Friday, April 04, 2008

40 years later

(I wrote this yesterday and then never posted it because of internet issues. Here it is anyway)

I wish that I was less sick and overwhelmed, so I could make a post about the 40th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death. Conveniently, I'm working on some copy edits on my recently accepted article about King's last speech. I think that now is a good time to remember Dr King, as some of the same discussions he raised are coming up again - about issues of Justice, race and religion.

I think it's also important for us to remember that 40 years is both a long time ago, and not so long ago. I think some people take a message of reconciliation and hope to mean that the history of inequality and hurt doesn't matter anymore, but that's a history that many people lived and that still affects the opportunities available to people today. I recently had a conversation with my colleague Marcus about some of the discrimination he has experienced in the last few years that made me realize that we still have a long way to go as a society before that history is truly past. Make no mistake: we've come a long way when everyone has at least formal access if not actual access to the best schools and jobs in the nations, and when a black man and a woman are competing for nomination for the highest office in the land. But we also have a long way to go before those people are not derided for those very characteristics, and until technical access means truly equal opportunity.

1 comment:

Rick said...

I turn 40 this year - a long long time ago, and yet not so much. We have a long way to go - do you ever thing about the next 40 yrs? Good stuff - thanks for posting.