A Dream Worth Saving
“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.”
With these words Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. captured the dream of all Americans: to be judged by our character, to be judged by our merit, and to be judged by our achievements. In short, to be judged as individuals.
As we celebrate the fifty-seventh anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s, I Have a Dream speech, we are sadly on the brink of rejecting Dr. King’s dream. In its place, many on the left want to institute a dogma of division based on skin color and ideology, denying the individuality of all Americans in the process.
Together, we must reject this dogma of division to ensure Dr. King’s dream lives on in America – an America in which individuals are not judged “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Reject Those Who Want to Divide us by Our Differences
Americans are disheartened because many of those around us want to define and divide us by our differences rather than unite us by our history, mutual inheritance, and shared experience. Whether it is the media, multi-millionaire athletes, Hollywood celebrities, or even our friends on social media, we are bombarded with divisive messages and litmus tests to prove our adherence to the new ideology. On a daily basis, Americans face pressure to align themselves with the “socially acceptable” message emanating from the power structures of our country. At the same time, there are calls for separation and segregation from college students, new hires in corporate America, and left-wing activists.
These messages are in direct contrast to Dr. King’s dream in which “one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” For decades we have made tremendous progress as a country by mending the wounds of racial discord and developing personal and professional relationships that our grandparents would have never imagined.
The “sons of former slaves” and the “sons of former slave owners” can now “sit down at the table of brotherhood” and break bread over what bonds them. Likewise, my son, a descendant of slaves, now attends a multiracial Christian church in the South which would have been unimaginable to his grandparents who grew up in the Jim Crow era.
Thus, we must reject those who ignore this progress and who perpetually define and divide us by our differences.
The Real Privilege is a Two-Parent Privilege
Unfortunately, the entrenched poverty in many urban environments and lack of diversity at senior levels of corporations are often used as proof of systematic racism. However, the main reason driving that disparity is often ignored. When Dr. King gave his speech in 1963, 75% of black children were raised in two-parent families, today it is only 30%. The destruction of two-parent black families was the result of government programs that incentivized fatherless homes leading to cultural decline and a cycle of poverty. How can children escape poverty to rise the ranks of corporate America if they do not have the foundation, habits, and values for a successful life?
Both data and experience indicate that the divide is not between white and black households: the divide is between black two-parent households and black single-parent homes with absent fathers. This is not to criticize the many single parents who work day and night to ensure a good life for their children. They perform miracles every day in raising their children in challenging circumstances.
However, the outcomes of children with absent fathers transcends ethnic groups and geography. The results are often the same: corrupted values, substance abuse, trouble with the law, and the destructive cycle of poverty. The same struggles facing predominantly urban Black-Americans are seen in white working-class communities across America. The runaway success and lasting influence of Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance is a testament to the shared experience and harm of broken homes – regardless of creed or color. Vance’s book capturing the struggles of White-Americans confirms the data: the real privilege is the “two-parent privilege,” not a white privilege.
Immigrants Recognize the Power of Dr. King’s Dream
America’s imperfect past is undeniable, but so are the “magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,” which Dr. King described as a “promissory note” in which “every American was to fall heir.” That inheritance was earned by the blood our forefathers – most prominently with the nearly 750,000 lives lost in the American Civil War over the fate of slavery.
Despite the narrative from the some on the left that America is a systemically racist country, throughout our history, people of color from across the world have chosen to come to our country and become Americans. Over the 20th and 21st century, this included highly educated immigrants with the resources and skill set to choose where to live. Immigrants of color – from Nigeria, India, Latin America, and beyond – choose to come here and wait for decades to become citizens.
These individuals decided to undergo the arduous citizenship process and, in doing so, join us as heirs to the “promissory note” of freedom. Like me, they see America as an exceptional place with exceptional people and opportunity for all.
Save the Dream and Save our Country
I call for my fellow Americans, of all creeds, colors, and faiths, in Minnesota and across America, to stand with me and to save our country. We must not let Dr. King’s legacy die in vain.
As fellow Americans, I invite you to join me in challenging the dogma of division. Together, we must advocate for a society that upholds Dr. King’s Dream – a society where people are judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.