Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 4, 2012
Today marks the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. It seems that I make this almost an annual thing on both this blog and my business blog, where today I wrote on the topic of 5 Things Dr. King Wouldn’t Be Happy About. Last year on this blog I wrote on what I saw was a different take on things concerning the date and how little things have changed.
I’m slightly modifying that this year. I’m modifying it because of what’s been going on the last couple of weeks, and how it signifies, in some way, just how things have changed.
I’m talking about the Trayvon Martin case in Florida and all that’s happened because of it. Unfortunately there’s still no real resolution of what’s gone on down that way. The guy who killed him is still out of jail, and police chief has temporarily stepped aside, and the police are trying to make out like this kid was the instigator of his own demise; police will be police I’m afraid.
There’s been a major movement in this country over this case, and what’s fascinating about it is that no one has been killed over it. There hasn’t been any riots. Cities across the country have held some kind of rally in support of this kid, even here in Syracuse. It’s talked about almost every night on the news, both national and local.
Back in 1968, Martin’s story wouldn’t have made the news anywhere. No one put anything about black people on the news unless it was something major. Back in 1968, after Dr. King was killed, people went on a rampage all over the country. The police and military went on alert. For days it was scary, even for us little kids. I lived in the suburbs so I was isolated, but from what I hear things were tense in the city, though I’m not sure if there were riots or not; that had happened years earlier.
People are actually talking this time around. The conversation is about racism in general. The conversation is about guns and the rights of gun owners. The conversation is about youth culture and profiling; come on now, hoodies? The conversation is about the difference between protecting oneself and stalking and provoking someone into action so you can feel justified in killing them. The conversation is about how the police sometimes cover things up. The conversation is about a search for truth, justice, and the American way; yes, I had to work a Superman quote in there.
This is how things should happen. We should all be able to talk about things we don’t like, talk about things that scare us, talk about change, talk about difficult topics in the open. True, it’s not happening everywhere. Goodness, I’m surprised to find so many people who, when I mention it, say “Who?” Now there’s a level of oblivion I’ll never understand.
And it’s in this spirit that I write my Black Web Friday series going right now. It offers the chance for people to get to know each other and open a conversation. It offers the chance for all of us to grow together.
The first link above talks about what Dr. King might not be happy about. I think he’d be happy that for once people are talking peacefully; that’s never a bad thing.