Dreams are a very personal and abstract thing. Perhaps that is why it’s no surprise that Martin Luther King’s dream has not been actualized as he articulated a half century ago. Similarly, the so called “American Dream” is still out of reach for most Americans today and slipping away for thousands of young people whose parents could not save enough for their college education during the past economically depressed decade. Those lives are likely to be changed by those circumstances and their future will be defined by their parent’s economic woes.
Today we also clamor about the role of race in our society and how a person’s racial identity, or how their own racial profile (phenotype) is perceived by others. A heavy accent and a heavy tan can make trouble for you in the wrong neighborhood or bar, for example. That is the simple truth about how Americans deal with differences they initially see by merely looking at one another. And so, the dream may have been more easily achieved if it entailed all of us looking alike–that is a dream held closely by many who seek neighborhoods and places where people different than them are kept out by heavy gates or even heavier economic barriers to access.
The right to dream seems to always be trumped by the right to choose. And so it is in our American free enterprise culture–a sobering reality to some and a necessity to most.
Perhaps the next step of the journey is not a dream but a plan….
“Five decades after Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., a new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that fewer than half (45%) of all Americans say the country has made substantial progress toward racial equality and about the same share (49%) say that “a lot more” remains to be done.
Note: you can download full report at:
Blacks are much more downbeat than whites about the pace of progress toward a color-blind society. They are also more likely to say that blacks are treated less fairly than whites by police, the courts, public schools and other key community institutions.
While these differences by race are large, significant minorities of whites agree that blacks receive unequal treatment when dealing with the criminal justice system.