Martin Luther King Jr Day is an important Holiday for me. It is to celebrate not only the memory of a man who put his life on the line to fight for equality and unity; but also to recognize what he was fighting for. I live in a place where it is very common for racism to happen daily. And not just racism-Oklahoma has so much discrimination, it's ridiculous.
My mom grew up in a time that racism was still happening-a lot. She told me a story once about a boy she liked and gave her number to. He called the house one day, and my grandpa found out he was not a white boy and my mom got in trouble-BAD. He was like that, always. I never knew though-he never showed that side of himself to me.
And in 1995 when my niece was born (she's mixed) he shed tears of joy and love for her. The love he felt as soon as he saw my niece, canceled out every racist thought he'd ever held.
The above story goes a little the same for my parents really. My mom, since her dad was as he was, grew up being slightly racist. My dad grew up with an older brother who was extremely racist-against any race that was not white. Even my grandparents on both sides, my aunts and uncles-anyone who ever had racist thoughts-just stopped. My niece opened up the eyes of my family.
I was ten when my niece was born, and was already color blind because I had never seen a person as a different race. Were we all different colors? Sure, but not in the sense of black and white. I have always felt (and continue to teach my children as well) that there are people with brown skin, or yellow, peach, or tan-but that can be any race of people. We don't talk about white or black people-or even Caucasian or African-American people...If we feel the need to describe someone-it's a person with peaches (that's what the little ones say) skin or someone with brown skin, or reddish skin. I've never befriended someone based on their skin color, it's about who they are as a person in general. Even growing up around racism-it only made me sad, never made me judge. In fact, get me going on racism and my rant about stupid, blind, jaded people gets going. I have always attempted to change a racists mind, anyone who discriminates in general actually-not just race/skin color. I feel sorry for anyone who judges someone based on their skin color, or their personal preferences.
I know racism is not always just someone being an idiot. I understand that some people have experienced things that cause them to be racist. Really, I do. I like to tell the racists I come across who think they can justify their hatred...Discrimination is not racist, discrimination does not discriminate-it does not see skin color, or sexual/religious preference...it only discriminates. Over the years, it has never been only one set of differences that cause discrimination. There are gay/lesbians who are treated unfairly. What about the straight interracial couples. Or how about the overweight woman with the rail-thin man, or even the overweight couple. How about the Irish/Polish people who came to America many many years ago and were forced to work in shops, sleep in shops, barely being fed; their children being forced to work as young as two? Or even the women who were forced to work in mines, topless, or even naked sometimes. Women who had to work so hard just to have a place to sleep, and many being raped daily. Racism-discrimination-does not see color, it does not see age or gender, whether you believe in God or Yahweh; or if you are a woman lying next to another woman at night, or a woman lying with a man. Discrimination only sees what the person experiencing the feeling sees. Its only purpose is to hate something that is different.
Martin Luther King Jr dreamt of a world with equality, people united no matter what they looked like or what they believed. We have come a long way since he first began fighting to see his dream come true..but it has not completely come true. Each year that we come closer in one aspect, we take two giant steps away. Take a moment to think of exactly what this brave man was willing to die for, and celebrate it. If you are already a genuinely accepting person, make sure you do whatever you must to stay that way; and if you have some discrimination in you, work on eliminating it. It is unhealthy to go through life with hatred inside of you, let it go. People are different, it's a rule, we aren't allowed to all be the same...Nothing can change that, but you can change how you feel about it.
Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day everyone, take a moment to celebrate the dream :)