Monday, January 21, 2019 5:04 PM
Happy MLK Day (2019Jan21)
Martin Luther King Day makes my heart hurt, as a whitey. People that looked like I do came to this place and murdered virtually everyone here. Then they kidnapped Africans and held them in slavery for centuries. We had our bloodiest war fighting each other, ending slavery. But that didn’t end the mistreatment and indignities visited upon African-Americans. It continues to this very moment—in, to name just one example, the fact that some states choose to ignore Martin Luther King Day.
I am too short-tempered to be a follower of the Rev. Dr. King—but anyone can be awed by his courage. I have spent a lifetime regretting my ethnicity—I would prefer not to be associated with white people. I know that sounds racist—but I can’t even hear the term without cringing. I never thought of myself as a color—nor anyone else. The fact that it can bring the ignorant to violence and crime, through a cultural lore of hatred, has always frustrated me.
The thing I always liked most about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches was when he included me in his dream—he understood that hatred was a threat to friend and foe alike. He saw that white people cripple themselves and their children with hatred, beyond what it does to the intentionally persecuted.
I also loved King’s clear thinking—he didn’t lecture us on what was right—he confronted us with what was true. And his lessons, and those of his inspiration, Gandhi, teach us about more than bigotry. They teach us that whatever blurs our sight of the truth is a greater threat than a comfort.