Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

It is hard to find a salutation worthy of addressing an audience, no matter how small, on a day as momentous as today.  As the country remembers the words and passion of one man's dream, we see the swearing in of our President, a man of shared race, just 45 short years after the brutal slaying of that great man.  Indeed, the United States of America has made great strides in race relations in these last five decades.  In the 1960's, an African-American man would never think the dream of becoming the President of this great country would even be possible.  Sure, it was nice to vision, to stand upon a podium and preach out to a crowd of thousands, but to actually see happen, in "white" America, was surely still 100 years away.  Lucky for America, the country got, not just an African-American as President, but a genuinely good man in the White House.  A man who was not judged by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.  A man who could inspire anyone with sound judgement, and a decent heart, to want change across our country.  A man who's own agenda is to reach out and lift up the lowest ends of our society and get them working and on their feet (no matter if you call that socialism or not, it's the right thing to do, because it is what Jesus, and all the greatest philosophers throughout time, would do).

Today should be a day of somber reflection and appreciation.  Appreciation for how far our country has come, but a day of reflection as we still have a long way to go.  America still sees the world through a colored lens, as we continue to see in news organisations commentaries as President Obama is constantly labeled as "black."  Mainstream news loves to throw out those two main color labels:  "white" and "black," and then sit back and wonder why the country is still polarized.  So, although (pardon the pun) the "colorfulness" of the words we use to describe one another has died down over the years, we still love to label the opposite race.  And now I feel it is being done in equal offenses on both sides.  We still view each other by the color of our skin.  It's not even an accurate color reference, as most "blacks" are more of a brown, or a mocha, so, yes, calling an African-American "black," is still racist, just as calling Caucasians as "white" is equally offensive.  Although, this is much better than some of the slang that is still, incredibly, used by people today.

I bring all this up, of course, because it strikes a very specific tone in the book THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME (TSS).  While I have only lived in a true "southern" state for less than a year, I can feel the racial tensions still present in a lot of areas.  And it comes from both sides, tell me how many cross-looks I would get if I took a stroll through the strictly African-American parts of town as a "white" male.  So, yes, when I thought about a future where America fell into a second Civil War as the setting in TSS, I believe the survivors would eventually be pulled to their polar ends and a race war would eventually ensue, without a Federal Government, or any government there to stop both sides from trying to kill each other.  Basically, to show the world what would happen when words evolved to action.  And I did decide to use the label "Black" as the racial slur being thrown around the most, because I really hate that we seem to have progressed back to this color label.  While we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go, before everyone is viewed by what is under the surface, and not just the color that sits on top.  

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