There are some people that are out there in the world that believe because I am white that I have never experienced racism. But there was a particular time when I was working an internship at a theme park as an escort for the park characters, that I experienced this.
I was closing up and my line still had a few people left after we stopped letting people line up. My line was approached by a group of African Americans, so I approached them and politely informed them that we were closing down. One older woman in the group, responding very disgusted, asked “closed to whom?” Instantly, I realized this situation wasn’t just about me letting her stand in line. She apparently thought that I was stopping her because of her race. I coolly responded “We’re closed to everyone. These people were in line when we started closing down, so we are letting them finish before we leave.” This response must have caught her off guard, for all she responded was “oh.” This one experience has affected me so much that I remember exactly what was said some years later.
Today, there have been critics that have said part of the issue with the current presidential administration is about race, and that the people that are opposing him are white-supremacists. I firmly do not believe this. The fact that Obama has been put in office should be a sign that racial issues are turning around. We are living in an age where most of the population of the U.S. has been raised to be tolerant towards people of different color. I firmly disapprove of him not because of his race, but because of his policies, which I will not discuss here.
The key principal behind Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech is that we are all created equal. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” That single line summed up the entire theme of the speech and has resonated throughout generations.
As we celebrate Black History Month, let us not forget the struggles that have ensued because of the injustices that have plagued our country. Black History Month is not just about the history of African Americans, but a celebration for the triumphs that we have had in regards to the equal rights of men.
“The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people. For many of our white brothers as evidenced by their presence here today have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have A Dream