May 1, 2008

Guest Author: BillyJack

One of the great things about Blogging is that it allows you to network with people you may have otherwise never had contact with. BillyJack is one of those people that I have had the pleasure of getting to know through reading his Blog. Billy writes with sincerity and integrity. You can check his Blog out HERE

Without further ado:

Judged By The Content Of Their Character

Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of the day when his children were judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. In more than forty years since he said those words, systemic changes have taken place in state and federal governments which require equal opportunity under the law in every area. Granted, systemic changes don’t change the hearts of people. Consequently, prejudice and bigotry are still alive in individuals of all colors throughout the country. But systemically, equality of opportunity is now the law in employment, education, housing, scholarships, health care and any number of other areas. Today, if racial discrimination takes place in government or business, it is a violation of the law instead of being protected by it. That is a tremendous turn around from 40 years ago!

Will the day ever arrive when we finally just see each other as people? Not black people, brown people, or white people, but just people? Isn’t that what Mr. King foresaw in his dream? But, many people will never allow that day to arrive. They make their living reminding America what color they are. This article is not about people like that. They are Truth Smugglers whose political power and income depends on perpetuating racial division. If we ever realize Mr. King’s dream, those people will be out of business!

But, there are other less sinister actions in our society which continue perpetuating racial distinctions. The most recent ones have occurred in politics, entertainment and sports.
In politics, Barak Obama could be the first black president.
In entertainment, Beyonce was the second black woman ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.
Lovie Smith and Tony Dungee were the first black coaches to appear in the Super Bowl.
How much longer are we going to dilute great accomplishments by referencing someone’s color?

In the days when discrimination was not only the law, but a way of life, “firsts” like this were important for social change. People like Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks had a place in history because they went against an entire system that was structured to keep them down, and they rose above it. Courage like that is worthy of celebrating. But, those “firsts” don’t happen anymore.
Today, if a minority is elected President, the laws of our country will have given him/her that opportunity. If a minority head coach wins the Super Bowl, our laws and his league which are structured to support and encourage racial diversity will have given him that opportunity.
We haven’t solved the problems of racism in our country. As long as the human heart beats with the force of free will, there will always be bigotry and race based hatred. But, we can make Mr. King’s dream become a reality by recognizing great accomplishments on their own merits without diluting them by noting the person’s race.
If Mr. Obama is elected president of our country, it will be a huge tribute to his character and hard work. When Beyonce appeared on the cover of SI, it was be a tribute to her beauty and talent. When Tony Dungee’s Colts won the Super Bowl, it was a tribute to his skills as a coach in a league where winning championships is extremely difficult.
Let’s begin recognizing people for the content of their character and the greatness of their accomplishments without calling attention to what color they are!
When that day arrives, we will be one step closer to Mr. King’s dream!

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Jackie said...

oh my this is powerful. I haven't visited Billy jack since I got back.

Now I know I most certainly will have to drop over.

Our entire family is supporting Obama's campaign!!

I had a ton of visitors today. I hope and pray that you got some drop ins and some added to the peace train.

Now I have to hurry and try to get a post celebrating Bill's return up.

Lord please don't let me lose my satellite connection!!:-)

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Carol,

Cool Hand Luke is a film I saw 3 or 4 times. In High School, Paul Newman was one of the actors we idolized, and Billy Jack referenced the film with his post very skillfully. Thanks for that tip on his site.

I agree with you on looking at people on the basis of their character and greatness of their accomplishments; I might add the nobility of their intentions - although this is one thing that's hard to prove, but I suppose it would be part of their character.

I also believe that whatever is achieved in the area of equality it is because, as you say, the structures support and nurture diversity; over and above the protestations of the noisy few who make a career out of racial divides and are enamored with being an extremist.

Powerful post. Great piece. :-)--Durano, done!

Matt said...

First, what a terrific post by Billy Jack. What a great day, indeed, if it ever comes to pass that we all look upon each other as people, instead of attaching a color label first.

I would just point out that, at least in one of Billy Jack's examples, there is, sadly, an inherent flaw. If Obama does win the election and become the "first black President of the U.S." it will have been because of a very racial divide. Look at the numbers - depending on the poll you believe, eighty-odd percent of blacks support Obama and 60-70 percent of whites support Clinton. Unfortunately, it appears more people support Obama just to see him break that crucial barrier than because they actually agree with his views (which he hasn't even made clear yet).

It will still be a start if he wins the election, but it will have done nothing to address the racial divide that still exists on both sides in this country.

uglyblackjohn said...

matt - 80% of Blacks vote Democrat anyway so those numbers may have less to do with race than party.

As far as the laws being in place for such a situation to happen, Okay, fair point. But the laws don't change people's perceptions. Being the first Black, or woman, or (anything) still carries weight because it is not the norm. It's still seen as unexpected.
Personally, I can't wait until being in one group isn't seen as being limited to that group.

Save a life, gain a buddy -