This is probably obvious to a lot of you. But not to everyone. The other day, I heard someone talking about the parade planned in Snellville for Martin Luther King, Jr., day, and this person asked why “they” thought "they" had the right to plug up traffic. (I didn’t actually hear it, I read it on Facebook. People are much more brazen there, like it doesn’t really count if you say it on Facebook.)
The Facebook poster suggested that “they” just go to the King Center in Atlanta and march there.
So without talking about racial tension in Snellville, and without really getting into the "us" vs. "them" mentality, I would like to mention why, as white people, we should celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., day, and why we, as white people, should show up on Monday to the parade.
- Because Dr. King had a dream that "one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood."
- Because he hoped that one day "little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."
- Because he hoped that "freedom [would] ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia."
- Because racism still exists today. Yes, it does, in a big way, although it's quieter than it used to be (and it's not just among white people). Dr. King's dream is not here yet.
- Because the history of white Americans in this country is not the same as black Americans. So let's take a day to just listen and learn.
- Because Martin Luther King Day is important. It is so, so important. It is the celebration of a man who devoted his life to changing an entire culture of divide in the United States.
- Because Dr. King felt that everyone should have equal rights.
- Because Dr. King is part of American history. All Americans.
- Because in Snellville, everybody is somebody. Because Snellville can be a universal example of brotherly love, of respect, of valuing everyone, even if our subcultures differ and we wear different shades of makeup.
- Because Snellville truly is a melting pot. Let's celebrate that.
- Because the civil rights movement was over half a century ago, and we should be colorblind by now.
- Because the civil rights movement was only half a century ago, and change is slow. It takes generations. It takes you, and me, and Jews, and Muslims, and Christians, and Latinos, Asians, Europeans, and women and men and children.
- Because there is a Walmart in Snellville where the customers are primarily black, and another where the customers are primarily white. It is what it is, for whatever reason, but it is.
- Because some Snellville residents avoid one Walmart and drive much further to go to the other. Sure, I'm sure that's not a majority of people. But some do.
- Because it's a day of remembrance and recognition of a man who taught pacifism and equality, and was murdered violently for it.
- Because your children need to see you celebrating it. Mine are almost grown, and I wish I had taught them more about it.
I'm so sorry if this comes across as smug of me, as a white person telling other white people what to do. But I'm not sure how else to express my thoughts. Please, go to the parade on Monday.