Concord, NH — We paused on Monday to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King. I think it should not be a day to criticize where America is on race relations but to applaud how far we have come. It was only 160 years ago that our country was split down the middle over the act of slavery. It was divided not like we are today, where we have philosophical differences, but was divided by war.
The Civil War of the 1860s was the bloodiest and deadliest war America has ever fought. The victorious Union Army of the North lost over 360,000 men and boys to unify the country and destroy the use of slavery.
We have continued to evolve to ensure that the descendants of all men and women freed by that battle are equal in stature to men and women of any color in America. We are not perfect but pause for a minute to realize how far we have come since Black men and women we not considered people and sold in auctions like cattle and horses. I remember traveling to the South as a youngster in the early 1960’s and saw “Colored” restrooms, water fountains, and separate entrances to many public buildings.
My sisters and I were fortunate as children that we were raised in a colorblind home. Our parents used the situations we saw in the South as teaching moments. They taught us how unjust this was and what was being done to eliminate these obstacles to equality. As we traveled to the South every year, we saw firsthand these impediments fall.
We are not perfect but fast forward to 2008 and the election of a Black president and 2020 when two firsts were attained with the election of a Black woman as Vice President. We need to acknowledge these events and not be lazy and fall back on the typical talking points of division.
I listened to a debate involving Kristal Knight, Former Political Director of Priorities USA, and she fell right into this trap of laziness. She was like a recording as she spewed all of the falsehoods about the restrictions on Blacks with laws passed in various states. She pointed to the movement for Voter Rights to prove how Blacks are oppressed in America. She recited each talking point with confidence, but when pressed for details, she had none. She had none because you cannot support lies with facts.
Knight pushed hard on the hardships of Blacks obtaining a Voter ID. As our Vice President said last week in response to getting a VAX ID or test location, “just Google it.” If it is that easy, according to our Black VP, then it must be that easy for a Voter ID, too.
It is time to protest less and work harder for everyone to take advantage of every person’s infinite possibilities in this country. On Sunday, Tony Dungy, the former coach of the Indianapolis Colts, said that there are not enough Black head coaches in the NFL.
He said that the owners had responsibility for hiring more Blacks but then qualified his statement in his following sentence. He went on to say the most qualified person needs to be hired. Exactly. Let’s all get a little more colorblind and look to people’s character and abilities, not the skin color. That is a good way of remembering Martin Luther King.
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