Fifty years ago yesterday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” Speech. That speech lives long in our memories, ringing in our ears, and hopefully, residing deep in our hearts as a dream we all share.
I am reminded this morning of that speech once again. May we all be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin—including my white hide. This is not to say that we should discount the color of our skin and hide it: we should value people’s skin color for how it adds to the richness of who we are in our multi-faceted diversity as God’s manifold creation, not for how it is used to devalue one another ethnically, economically, and spiritually.
This morning, I dropped my Japanese American son off at an African American man’s house in North Portland for an early morning fishing trip. The man in question fought valiantly in the Vietnam War for a country at war with itself on the question of race. I thought of the American flag hanging honorably and prominently in his front yard, noticeable even in the early morning darkness. It is well known that Dr. King spoke with great consternation about what he took to be the great evil structures associated with the Vietnam War: militarism, poverty and racism. Still, Dr. King would have honored this veteran for the content of his character.
My Japanese American son went fishing on the ocean today with three African American men I highly respect because of the content of their character. I have a dream that they will influence him so that he grows up to be the kind of American of whom Dr. King would be proud.
This piece is cross-posted at The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and at The Christian Post.