“If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace; treat all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. ……Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade….where I choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself, and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.” – Chief Joseph
I think it is imperative to remember all wise men on a day like today. I have never really been able to get behind the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. Yes, it is a racial thing, but no not a racist thing; so please don’t take it out of context too much. These are my thoughts, and some may find it in contradiction to my blog’s initial meaning “Gratitude”, but by the end I hope to wrap it all up in a bow.
Let’s rewind back to 10th grade. I, short little 5’0” Regan was in JROTC. It’s MLKjr Day, and they’re hosting yet another assembly as school. It was our job to “man” the assembly in case of a fight, or the likes, incident. I am at the back entrance of the gym, doing a safety check of the area; primarily looking for smokers people making out. I rounded a corner and a group of black kids were standing there. Next thing I know, me in my camouflage, was getting her ass kicked for being “white” and that Martin Luther King Jr. Day was…. “all about them.”…
This is the exact antithesis of what MLK was teaching.
Since then, my view of the holiday is the one day a year ignorant black people can fully be ignorant without regard. I respect what “I have a dream…” implies, I respect what MLK was trying to say. However, it’s hard to teach the lessons to those who only hear what they want to hear. It seems to be a day, much like Valentines day, where it’s one day dedicated to something. Why can’t Love and Freedom be taught everyday. Children are now seeing that this is just a day to get out of school. Parents are failing at parenting and teaching what the meaning is, hence the ass kicking I got back in school
Fast forward to 2011. Guess what folks, we have a black president. His status in the white house ends any oppression you may have, but most likely haven’t, had. You’re free. We’re all free really. The only things that are oppressing you are the excuses you’re making to hold yourself down. I see a whole divide of people who are either, fight for themselves or blame everyone else. It’s so much easier to blame another for your own choices and downfalls.
So, in the end my issue lies within this:
This day isn’t about “them” or anybody in particular… it’s about everybody. I don’t understand why we have a day dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., when there isn’t one for Native Americans. The atrocities that Native Americans went through were just, if not more so, heinous as those in the minority communities. Everybody has the ability to change and succeed, they just have to make the effort themselves. It is not up to history, historical figures, or government. It is only up to you alone.
What I have come out of this blog is this:
I am thankful and grateful for freedom, as it’s given to me. I am thankful for the ignorance of that group of kids to allow me to reflect back and see their ignorance for what it is. I am thankful that I have taught my son that EVERY day, and not just one day to miss school, is a day to think about those who are less fortunate, unable, or “oppressed.”