Dr. Martin Luther King addressed a multiracial crowd in our nation’s capitol to proclaim that he had a dream that we would one day be a nation standing united free of hate and racism. His vision for our future cost him his life, but his accomplishments and those of others like Dr. King helped our nation through that difficult period of growth. Now more than 40 years after his assassination, what is the state of his dream in America and the world?
Racism The hidden face of racism has been revealed in recent decades. It is now owned by both blacks and whites in America as the hatred goes both ways. Our nation propagates it to some degree with racially divided programs that should be directed toward the efforts of helping everyone in need. The preaching of division and segregation is still taught in some of our churches. We cannot say that racism is dead in America, but it’s certainly not as wildly popular as it used to be.
Homophobia Once considered the sign of our times and the downfall of American morality, the nation did not suffer as deep a rift resulting from hatred toward homosexuals as it did with racism. However, many also lost their lives defending their right to live and express their sexuality as they wished. Groundbreaking strides were made in gay and lesbian rights in only a few decades resulting in gays being allowed in the military and their right to marriage. Still, we cannot attribute this accomplishment to the changing of hearts and minds.
Religious Persecution Perhaps the most profound example of how religion can divide people has been witnessed during our time. We own this new reason to hate on a global scale after the Gulf Wars and 9/11. The Muslims in the Middle East view the West as mass murderers and we view the Muslim Community with fear and and suspicion. Thankfully, we have not witnessed the massive backlash seen in Nazi Germany as a result of the most tragic events of our time. Again, we cannot attribute this to the changing of hearts and minds.
We still live in desperate and trying times. Our struggle against hate is far from over. Dr. King’s dream is being realized, but only slowly. It is not hearts and minds being changed. Sadly, it seems that so many of those who lived during Dr King’s era have held on to those old beliefs. It is only the new generations coming up that refuse to follow that doctrine of hate and will reshape the world in their image. It’s painfully slow and we may not see Dr. King’s dream in our own lifetime. It’s Ironic, how quickly we can come to hate on a global scale, yet it takes generations to heal the wounds of our past mistakes.