Tied into a Single Garment of Destiny with MLK

Pause to think for a moment: you’re boarding a public bus to head downtown for some errands, maybe to the department store before a Saturday lunch at a barstool diner. In front of you, an older gentlemen steps onto the bus, pays, and turns walks past the only empty seat in the front, all the way to the back where he will stand for the ride, because where he sits depends not on his age or order of boarding, but on the color of his skin. You follow him onto the bus and then, because your skin is white, rest yourself in that front seat.

White people in the front, Black people in the back.

And when you get off that bus, heading toward Woolworths, you stop for a drink at a water fountain. There’s a water fountain clearly designated for you, which you enjoy before a quick stop at the “Whites only” bathroom.

All of this happens out in the open, right there in the 1950s, in front of God and everybody. Continue reading “Tied into a Single Garment of Destiny with MLK”

The Already and the Not Yet of MLK

MLK Jr. Day has become a special day for me over the past decade.  It was at an MLK celebration over ten years ago that I became painfully aware that the seeds of racism were still buried and growing in the soil of my soul… and my own unawareness of it was hard to accept.  It wasn’t just that I was ignorant; for the first time I saw what a luxury it was to be ignorant.  Being able to ignore race matters is what you might call a privilege.

As I became more aware of the real and subtle presence of racism today – in this country and also in my heart – it led me to learn more.  After all, that was my real offense, wasn’t it, thinking it was all fine because it was all fine in my white world?

The obvious next step was to Continue reading “The Already and the Not Yet of MLK”