I hope Americans, in fact, all citizens of the world, had the opportunity to contemplate yesterday the significance of Martin Luther King’s birthday.
As an American, Martin Luther King (MLK) and the men and women who marched, died, or supported the Civil Right’s Movement of the 1960s, made clear the importance that no person of any race or economic standing should be denied their basic human and American rights. Since MLK, discrimination is now starting to end for citizens with disabilities as well as for gay and lesbian Americans who are members of all races.
However, 2012 is most definitely not the same as the 1950s and 1960s and I am going to go out on a limb to suggest specifically that many of today’s young black Americans are squandering the legacy MLK left for them.
Racial discrimination is not the same as it was when MLK marched.
There are many more affluent black Americans in our nation, and not just athletes and entertainers, than when MLK marched. These affluent men and women owe much to Martin Luther King and his supporters and many are giving back to their community often times with financial contributions or community leadership.
The opportunity for minorities has increased, but in way too many cases, the opportunities have been squandered away by the minorities themselves.
Racial discrimination will always exist, but perhaps today, discrimination is not based on the color of a person’s skin, but the lack of education, trades, and moral values a person brings to the table.
Unemployed youths lacking the necessary job skills or work ethics are discriminated by employers who are seeking out trained and work oriented employees.
The ending of poverty begins in the school, however all the money in the world cannot increase educational opportunities, when in the major urban districts there is brutal gang activity, absentee parents, and high rates of alcohol and drug addictions among children and the parents of those children.
Putting all the money into schools will be wasted if the child does not attend school or chooses not to open a text book. A child cannot succeed if the home life is not conducive to learning or if the actual schools are physically or psychologically unsafe for both the students and teachers.
As the uneducated population continues to grow it will become a lost generation if there are not some local community leaders and parents who intervene to end the cycle.
MLK was a great man and his leadership ended a bad cycle.
But if Martin Luther King was alive today he would likely be addressing those minorities and suggest that now that they are guaranteed their legal rights, they now need to step up to the plate to work hard to maintain them.