Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, which would have been his 87th. Today is a day we should be focused on the state of racism and bigotry in America as that is what King worked hard to get us past. So, how are we doing?
If one looks at the events of the past year, you would have to say we're doing poorly. We've just noticed that there is a racial bias in our policing, and that has spilled over into protests, some of which have gotten violent. We have just noticed that the poor are more likely to be black. We've just noticed that our young black men are more likely to go to jail than their white counterparts. We've just noticed all these things and many more in the last year.
The thing is though, this is not new. We've known all about this stuff for a long time. These are things that King was working against when he was alive. It is not new. Racism and bigotry still exists and it is still common. This is a shame, and we need to stop giving it the lip service we've been giving it the past 50 years.
Things are better than they were when King died in '68, but they still have a long way to go to get to parity between the average white American and all the other minorities within the US. We need to start with ourselves though. How many of us have our own biases and latent racism? We need to work on ourselves first and work to get over our personal issues. We need to teach the next generation that all people have equal value and not teach them the bigotry that we were raised with. We need to stop others when they display their bigotry in our presence. We need to stand up and treat everyone equal regardless of race ourselves first, and not tolerate anything different.
Racism and bigotry are still an issue. We have started to get better, despite the news coverage. Our youngest generation is better than the oldest generation. It will take time. All we can do individually is treat everyone as they should be treated, and work to support those in government that want to do the same. We are not likely to solve this during my lifetime, but I do hope and pray that we see further changes in the right direction. As is often said, "be the change you want to see".