Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Dream Preserved

Peace and blessings,

In the midst of visiting the MLK center (see pics below) in Atlanta a few weeks ago, and hearing about the recent parties that have taken place at various universities thoughout the country, I have been reflecting on MLK's "dream" and where we as a country stand today within the midst of that "dream." I am using parenthesese because I believe that MLK was motivated more by a realistically attainable ideal than by a "dream." I think that by viewing it merely as a dream, it can yeild complacency on behalf of the rest of us, whose duty it is to live out what he (and countless others who were never seen) lived, fought, and died for. When i think of a dream, I think of some far-fetched utopia that, although i know it won't happen, I enjoy thinking that one day it could happen. That is not what Dr. King was talking about in his "I have a dream" speech. He was talking about a reality where people show love, kind, and respect towards each other in some capacity without those interactions being influenced (one way or the other) by race or any other superficial to irrelevant "differences." Although at the time this may have seen like a "dream" at the time due to the racial hostility and intense segregation, it was not a dream in the sense that it is unattainable through everyday, realistic, human actions. I think that his life's work is best characterized as being in accordance with an ideal, rather than pursuing a dream. In the movie "Batman Begins," Bruce was training with the League of Shadows and his mentor told him that "once a man commits himself to an ideal, he becomes a whole new person entirely." This quote struck me because of its truth. This quote also best describes Dr. King, and the many others who were committed to non-violence, social change, and love over hate. Before I close, here are a couple of pics from the MLK center and MLK's church...

Here's Ebenezer Baptist Church, where MLK used to pastor.

This is the entrance to the exhibit.

This is called the "civil rights" or "freedom" chair, or something to that effect. I find this ironic because the chair is something people use when they want to sit down, yet the images on this chair symbolize why we must always stand up for what we know in our heart to be right.

In closing, I just wanted to touch on the idea of preservation with respects to MLK's "dream." When I normally think of the term preservation, I think of it within the context of keeping food fresh and maintaining its quality. Within the context of MLK, preservation has similar meanings and connotations. However, it differs in that the ideals MLK proscribed to (e.g. non-violence, peace, love, justice, etc...) are the same ideals that I believe are intrinsically within all of us. The key is to tap into those God-given capacities to transform our lives and socieities through simple, everyday actions. Alot of times I perceive the solutions to certain problems to be more complicated than the problem itself, when often the solution lies in (or starts with) me making a conscious decision to make a small change in my behavior or how I interact with others (e.g. stopping to actually talk to a stranger as opposed to dropping some change in a cup and keeping it moving). If we as people can change, than so can our relationships with others, and so can our societies. That's what MLK and others who died for the cause would want, and that is far from a dream. What do you think? Speekonit...


Anonymous said...

*snap; snap;*
Thank you for interpreting what Martin Luther King meant when he said "I have a dream". Sometimes I sit and wonder what MLK would say, or how he would feel about the current situation in America, current situaton in the African American communities, and the curent situations in the black family. Sometimes I think he would be disapointed to see that this country is still governed by hate and not love. Sometimes I think he would be appaled at the way we (I am African Aamerican) treat our brothers and sisters. I believe MLK would be just as disappointed at the racial discrimination that still exist today, as demonstrated by the "elite"(Texas and UCONN law studnets) in the parties that have taken place depicting negative sterotypes of African Americans.

Unknown said...

Yeah, especially given the current issue (which shouldn't be current because it has been going on for so long) surrounding some of hip-hop lyrics' negative messages it gives to youth.