Usually now billed as a day of service and a moment of silence for diversity, one wonders if #MLKDay has the same significance it had when it began being observed in 1986. I remember when Dr. King’s birthday was a day off from school or work and all throughout the day families were favored with documentaries and movies about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s life and legacy. A few years ago, it seems, the holiday became a “day of service” that is supposed to include people honoring Dr. King’s legacy by serving others the way he served. And as Dr. King fought for people “not [to] be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” many people and organizations often promote programming aimed at “celebrating” and facilitating “diversity” on the day set aside to honor Dr. King’s birth.
This is where I get uncomfortable: Many of the same people “promoting” diversity–including many “Blacks”–are often the least diverse. Many people still view articulate Blacks that are not ratchet or street-savvy as “oreos” (Black on the outside and White on the inside). I’m personally more concerned about the hypocrisy that exists within the Black community. Dr. King and his progeny fought for Blacks to not be seen as one-dimensional, but we often judge and stereotype each other. We often practice the same white supremacy of which we claim to be victim: Look at how some Blacks pathologize other Blacks for not being Democrats; look at how anyone who is not condemning #RKelly is being viewed as a traitor. Just look at our implementation of the mob mentality.
We often use #MLKDay to measure how far “we’ve” come concerning the Civil Rights Movement. The “we’ve” is usually a reference to Whites, but how far have Blacks and others come when deviations from poverty are considered to be “acting White,” often more-so by Blacks.
This, White People, is where I need your help: I need you to point out the hypocrisy you see and be a buffer between critically-thinking Black Collegians like myself and the nonsense we face from Blacks who do not truly understand the legacy of #MLK. Stop being afraid of being called “racist” for being honest. Think about Dr. King walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. I need you to be that brave. I need you to understand the psychological impact of slavery so you’re not confused when you see Blacks gossiping about each other for no other reason than to assuage their own inferiority complex. I need you to understand why Blacks will ask for more Blacks to be installed in executive level positions at the office, then tear them down when they get there. I need you to understand the level of jealously Blacks often face from other Blacks and “people of color,” so that you can abate it and truly help real diversity come forth.
True diversity involves understanding. I need you to respond appropriately when you witness Blacks “othering” other Blacks. I need you to have the requisite level of understanding when you notice that all the White women at the office above the age of 35 are married and the black women aren’t. I need you to understand these types of differences and attribute the dysfunction you see to the many generations that the psychologocial impact of the Enslavement Process lived on long after Slavery ended.
And don’t worry about whether or not the Revolution will be televised. There currently is no revolution.