It’s Martin Luther King day – actually and respectfully, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day – and it’s worth taking a moment to note how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.
As I’ve noted a long time ago, I’m ethnically a mutt, and was raised in a fairly eclectic way (in no small part by men who worked for my father – black and white rural immigrants to California who had found a good measure of success working in the construction industry). I went to black churches as a child as well as Southern Baptist ones and Beverly Hills synagogues for my friend’s Bar Mitzvah’s.
I’ve also lived in France and seen firsthand what real racism looks like.
So I’ll suggest a few things; first and foremost that Dr. King and the black and white men and women who marched with him, the other leaders who pushed to end de facto and de jure segregation in the United States did us a colossal favor. The legacy of black slavery and oppression post-Civil War had ossified into a social and legal structure that shamed and hobbled our nation.
We’re two-and-a-half generations past a white governor standing in the schoolhouse door, and while we’re not done yet, I’ll say with some certainty the world my sons will inherit is a far better world than it would have been absent Dr. King and all the other civil rights leaders who we are honoring in his name today.