On Monday the nation will celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose leadership during the civil rights movement challenged the nation to stop looking the other way as so many of our citizens were treated as less than human.
By the time I entered first grade at the old Magnolia Avenue School (which now houses the Triangle South Enterprise Center) in Dunn, our local schools were no longer segregated. And I’m too young to remember when blacks had to sit in the balcony of the movie theater or drink from separate water fountains.
But without the leadership of Dr. King, those atrocities would have continued far longer.
For years, many probably thought the ultimate sign that America had finally laid down its racism would be the election of a black president. We now know that’s not the case.
I would argue that racism will never fully die this side of Heaven. That’s because racism is a spiritual ailment; education is a treatment, not a cure.
Politics gets in the way of racial healing. Conservatives are accused of being racists; black conservatives are accused of not being authentically black.
Black conservatives may be the bravest participants in our national discourse; many lose friends and are alienated from family because of their convictions. But they deserve to be heard.
Consider the following passage, written last year by Daily Record columnist Star Parker:
“Suppose I said that physical laws, such as the law of gravity, are different for whites and blacks. You would laugh at me.
“How about economic laws? Are they different for whites and blacks? Of course not. They are laws that apply to human behavior.
“It is clear to me that freedom and capitalism are the principles that made America a rich and powerful nation. And it is not unique to America. Plenty of studies show that for all the nations of the world, those that are free, that allow capitalism to operate in their economies, are the most prosperous.
“So when I say, as I have been saying for the last 20-plus years, that lack of freedom and capitalism is what is holding back black Americans, you would think black leaders would want to listen. But they have no interest.”
We should all have an interest in what Ms. Parker has to say, not just because of her intellect, but also because of her life experience.
According to her group’s website, Ms. Parker “had seven years of firsthand experience in the grip of welfare dependency. After consulting on federal Welfare Reform in the mid-90s, she founded UrbanCure to bring new ideas to policy discussions on how to transition America’s poor from government dependency.”
Consider also the following from African- American writer Keli Goff, which appeared in The Daily Beast a few years back: “According to former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele, who is African-American, the media do not seem particularly interested in covering perceived racial slights when the victim is a black conservative.
“‘In my race for the U.S. Senate, I was painted in blackface with big red lips and called an Uncle Tom,’ Steele told the Beast. … Ms. Goff also related how campaign signs for Gloreatha Scurry-Smith, an African- American GOP candidate for a Florida congressional seat were vandalized. “Smith says she initially wasn’t surprised that one of her billboards had been defaced,” Ms. Goff reported, “but was taken aback when she saw that her face had been spray painted white on a towering 8-foot by 4-foot campaign billboard.”
America still has a long way to go on race. More progress will come when diverse voices are given a fair hearing.
Contact Bart Adams at (910) 230-2001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.