Season for Nonviolence (SNV): Day 9 – Dreaming

Day 9 – DREAMING:  Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. What is your dream of peace? What is one thing you can do to honor that dream? Do it today.

 “I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. That one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”. 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. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream…” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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The disparity between white people and people of color have not greatly closed since MLK, Jr.’s speech. The biggest imbalance can be observed in the American penal system. Non-white individuals suffer brutality at a higher rate in an un-equal judicial system. For example – according to 2010 report from the U.S. Sentencing Commission, black offenders in America receive 10% longer sentences than whites for the same crimes (1). Studies show that police are much more likely to pull over and frisk blacks or Latinos than whites (1). In fact, the disparity is not unique to America. Across the ocean, in the U.K. it is documented that African-Caribbean people are at higher risk than white suspects of being arrested and tried for a crime. Furthermore, they are six times more likely than white people to receive longer prison sentences (2).

Like King, I have a dream that my children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but I know that that reality is a long way off. Some white Americans might be denial that racism still exist in today’s society; however, from tweets I’ve viewed on my twitter feed, racism is very much alive in America. Case-in-point, bigots made their voices heard when the Coca Cola commercial shown during the Super Bowl where Americans from different cultures sang “America the Beautiful” in seven languages. I saw the ad and loved the idea that people from different countries want to sing “America the Beautiful” in their native language. What could be wrong with that? Must we all be reminded that, apart from the Native Americans, everyone else came to inhabit America after leaving their native land.

A poll conducted by the Associated Press (AP) found that racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008. A 2012 poll showed that 51% of Americans expressed anti-black sentiments compared to 48% in a 2008 survey. It’s not only about anti-black attitudes though. Data from a 2011 poll shows that 52% of whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes (3). Without the labor and intellect of foreigners, America would not be what it has evolved to be since the arrival of the Pilgrims in the 17th century. It’s unfortunate that there are still some who refuse to accept others who are different from who they perceive themselves to be, but guess what, we are human and we all bleed red. As Rodney King said, “can’t we all just get along?”

I stand with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the desire to see freedom reign from every hilltop, every mountainside, and every landscape of the world. I believe that when all people of the world take to heart that “all men (& women) are created equal”, the senseless wars will cease and harmony will ensue (I can dream, can’t I?).

Today, I went to an Open Air Market and felt quite at home amongst people of different nationality and ethnicity. My dream is that people of all races, cultures, nationality, religion will suspend judgement of those who are different and hopefully, accept them for who they are – a child of the human race. The fruition of my dream starts with me, so I do my best to walk the talk each and every day.

Life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Resources:

(1) http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-racial-discrimination

(2) http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/abusestats.html

(3) http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-poll-majority-harbor-prejudice-against-blacks – The AP surveys were conducted with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago.

Tomorrow’s Preview: Day 10 – FAITH  Have faith and say, “I Can” until you find a way.

**Season for Nonviolence campaign, also known as The Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence (SNV), asks us to focus our attention on attaining peace through nonviolent actions. More info at: http://www.agnt.org/season-for-nonviolence**

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