Monday, January 17, 2005

MLK

Today is always a good day to reflect on how our feelings and actions affect others lives. I think very few people today would argue that segregation is a good thing, but there were millions of Americans who fought against intergration 50 years ago because they believed that is the way it should be. They were wrong then and time proved them wrong. Take this time to reflect on your beliefs. Why do you believe what you believe? Is it out of fear? Out of ignorance? Because that is how your parents taught you? And I am not talking just about race relations, but for men's views of women and vice-versa, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, wealth, education, and every other reason you may come up with.

1 comment:

Boomr said...

I'm with Dingo (except for his dyslexic malapropism about "millions of Americans who fought against interrogation"). Any idea, belief, thought, conviction, FAITH that cannot stand up to critical review from time to time does not deserve to have proponents. If further reflection does not support the idea, then don't believe it. If the believer is unable to answer rational questions challenging the belief with relatively rational responses, then the believer loses credibility. And, in my opinion, anyone who doesn't at least conduct a cursory study into the opposing view of his belief isn't worthy of credibility either.

As I've stated a number of times in the past, I live in New Orleans -- which is a unique little city-state of its own, but which is still in the Deep South. Prior to the Civil War, New Orleans was both the home to a large slave trade and a location where "free people of color" enjoyed significant social standing and property ownership. Race relations AFTER the Civil War were much worse, as the "free people of color" suddenly became mere "colored people," and by the civil rights era of the 1960s, the segregation in New Orleans could have been that of any other southern city.

My grandfather (a white man of partial Cajun descent) joined with a number of other prominent businessmen in the city during the height of the civil rights debate to take out a full-page ad in the newspaper calling for an end to segregation of the schools. As a result, my grandparents lost a number of close friends, people who never dared to challenge their parents' and grandparents' views on the subject. In keeping with my family tradition, I'd rather lose friends than be around such short-sighted people.

It only takes a mere glance at the words of a number of MLK's speeches to realize that the black mind is not inferior to the white mind, and that strongly-held beliefs to the contrary were just plain wrong, no matter how long those beliefs existed (and still exist). Those beliefs have existed for so long because the sons and daughters of the believers have failed to challenge those views with rational questions.

No idea worth believing is so weak that it can not withstand mere questions. Any idea that refuses to engage in self-review is, by its very nature, an incomplete idea. Today, of all days, is a good time to think complete thoughts.