Monday, January 16, 2006

"Let Freedom Ring"

I had a neat day today homeschooling my kids. First of all we read a book about Martin Luther King, Jr. and talked about who he was and why he was so great.

Then we read his famous speech "I Have a Dream" that he gave on August 28, 1963. I was so inspired as I read it. I realized that one of the bonds that brings all people together is the yearning for freedom. William Wallace fought and died for it in Scotland, the Colonists fought and died for it so we could have the United States of America, the Civil War was fought in part so African Americans could be free and Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and many others fought and died so African Americans could achieve freedom and equality. We will fight and die for freedom. It is an inspiring cause!!
I remember the Elian Gonzalez controversy. Many people had different takes on what should happen to the little boy. His mother died bringing him to a country so he could be free. I couldn't fathom sending him back to the prison that would be his life in a communist country.

Martin Luther King's speech was about Freedom and dreams. It was and is an inspiring cause. We have not achieved perfection in this country but we have come a long way. For the most part men and women no matter their color or station in life are free to pursue the American Dream. So much so that we have an immigration problem of people wanting to flood into our country to experience this dream.

One of my very favorite stories of all time is Alex Haley's story of his family in his book "Roots". When I was in junior high my whole family stayed up late during the summer and watched the re-airing of the mini-series "Roots". I don't know what it was about that but it is still one of my favorite family memories. Because of that I sought it out on video once I was an adult. Since then I've watched both series many, many times. Then I read the book and found it to be easy reading even though it was a huge book.

I was fascinated by the story of his family and especially Kunta Kinte. Kunta never gave up on freedom. He was whipped, he had part of his foot caught off and he lost a lot but he knew what it was like to be free and he didn't give up on it. He passed that on to his children and they passed it on to their children after him and generations later Alex Haley was able to trace his roots and his family's fight for freedom.

The cause of Freedom is inspirational. As I write this George W. Bush's voice echoes in my head as I remember a speech he gave to the troops. He thanked them for their "sacrifice for the cause of peace and freedom". After eternal salvation there is no greater cause!!


James Manning said...

It's nice of you to recognize Rev. King. I wrote about him yesterday and spoke of some of the things he said while he was alive.

I think the problem we have today is that no one recognizes the disparities within the black community and the structure that enables those disparities to exist.

And I am sometimes offended by people recalling Rev. King's words - the same people that called him a trouble maker while he was alive now recite him whenever it aligns with their agenda. The main one is when people quote Rev. King on being judged by the content of our character rather the the color of our skin. A lot of people who say this wouldn't have believed it 40 years ago and only do so now because they know the disparities still exist and it is a means to advance ahead of black people if we remove race from the equation.

Rivka said...

We heard Star Parker give a speech Monday and it was incredible. Totally what King had in mind.

My son came home from school where he was talking and talking about king and I went over his homework, and the answers about King's history line. But, I was able to share some things with him about the things Whites did to Blacks back then, and how wrong it was.

When it came to the information about King being a preacher, I was able to give him more detail as to what King taught about.

It is sad that there are people (Mainly some Liberals) out there who are totally missing the mark about what King meant in his famous speech. Then they perpetuate hatred toward Whites instead of what King meant by all of us being equal in God's eyes. It is our hearts he looks at.. the content of our character.

Dionne said...

James: I realize your experiences have been different than mine. I know I am walking on thin ice when talking about my view of King since some may not think I have the right to but I think he is too great of a man not to talk about him.

He was assassinated before I was born but I was raised in a home where everyone was valued no matter who they were. My parents agreed with what he said then and do now.

I also think MLK was great because of his faith. Something that seems to be sorely lacking among many leaders today.

Dionne said...

Rebecca: Yes, you need to read Grey Ghost's post on MLK it was good.

James Manning said...

Chatter, I don't think that you are steppin on thin ice at all. I just think that my perspective on race is very different from yours. But that is because I grew up with my black skin casting a very large shadow on the places I was allowed to go and the things I was allowed to do.

The problem that I have with Conservative jumping on the Rev. King wagon is that many of them take one line from one speech and they reference that to associate their agenda with Rev. King's agenda. Rev. King was about fighting the disparities in the black community and ending the oppression that black people faced.

The fact is, many of these people that talk about Rev. King would not have marched with Rev King when he crossed that bridge in Selma. They wouldn't have walked through a Chicago southside neighborhood where black men were constantly being beaten.

And I can tell this because when we talk about the disparites in the black community that exist today, I see their eyes glaze over. They don't really care. Maybe I'm cynical, but people like Star Parker and Larry Elder are so far away from what Rev. King was about it isn't funny. Check his speeches then get back to me and tell me if I am wrong.

You can't just take one line from one speech and say that that is what Rev. King was about. That is a slap in the face and diminishes his legacy and the legacy of those that walked along with him.

And Chatter, I think it is perspective. I grew up with folks that marched and were a part of the Freedom Riders. I knew people that were a part of CORE and followed Malcolm X. I remember how sick I felt whenever I went to Arkansas and saw how young white boys not much older than I treated my grandfather. Disparities existed then and they exist today.

The legacy of Rev. King was about the condition of black people. We had successful black people in every generation, but is was the disparities that hindered us as a people. And those disparities still exist. Not only for black people but for poor people in general. I realize that there are some self-destructive behavior hindering many black people - but that does mean that the playing field is level - and that is why I think we have a long - long - long way to go.

James Manning said...

whew, sorry for the rant and the typos. I'm kind of passionate about this subject.

Dionne said...

James: No need to apologize. I have always wanted to read more of MLK's stuff so I'm planning on doing that tonight. Right now I'm running out the door but I will respond to your comments with some other thoughts too later this afternoon.

Mr. Grey Ghost said...


Great post! And I think its wonderful that you're teaching your kids the proper message behind Dr, King and his work. I have to admit that I've never watched ALL of "Roots" myself, but I think it's on DVD now so I'll definitely have to get it soon. Big fan of Alex Haley too!

Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

Some people do not realize that his speech also was meant for everyone here...not a selected few. Definitely inspiring...Your children will remember you doing what you did on that day...I'm sure.

As far as the movie Roots, I remember watching with my family but I never did read the book. Thanks for giving some insight on that.

Did you hear today what Hilary said about the plantations - republicans..etc.? Ugh...Made me sick.

I hope LMC you flipped over to that important link at Gateway pundits...1st post. (From my MLK post) It was remarkable yesterday just how many blogs linked to it. You would be shocked at what facts he reported on in regards to while Bush has been in office for the progress made for all races especially black Americans.

Dionne said...

GG: Thanks, it means a lot to me that you liked this post. Yes, love Alex Haley, you need to see all of Roots. There are 2 mini-series. The original one that goes from Kunta Kinte until Tom and the family became free. The second one is from Tom until Alex Haley and how he came to write the book. It is very interesting and I've decided I'm going to have my kids watch them for school for a lot of different reasons.

Suzie: I heard what Hillary said and it ticked me off so bad I'll probably have to post about it.

I'll check out that link.

Dionne said...

James: As I was thinking about our discussion there is so much that goes into this. We were both raised in very different environments and our experiences are like a filter through which we see the world.

I realize that I wasn't poor growing up and I have never been discriminated because of the color of my skin. So I will never be able to completely empathize or fully understand. But with that said that doesn't mean that I and a lot of others don't care. I genuinely do care. From ages 6-9 I lived in a small town in West Virginia. I still remember black kids being bused into our school and how mean everyone was. I went home and asked my parents why this was happening and they explained to me how and why it was so wrong. I went to college in downtown Chicago and was involved in ministries in neighborhoods like Cabrini Green. I know I only got a small glimpse of life there but I did care and tried to help.

I think a lot of conservatives do care but I'm sure there are also those that don't. I'm aware that there is still injustice in this country. I think the disagreement comes in what the solutions are.

I am against affirmative action not because I don't think minorities should get a fair shake but because I think it is reverse discrimination. I had a friend who found out she got hired because she was a minority and she was deeply offended. I genuinely think we should be a colorblind society that people get hired for their merit and they are the best person for the job. I'm also aware that there are a lot of dishonest and corrupt people that will or won't hire people based on all kinds of different reasons.

I think most people want to help the poor but conservatives think that welfare and handouts only keep them stuck in poverty. We want to empower them to stand on their own so they can get ahead.

I'm sure there are some conservatives that are hypocrites when using Martin Luther King's words but I think you overestimate how many there are. By the same token I find Jesse Jackson's hustling ways to be a service to himself not to poor people or worthy of MLK's legacy.

Sorry this is so long and I hope none of this has been offensive. It is just where I'm genuinely at and where I'm coming from. I appreciate your honesty about this and I will take the time to read more of MLK's stuff and let you know what I think.

James Manning said...

Chatter, I don't disagree with you at all. I think there are poverty pimps on both sides. Larry Elder and Rev. Peterson are two that come to mind on the Conservative side. There are a lot of liberals with good intentions but don't have a clue as to what they are talking about. And I do think there are Liberal policies that have had a negative impact on the black community... but not because they are bad policies but because of how they are executed. But there are a lot of Conservative policies that have destroyed safety nets for black and white people alike - especially poor people.

Affirmitive Action is a red herring of a topic and serves a better purpose in the political arena than it does in real life. I don't know a single black person - and I probably know more black people than most here, that has every benefited from AA.

And we will never have a color blind society until we eliminate the disparities that exist primarily because of color. Think of it this way:

For over 400 years, every morning black people were forced to run with an anchor (slavery)simply because of the color of their skin while white people ran free. Over time white people were able to advance futher than black people. One day the anchor was removed but then someone placed hurdles (Jim Crow/Descrimination) in the path of black people. Black people fell further behind. Then one day the hurdles were removed (a few holes exist but nothings perfect).

The question now becomes, when the race starts tomorrow morning, where would you place the starting line for black people? Considering the distance between the race, would you now make allowances for a capable black person to at least move to the point where he and the white person start the race in the same place? Do you provide programs to allow black people to eliminate the gap? Or do you say, since all of the hurdles are gone, you should have no problem keeping up - even with the gap?

And I speak in generalities here because there have been and will always be black people that advance no matter the condition. But as a whole, black people still lag far behind in a lot of areas.

You are correct when you say that the argument is in the solutions, but I think an issue is that some folks don't even recognize how complex the problems actually are. We tend to focus on talking points and slogans rather than dig into the issue. This is so much more than Affirmitive Action and welfare programs... but that's how we've framed it in order to satisfy political agendas.

ABFreedom said...

Great post LMC, I remeber watching the whole Roots series.

In all the comments, I couldn't agree more with this statement:
"I think most people want to help the poor but conservatives think that welfare and handouts only keep them stuck in poverty. We want to empower them to stand on their own so they can get ahead."

Dionne said...

James: I basically agree with everything you said and you have some valid points. I do think it is not necessarily a simple issue, there is still injustice and there are no easy solutions.

But I think it is true for so many people for different reasons. All that said I think this country offers a lot of hope and opportunity for those willing to pursue their dreams. My goal would be to help empower others to make them come true.

Dionne said...

ABF: Thanks!!

Rivka said...

I totally understand James in a written way as opposed to his 'experience'.. James, i can totally understand what you are saying.. Have you looked at the other side though? I can hear and accept your side totally, but since I haven't experienced it i am at a disadvantage. :-)

There were whites, and few-unfortuneatly, who marched with King. But I was too little back then. There were decent whites who hated what was being done to blacks. My parents were one of them, and my mom hated it and taught us to hate that. SO we grew up color blind, yet we are having to hear how we do consider color. I am pretty passionate about this as well.
On one hand I hate the way African Americans were treated back then and even the last 20 years, (even at my high school). I DON'T feel i have to TOOT my horn here, but I must say I was the only one among maybe a handful in high school who would sit at the 'black' table at lunch. I couldn'nt get it and wondered why in the heck all the tables at lunch were divided by skin color. I thought it was stupid because I had friends of every race, and every clique.

So, when I hear that there is still prejudice, I agree it is out there, but I guess I don't hear enough about people like me and LMC who were brought up different in the 60's-70's.

I could go on forever here, but another thing that erks me is to hear African Americans talk bad about conservative African Americans such as Star Parker.
Just because of their ideology.

It doesn't make sense to me. Have you ever heard her testimony?
It has everything to do with Christ. She came from the inner city, on welfare, and she said she stole, had abortions for birth control, etc.. etc.. (Much like white people as well). But she grew up believing the lie that all whites hated blacks.. That includes people like me and LMC.That is just part of her testimony. Her message is instead of giving handouts, physically get involved and build places right in those areas that provide places they can go to learn how to get on their feet and get off welfare.. Get a job and they won't have to live on that tiny amount they get from the government. This is all kinds of races i am sure, not just African americans. She urges Christians to do what God tells us to do and go in there and help. She was really admonishing Christians.

I want to stand up for myself here because that is not true of all whites. Sorry, caucasion americans.
(My sister in law is African American and wants me to refer to her as black american, not African American..), so that is a joke between us.. sorry..:-) I get confused, don't know what to say.. Black, african american, black american? So i usually don't say anything and just say .. person because we all are not defined by our color in God's eyes although he made us and therefore our colors are significant in a positive way.

I don't mean to offend anyone here, but I get tired of hearing all whites hate blacks, although I do agree there is still racism.. ANd in a fallen world, i don't think you will totally eradicate it. Look at the wacko's that teach their kids to salute to Hitler, and wear the white sheets on their heads..

James Manning said...

Be confused no longer: say black. I am a a black man. I know some folks like African American - but I like the black.

Ok, I don't think anyone wants a handout and that is not what black people are asking for.

As for Star Parker, she is a Sambo. Meaning she disparages black people for the entertainment of white people without ever adding anything constructive to dialogue on race or the elevation of black people. Her history tells me everything I need to know about her and her agenda. How many abortions did she have? How long was she on welfare? Believing that every white person hated black? She associates her moral failing to being black and her turnaround to being acceptable to whites. She then finds a way to associate black people with every moral failing she had but her success came about from talking down to black folks in the company of white people. That is a Sambo. Jesse Lee Peterson is the same way.

There is a big difference between Alan Keys and JC Watts and folks like Star Parker. I know black conservatives and they are in the community doing things - they have a different political philosophy but they are in the thick of it. Star Parker is not and I have no respect for her at all.

Sorry if you don't like my description of her. But I know a lot of folks like her and I'm careful not to pay them much attention.

Rivka said...

That is cool with me, we can respectfully disagree regarding star, and lee peterson, but we can agree on the others you mentioned.

Dionne said...

James: Glad you like JC Watts. I love him and wish he would run for president.

James Manning said...

I don't agree with JC Watts on politics but I do think he is a good person. I like Alan Keys but I voted for Obama - Actually, there are a lot of black conservatives that I like - Joseph C Phillips being another. But there is a distinct difference between these men and folks like Ward Connerly, Larry Elder and Star Parker. I won't go into it now but you can read my definition of Sambo and apply it to all.

But these are the types of conversations on race that need to take place. Because I think a lot of people fail to understand the perspective of black people and the conversation gets balled into catch phrases and talking points. So I do appreciate you bringing this up. I will post on this topic very soon.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

01 18 06

Hey Miss Chatterbox: EXCELLENT and I couldn't have said it better:)

Dionne said...

James: I completely agree that these are the conversations we need to be having.

Mahndisa: Thanks, that means a lot to me.

Diane S. said...

Then we read his infamous speech "I Have a Dream" that he gave on August 28, 1963.

Forgive me for nit-picking (something I really hate to see people do on blogs), but...

I think you mean "famous". Infamous means of ill repute. Seeing that at the top of your post got me all sideways for just a moment. I was braced for you kicking Dr. King. Not. A. Good. Thing.

Excellent post, made even more so by the respectful discussion which ensued.

Dionne said...

Diane: Thanks so much for pointing that out. I stand corrected. I actually have always thought of infamous as notorious. It never had a bad connotation for me. But I looked it up in the dictionary and talked to my husband and you are right. So thanks for the tip and for stopping by and the nice comments.