“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
As I was laying in bed listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show’s tribute to Dr. King, I got that feeling again. I have always wondered what it would have been like to live during the Civil Rights Movement. Sometimes I even joke that I did and was reincarnated as the me I am today. I have always been a
little outspoken smart-ass or loud-mouthed Yankee, as I was ‘affectionately’ called by some southerners when I first moved to Georgia. I would just smile and giggle on the inside because I knew they were jealous of my fearless and opinionated nature. They were not raised to have the same level of self-confidence and strong moral compass as I, but I did not blame them for that. So anywho, I got to thinking last night as I scrolled through my Twitter timeline. Several people started posting or retweeting those ‘What would Dr. King say about….’ blog links. I thought, ‘Oh lord, here we go.’ But I guess people need a way to direct traffic to their blogs, right? There was one title that caught my eye….I believe it had something to do with education. Of course, I didn’t read it because, well, it’s the same ish regurgitated from last year and the year before. But here’s the thing…Dr. King would not keep saying the same things about education/employment/housing discrimination. Know how I know? Montgomery Bus Boycott, March on Washington, etc. At some point, they stopped talking and started acting either through walking, sit-ins, or all-out boycotts. What happened to that level of commitment to the cause? Why do we insist on talking to the-powers-that-be when they have shown us, time and time again, that they are not the least bit interested in what we have to say? Why do we listen to people such as Diane Ravitch, Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Davis Guggenheim, and any person of privilege who has profited from the poor state of Black and Brown education? Better yet, why would we even entertain anything a former insider has to say when s/he was completely silent when on the inside? I thought the whistleblower had more power when they blew the whistle while still working within the corrupt entity? No? Ok. But I digress….
So today I am not doing anything out of the ordinary. Nope, because the other 364 days of the year I make sure that I teach my children to carry themselves in a respectful manner, whether at home, school, or other public places. I teach them that no one, regardless of race, has the right to mistreat/disrespect them, teachers and other school officials especially. Most importantly, I teach my kids that they have the right to go wherever and dare to dream whatever their little hearts desire. Why should today be any different? These lessons have obviously missed a great number of the people with whom I have come into contact. I can’t fix them or change their upbringings. All I can do is be grateful for the sacrifices (as in lives lost) made so that I could actually sit in classrooms next to (not behind) little White girls and boys. No longer am I relegated to the back of the bus or separate entrances into restaurants or movie theaters. I have voted in every presidential (and almost every local election) since the age of 18. All of those privileges required sacrifices. Not talking, roundtables, CNN specials, NBC townhall meetings, movies about fictitious characters who NEVER visited the hood, or power-hungry media whores claiming they care about kids whose mouths they taped shut. Nope. All of those privileges came by way of action. Doing. Marching. Sitting-in. Crippling a city’s public transportation system. So until someone needs help organizing a massive school boycott, y’all can miss me with that ‘What would Dr. King say’ stuff because he would have already gotten the ball rolling on the (education) changes we were supposed to see after 1954.