Friday, March 1, 2013

Will We Ever Reach Dr. King's Dream?

I was working out this morning at my gym, and a TV was turned on to ESPN.  I kept an eye on the set in between reps on the lookout for an awesome highlight or some relevant news on favored players or teams.

During one of my glances up, ESPN was in the middle of broadcasting a commercial.  This commercial consisted of brief video snippets, and images of athletes like Muhammad Ali,  Robert Griffin III, Jim Brown, and Adrian Peterson flashed across the screen.  "Cool," I thought, "Nike must have launched a new campaign."  

Then the commercial ended to the tagline of ESPN celebrating Black History Month.

In watching the brief montages, it never once occurred to me that, "Hey!  You know what?  Everyone in this commercial is black!"  In fact, if you asked me in the middle of the commercial what all of these athletes all had in common, I honestly think the color of their skin would have never popped into my head.

But then ESPN made it the issue and brought race into the mix. 

So how do we get past this?  How do we celebrate the sacrifices made by Jackie Robinson, Ali, Arthur Ashe and other pioneers without the figurative tap on the shoulder and whisper, "Psst...RG3 is black?"

I know racism still exists, and I'm sorry about that.  As for what we do about it, I don't have any good answers.  I'm just a simple guy with a simple blog.  But for me, a 48 year old white male, born, raised, and living in lily white environs, when I see AP or RG3, I see the man.  I see AP and RG3.  I don't see a black guy.  I just don't.

Dr. King famously longed for the day when his "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."  

Today, in the health club, watching the first part of that commercial, I was already there.  

I was.  I was truly already there.

But then ESPN changed that.

1 comment:

  1. I (white) am in the same mind set. During the 2008 pres. campaign I kept hearing "THIS IS HISTORIC" repeated over and over. Being a dull sort, I didn't get it. I wondered what is meant by that? We have a pres. election every 4 yrs.

    It just dd not occur to me that the reference was to the skin color of one of the candidates until about 3 yrs. after the election, I guess I'm just dull.


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