Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Friday, April 3, 2009

Legacy of a King

Forty-one years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. This devastating event angered a race of people and sombered an entire nation. But the accomplishments he achieved before he was taken away from us will always be remembered. But I sometimes feel that many people have shifted away from the principles he demonstrated and wanted everyone to adhere to.

Homophobia and racism are still a reality. Yes, I'll admit that we have come a long way from the atmosphere of hatred and intolerance that existed in the 50's and 60's in the heart of the civil rights struggle. But I think the reality is that there will always be people that judge me based solely on my race and my sexual orientation (both of which I had no control over).

But I don't want this to be a post that just observes those external members of the community and their perception of us. I have to take a long, hard look at what "we" are doing also. One of my favorite episodes of the Boondocks examines what would happen if Martin Luther King, Jr. were still living today. Would he be proud of what he sees? Reality check - maybe not.

Yes we have a Black man in the highest office in the land and a first lady that exemplifies intelligence, beauty, and charisma. Yes we have Black men and women running companies, patenting life changing devices, and excelling as the greatest athletes the world has seen. Yes we have some terrific stories to tell. But keeping it real - it ain't all good.

If King were alive today, what would he think of the horrifying number of black on black homocides, the alarming number of high school drop-outs, and the staggering amount of teen pregnancies? What would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. think about our celebrities and our leadership? One of our most cherished pop artist brutally beats his girlfriend. Not just one but several of our hip-hop artists have been elevated in celebrity status because they had to serve time in prison.

Many people fought, bled and died for our right to vote and our right to have an education. And we take these rights for granted. Did these people die in vain? Of course not. Martin (and many others) died so that one day there would be a Barack Obama. Martin died so that we would have a place in tennis, golf, AND Nascar. Martin died so I would be able to obtain my Bachelor's degree and my MBA.

So on this anniversary of the day that we lost our King, let's please take some time to appreciate where we've come from and take some time to think about where we're going. Are you living a life King would be proud of?

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