, making the face colder. These traits make a person of northern Asian decent best able to withstand the cold temperatures of northern Asia. Both these examples show that the human body adapted to its surroundings!
Back to the original story. The one question that I recall as if it was yesterday from that panel discussion from ten years ago was "How do you see yourself as a minority or majority in America today?" I remember I was quite bothered by this question because it ignored the point of Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Dr. King said famously:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."(1)
Yet these students wanted to talk about people in categories based upon the color of their skin! I spoke about my personal beliefs on race: That skin color is exactly the same as eye color...a physical trait. I do not consider people to be different than me if they have blue or brown eyes (I have green eyes, for the record). I do not consider a person different from me if they have blonde hair or black hair or red hair (I have brown hair, for the record). I also do not consider people to be different because they are of Asian descent or African decent or American Indian decent (I am of European Decent, for the record). These are only physical traits. They DO NOT MATTER to me!
Another statement made was "Everyone is at least a little racist." I stand living proof that this is not true! My response to this was: "I look at you and I see a person. You look at me and you see a white person. Who do you think is REALLY racist here?" I said then, and I still say now, that the person who sees a fellow human being through the lens of their race is the racist, regardless of what that racist person's skin color happens to be!
The truth is the Left has failed Dr. King's dream. They have spent a generation telling minorities that they can't succeed on their own. They have spent a generation telling minorities they need the Democrat party to fight for them because they can't fight for themselves. The Left has spent a generation crying racism every time someone argues against a policy of a minority. Look at Barrack Obama. The Left should be thrilled that the Right debates President Obama's policies on merit alone if they were living up to Dr. King's beliefs. But the Left instead cries racism because we criticism Obama. The reality is we ARE judging Obama by the content of his character...and we don't like that content! I despise President Obama's policies with my eyes closed...his race does not matter. I am the same person who liked the idea of Condoleezza Rice running for President at one point because I liked the content of her character. I oppose Obama's policies because he is a Socialist, not because he is black! Something tells me that you, my readers, oppose Obama's policies for the same reason.
The Left has failed Dr. King's Dream, and done so intentionally. They fail the Dream because it means they can't use race to convince minorities to vote for them. The Right, on the other hand, has succeeded. We as Conservatives do judge people by the content of their character. We happily support Conservative minorities like Condoleezza Rice, Judge Clarence Thomas, Governor Bobby Jindall of Louisiana, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and others. Because it's about the ideas, not the skin tone. We argue against minorities who are on the Left, like President Barrack Obama, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton. It is for their policies we oppose these men. If they were white, we'd fight them just the same.
So I ask you what I asked ten years ago: If the Left looks at a man and sees a white man or a black man or an Asian man and the Right looks at a man and sees a man, who is the racist? It is the side that sees simply a man that has fulfilled the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King.
1) "I Have a Dream" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King