"I have a dream that one day I will not be judged by my appearance but by the content of my character." And so an iconic man spoke an iconic speech. Despite repeated death threats and massive opposition, Martin Luther King, Jr. soldiered on for his cause and eventually died for it. Today is Martin Luther King Day. For most, that just means a free day off from school. However, I couldn't help but think of the implications of this day, especially given that the Google homepage edited itself just for the occasion.
I am sad to report that today there is still mass discrimination against black people and other minorities in this country. When my teacher talked of Black History Month in an all-white classroom, I wanted to laugh. What really had been done? The cycle of poverty continues, oppressing non-white people in an entirely new way. White suburban kids can spend their high school career smoking pot when they're supposed to be in class and they'll still probably pass. Hell, they'll probably at least get into community college. And yet for inner city black kids? They have to have actual intelligence and to the umpteenth degree and an incredible amount of inner strength. Even if they get into college, they'll still have to work very hard to teach themselves the information that teachers were supposed to have already taught them as they race to understand their college courses. That's incredibly, incredibly unfair but it seems it will take decades to undo that mass damage (if it can be undone at all). And that's only one example of the inequalities that still exist (not including profiling, discrimination, unequal pay, harsher jail sentences).
But still, despite this, Martin Luther King truly did accomplish quite a bit. Yes, he wasn't the only figure of the civil rights movement but he was one of the most important ones. He empowered people to fight and he did so in a nonviolent way, which is absolutely incredible (versus Malcolm X. While I admire his charisma and understand where he's coming from, he's still rather crazy). He fought for black people to at least get some civil rights and not be treated like dogs while making white people understand exactly how wrong their behaviors were. So, while it wasn't everything, it was something.
I will never truly be able to understand racism. Despite the fact that I am labelled "Hispanic" (despite also being half white and half- European Spanish) on record in order to get affirmative action, I pass enough as a white person to not have to deal with the discrimination that that title is supposed to alleviate.
I'm a dreamer, though. An idealist, a rooter for the underdog. I'm an equalist and I will fight for anyone who is oppressed: the LGBT community, women, minorities, anyone. I hope one day I can live in a world where inequalities don't exist but for now, I at least can marvel at what has been done.