04 April 2008

Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now.

Not a whole lot more to say. If you've ever read his speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," you know Dr. King fully expected to be taken from this earth through hatred and fear, yet he put himself out there even after the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed -- moving into issues of economic equality, still tied heavily to racial injustice in America, but King constantly reminded critics that the "Poor People's Campaign" was multiracial in its scope.

The possibility of a popular anti-poverty campaign was cut short with Dr. King's assassination in Memphis 40 years ago today.

We're still waiting.


Foilwoman said...

This is shallow beyond belief, but I spent this last weekend in southern North Carolina with my bi-racial children and my kids played in a public park that they wouldn't have been allowed to play in in the year of my birth. (My ex and I wouldn't have legally been allowed to marry -- in many states -- when I was born either.) As my hostess looked through the Sunday paper, she pointed out particularly attractive and unattractive couples, and that was the only type of comment she made about the interracial couples who were listed on that page. Maybe we haven't made it anywhere near the Mountain Top, but the world has changed so much since 1961 (the year of my birth) and since 1968.

There are still many changes that need to be made, and much inequality in the world, but a lot of doors that were closed are open. My three year old daughter played with kids in the park without regard to race, and the parents seemed to have no problem with something (kids of all hues playing together peaceably!) that would have been unimaginable, at least in a Southern public park within living memory.

cuff said...

Nothing shallow about it. Things have changed immensely in forty years, from the striking down of racist laws to the acceptance of racial equality and multiracialism in many sectors of society. Our children are learning great things about one another that weren't possible a short time ago. Unfortunately, there are still some poison spewers out there who cling to their sick myths of racial purity and "natural" inequality...

foilwoman away from home said...

Cuff: I really don't worry too much about the racial* purity people. Everyone told me that when I had kids, that's when I would really confront racism. Hasn't happened, because anyone who thinks whites** are superior meets my girls (taller, smarter, stronger, more beautiful, more coordinated) and just folds. Since mine are better. The only comments I've ever heard about my kids have been oohs and aahs of amazement. Of course, that might be because I'm looming over them, looking large and mother-grizzly-like.***

Of course, the whole "would we actually want to give poor people access to education and health care and shit like that" part of Dr. King's march into economic oppression is totally unfulfilled. But maybe in my girls' lifetime, there will be an improvement equal to the one we've seen in mine? I can hope. And if I raise my girls right, they're going to rule the world anyway, so I'm seeing a bright future.

*A fucking construct! Sorry, race is like femininity -- people just define it so as to say you aren't good at something because of it, but can never really define it clearly and scientifically. All societies have lots of blended people. Even Iceland. My favorite Icelandic blogger has a lovely mixed background kid.

**Or any other race or ethnic group. I didn't test for Tay-Sachs or Sickle Cell disease because I knew that by leaving racial or ethnic purity (feh) behind, that was one worry I wouldn't be facing.

***I have a whole spiel about the mother grizzly v. stupid humans. Absent firearms, the mother grizzly wins. The mother grizzly: mammalian nature at its best.