Monday, January 21, 2008

A letter...

Dear Dr. King,

You don't know me but I know you. Well I don't really know you I just know you from books and films and speeches that you made. I thought I would write you this letter to let you know that I am thinking about you.

Today as you know is the day that we celebrate your birth. I thought I would share with you my humble thoughts on the state of America from a decidedly African American perspective.

I read and hear so many people go on about how badly we are doing. They talk about all of the statistics that supposedly tell us that we are less than all the other groups of Americans.

For instance we are told that 70% of Black children in America are born out of wedlock. I wish I could tell you how many White children are born out of wedlock, but they never seem to tell us that statistic.

I know that it sounds really bad that 7 out of 10 Black children are born out of wedlock. Some how I think that if you were here today we would have a better perspective to look at this situation.

I'm sure you would give us solutions.

That ability to give America perspective is what I think we all miss the most about not having you around. The so-called Black leaders of today don't understand the need for perspective. They don't understand that people don't just need speeches and marches they need someone to help them navigate the complexities of being Black in America.

Your speeches were really about understanding the situation that we existed in. You led by teaching, that is a forgotten art today.

So many of us have trouble understanding why certain things are the way they are. Sure we have all sorts of figures and numbers but where is your perspective?

I don't want to keep you, I know that you are busy in heaven talking with our ancestors, I bet those are some great conversations. But I also imagine that there is at times great sadness at some of the things that are afflicting African America. The list is a long one but as you discuss these things with our ancestors I am sure that you are giving even them perspective.

As we move into this new century I know that you see the astounding things that we have and are accomplishing. Despite the constant reminder of all that we do wrong there is an abundance of success.

Today there are more African Americans in college than ever before. If you were here you would see through the lies being told about our students. You would tell us that there are indeed more Black men in college than in prison.

You would remind us that even though there are many Black children having serious problems in school that we should not overlook the millions of students that are excelling.

I also know that you have heard that people are saying that 70% of Black women are single. I am sure you would put that in perspective as well. You might have told us that many of those women are busy in school and in their careers and simply have not made the decision to marry.

You would tell us that a huge percentage of new businesses are being started by Black women. So many of us are just too busy to be in a relationship.

You would remind us that some Black women are lesbians whose unions are not recognized. Also you would remind us that a little over 50% of all American women are single.

Yes perspective is a wonderful thing.

You would remind us that everything we hear isn't as it is told to us. That we should examine more closely the messengers of all of these dismal figures about us.

I think I have taken up more than enough of your time. I just wanted to check in with you and let you know how much I appreciate all that you have done for us.

I wanted to tell you that we dearly miss you. I also wanted to let you know that many of us are still fighting.

And that despite what you may have heard we still have our eyes on the prize.


Thanks,

MDC





What would you like to tell Dr King?


22 comments:

lisa said...

What a cool way to celebrate Dr. King's birthday! I guess I would thank him for his sacrifice. . . what greater love that a man have for his friend that he lays down his life. . .

Miriam said...

MDC, you said it all. And perfectly!

justjudith said...

i would mostly say thank you. and you are so right -- we need a positive perspective more than anything. people have misconstrued the message and i think it comes out as just be nice to black people. when the message was be fair to all people. great post.

New Black Woman said...

That was poignant. I would tell Dr. King to also give us some perspective on what the statistics say about the "state" of our "black community."

Too often, the mainstream media is so quick to point out the "faults" about the state of the black community. They rarely give us an idea of the state of the "white community."

About the 70% of black women not marrying, I would put that into perspective and say that, in general, black women are not encouraged to marry early by their families like white women are.

Generally speaking, black women are encouraged to go to school, get a good education, find a decent paying job and then find a husband.

At least that's what my parents told me:-)

Villager said...

MDC --> I am proud to be a regular visitor to your blog. You are a remarkable sister and this is one of the most powerful posts that I've ever read in cyberspace.

Very well said!

Happy MLK Day, Villager

Jewells said...

Nice letter. We always hear about AA statisitics, but seldom do we hear of the rest.

Bohemian Hippie Chick said...

I would thank Dr. King for being a fearless leader and a great man.

Excellent post!

Symphony said...

Beautiful letter MDC.

I would tell him that I have a bit more understanding of his struggles. He dealt not only with the "outside" but battles from within the community.

I see how exhausting it is to fight for a cause when people think any way that deviates from their way is seen as opposition not as an additional resource or avenue.

And I would tell him thank you, that I will not let his death be in vain. I will teach my son to live his life accordingly. And I will try and make others feel the same sense of responsibility in their own lives.

Baby Please said...

Great post, Mes Deux:

"Your life and your legacy embraces non-violence. I'm sorry there's so much black on black male murder within our community. They don't know they are princes. And they don't have dreams."

"You would be pleased -- overjoyed, really, to know how wonderfully you're being honored right at this very moment; and you would be happy to hear some of our youth on the path to greatness who are so eloquently celebrating your life and your dream."

Anali said...

Thank you MDC! This is a wonderful post! Although there is much more for us to accomplish as African-Americans, we have to celebrate the good stuff too! I love that you have created a positive space here, where we can talk about both.

Don said...

*applause*

I don't have too much to add after your touching words. I agree, the perspective is lost. Been lost. And it doesn't seem as if it will be found before this generation pass away. Maybe, if we...

Wait, who I am fooling. We aint gon' do nothing.

I would like to tell Dr. King that one of the men on the balcony may have played a horrible part in his murder. Guess who?

Tami said...

I don't know what I would say to Dr. King, but I would like to tell you that this post is magnificent and poetic--a wonderful MLK tribute.

Great job, MDC!

jose said...

well said. i don't even know where to start with this letter. then again, we can only hypothesize as to what he would have said. after all, many of his "friends" were calling him crazy by the end of his years, especially after the dream speech. food for thought ...

CapCity said...

Hi MDC - came by at Anali's suggestion:-)...great post. I, too would THANK Dr. King. I'm sure his leadership would have continued to be ACTIVE & Hand's ON - none of this sitting around PASSIVELY watching TV, computers & video monitors;-). The media tells us what they want us to believe and statistics are INDEED skewed to "prove" desired results. ...there's no "theory" only the conspiracy....

Danielle said...

I would like to tell Dr. King thank you. I also want to tell him that we haven't all given up the fight. I realize that injustice still exists and that I will be a part of the solution and not the problem.

jjbrock said...

I would tell Dr. King that I am sorry we as a people are not holding up our end of the dream. And I would thank him for giving so much. Another great post.

The First Domino said...

Thanks for this letter to the Conscience of America (MLK).

And thanks for reminding us that "perspective" creates "perception."

I would tell Dr. King that his vision of a transformed America was indeed based in reality, and not just a pipe dream.

That those he entrusted the Dream to have stumbled occasionally, but that it's still alive in our hearts, if not always visible in our hopes, our words, or our deeds.

That the "heartlessness" and "brainlessness" and "cowardice" of the American system is slowly, but inextricably, becoming a lion of evolutionary courage, a tin man of deep reflection, and a straw man that is discovering a heart that it never knew it had.

And that we're all coming to know that the Dream was not meant for blacks alone (that we all have an opportunity to make the Dream a reality), but was intended as much for whites as it was for us.

And that as we celebrate your birthday, we mustn't forget that the Dream and the Dreamer are one.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Lisa,

"what greater love that a man have for his friend that he lays down his life. . ."

That says it all

_____________________________________

Miriam,

Thanks
___________________________________

NBW,

That's true, the reasons why are needed as much as raw numbers.
___________________________________

Villager,

Wow thank you so much for your kind words.
___________________________________

Jewells,

So true. I think that is slowly changing thanks to blogs.
___________________________________

BHC,

He was certainly fearless. It's amazing that he foretold his own death the night before in Memphis.
___________________________________

Symphony,

"He dealt not only with the "outside" but battles from within the community."

Those are the hardest battles.
___________________________________

Baby Please,

"You would be happy to hear some of our youth on the path to greatness who are so eloquently celebrating your life and your dream."

That's true; those are the kids that we sometimes forget about.
___________________________________

Anali,

Thanks, that's really what I aim for. I know that we need to discuss serious issues but we shouldn't forget the good things.
___________________________________

Don,

Who?
___________________________________

Tami,

Thanks!
___________________________________

Jose,

There are always people in a group that can't see the big picture.

I think that some people could not understand Dr King's new focus on poverty near the end.
___________________________________

CapCity,

I agree about the conspiracy. I think that it's working to. So many people blindly believe whatever is said about us.
___________________________________

Danielle,

That is true; there are so many people who are still fighting the good fight.
___________________________________

JJ B,

I think some of us are doing really well, but you are right that some are not trying very hard.
___________________________________

The First Domino,

"his vision of a transformed America was indeed based in reality, and not just a pipe dream."

I agree, some would like it to be just a pipe dream but things are changing.
___________________________________
___________________________________

Mes Deux Cents said...

_____________________________________
_____________________________________

Jackie said...

Dear Dr. King,

My friend gave you her Two Cents today, and I must say, her words are priceless.

I can only add that I often wonder what you would think if you were here today. I'm sure you'd be inspired by the sheer number of African Americans in the US Congress and in the State Houses and the number of mayors and governors. I'm sure you'd marvel at the number of Black quarterbacks and coaches leading college and professional teams. I know you'd be proud and aware of every inch of progress.

I wish you were here to advise the young Black man who has a real chance to be president.

Yes, I also miss your perspective. I wish you were here to go on Meet the Press and MSNBC and CNN and FOX and speak with such clarity the foolish political pundits are left stuttering and silent.

I wish you were here in this world of ever increasing technical connections, to put in perspective the dangers of disconnection with each other. I know your words could reach educators about the importance of including the humanities in schools. That this is human connection. That it's not testing children need, but appreciation for human endeavors. I know you could reach parents and kids and the nation on this and so many issues. I miss you, Happy Birthday!


January 21, 2008 3:47 AM

___________________________________


Jackie,

Wouldn't be absolutly amazing to have Dr. King on all of those shows on Fox and on the Sunday morning news shows!


P.S. You posted this on the post below so I moved it for you.

browngirl said...

well said, MDC, well said. like everyone else, i'd thank him for his following through his calling without faltering and apologize for those who take for granted his and countless others laborious efforts so that we would have access to better educations, housing, etc.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

that i wish he had never dies, let alone in my city. my mom say they took him to her hospital in a wonder bred truck

Mes Deux Cents said...

Browngirl,

I think he would be amazed at the educational opportunities we have now.

_____________________________________

Torrance,

Wow, that is the first time I have eve heard anyone even mention what happened to Dr King after the shooting. All the stories end at the hotel.

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About Me

West Coast, United States
African American, Poet?, Vegetarian, Music lover, Agoraphobic, Social Phobic

My Favorite Poet

My Favorite Poet
Staceyann Chin

My Favorite Track Athlete

My Favorite Track Athlete
Christine Arron