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Monday, January 17, 2011

Under pressure to honor Dr. King


It's 3:59am on January 17 and I'm sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop, feeling significant -- albeit self-imposed -- pressure to write something both eloquent and politically correct for the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

I've googled MLK quotations, hoping for something to spark. I've considered and rejected probably a dozen ideas.

I considered writing about Ruby Bridges, the little black girl from New Orleans who was escorted to school by federal marshals in the 1960s when schools were forced to integrate, and how her story fascinates me.

I gave some thought to writing about my long-lost and black friend Michael Burdett, who I went to high school with and who I last knew to be a teacher in Cincinnati, but who is nowhere to be found on Facebook or my google searches. I worry that the use of the word "black" might be offensive, but think that "African-American" feels a little too PC.

Writing about how I was fearful for Robbie to go to an inner-city school for a march and Mass honoring Dr. King seems a.) that it might make me seem prejudiced and b.) pointless, considering the event happened on Friday and went well, other than Robbie's determination that it was the most boring field trip ever. Who goes to church on a field trip?

I considered putting off posting until tonight so I could attend a lecture on campus by Minniejean Brown Trickey, one of the Little Rock Nine who desegregated Central High School in 1957. But I'd have to miss Annie's volleyball game to attend, so I'm not sure about that.

I thought of writing about how it seems that Latino might be the new black, but rejected the idea because I'm not really scholarly enough to write about it intelligently.

I considered posting the video of Charlie reading Robert F. Kennedy's speech in Indianapolis on the occasion of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death.

Alas, nothing seems to fit what I'm feeling I should put out there. A great man deserves a great post. King once said "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Perhaps I am too rooted in comfort and convenience and that's why I've struggled with what to say on this day. But I suppose if even one of the ideas I put out there has made you stop and think for a moment about Dr. King and his legacy, then maybe I have done my part to honor him.


Stacy said...

I think this was a great post. Sometimes what you don't say, says a lot. You also showed very well, the strain that continues today no matter how well-intentioned we are.

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