Friday, April 4, 2008
40 years later
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
To be honest, I'm pissed.
How far have we come, as a nation? As a community? I'm trying not to give in to my inner pessimist, but I generally feel like, although we've made tremendous strides, been walking around in circles. The problems of race-based class division, sexual exploitation, and the denial of even the most basic human rights (gay marriage, healthcare, the right not to get killed for wearing a dress) still exist, only there's more room for Black and Brown folks to oppress along with people who've traditionally gained from white privilege.
For instance, right now I'm in Baldwin Hills. It's a middle class Black suburb in Los Angeles. It's filled with doctors, lawyers, manicured lawns and a general attitude of superiority that conflates the false glamor of Los Angeles with the condescension of uppity Negroes. The general vibe I get from this place is "here, we've made it. Now we can sit atop the hill and sport our newfound whiteness like it was the latest offer from Opera's book club." Is this the dream that King talked about? The ability of a minute few to gain access to the most prestigious schools, professions and neighborhoods while large segments of our community continue to struggle to no avail? Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against getting an education or moving into an aesthetically pleasing neighborhood, but it's the attitude of some of these folks that gets me, the utter disrespect they seem to have for people who don't drive, vacation and talk like them.
Of course, today's anniversary brings to mind the infamous Boondocks cartoon: