Where are we now? - Opinion - Explorer

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Where are we now?


On Aug. 28, 1963 one of the most famous, most quoted speeches of our time was delivered by a very respected citizen – Dr. Martin Luther King said the words “I have a dream.”

Fifty years later, many have been analyzing, speculating and debating over whether or not racial tensions have decreased, whether or not every man is treated equally and if we are following the principles laid out in those powerful words.

On the anniversary of this speech, President Barack Obama is planning to stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and offer his own take on the issues. The question is, how will he fare against a speech of such power, dominance and yes, equality?

After Obama was elected, many thought racial tensions would decrease. After all, the majority of Americans elected a black president. However, some might say his election and his leadership regarding racial issues at times has only increased the racial tensions that Dr. King wanted to abolish more than five decades ago.

The president has certainly had plenty of cases where he seems to be choosing sides without the facts. In 2009, Obama quickly jumped to the aide of his friend, an African American law professor from Yale, while being quoted as saying police from the Massachusetts Police Department “acted stupidly” in the incident.

Jumping on the emotional side, citing racial problems in the past, even our president overlooks facts at times. In this case, the white cop under scrutiny turned out to be one who worked to settle racial tensions, and had been a model officer.

Rather than coming right out and admitting he was wrong to jump to a quick judgment, the president had both men at the White House for beer.

Unfortunately, many of the racial tensions that still exist among us can’t be fixed with a beer, and even though some choose to be naive about it, the issues aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Most recently, we had the Trayvon Martin case front and center. Again, the president seemingly ignored facts in the case and spoke about a matter that didn’t need presidential interjection.

Instead, the president compared young Trayvon Martin to himself, or his own son if he had one. First of all, the president forgets that he comes from privilege and trying to make the average American believe he would be in such a situation is a joke.

Early on, no media outlets were reporting the race of either man; it was a tragedy where a teenager lost his life.

However, with the president’s help along with self-appointed rights activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, the situation turned to race quickly. The politics of the case made it worse. George Zimmerman would have likely been found guilty had he been charged with a lesser crime, but politics cried for more. In the end, he was not guilty and our president and others still focused on the racial factor.

After such an outcry about Trayvon Martin, I agreed with many last week who wanted to know where Obama’s words of wisdom were when American teenagers took a gun and killed an Australian for no other reason than because they were bored. Two of the teens were African American, one was white. 

With these recent incidents, it feels like we’ve lost sight of the fact that all of these are equal tragedies and by making them about race and politics we are not doing any justice for those we have lost, and we are definitely not following the words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.