Tuesday, August 14, 2012
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In his wonderfully eloquent and incredibly insightful speech, "I Have a Dream," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted as saying: "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."
This simple, profound revelation was the driving principle behind the Civil Rights Movement, a cornerstone of American ideology to this day. At least it's supposed to be. Five years ago, I would have responded, "Yes, in America (for the most part) we judge individuals by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin."
I cannot say the same today. As I look at a presidential candidate (Barack Obama) claiming to descend from "the first African slave in America" to get a few more votes, I see racist language and racially motivated tactics. As I look at many Americans who are blind to this man's lies and faults, due mainly to the fact they cannot see beyond the color of his skin, I see a people embracing their own racist roots. If Obama was denied the presidency because of his color, the nation would scream, "Racism!" But it is okay to hand him another four years because of the same quality.
This should not be. Barack Obama should be judged based on his character and the job he has done as president, not by the color of his skin. We're either with Martin Luther King Jr. or against him when it comes to "content of character versus color of skin"; there is no middle ground. We cannot pretend to be equal in our everyday lives just because it better suits our needs, only to revert to racist thinking when equality doesn't give us what we want.