Today in the US is the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It has gotten me thinking about a particular line from his famous “I have a dream” speech: that people be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Since this isn’t a scholarly piece, I didn’t look it up so the line may not be exact…
We all have preconceived notions about certain things based upon when and where we grew up, our experiences, what we were taught, and just about anything else in our lives. And I expect all of us have experienced prejudice of some sort because of our sex, our size, our accent, our clothing, our color, or a bajillion other things. I’ve dealt with being a female in a predominantly male world, both in the Navy and as an engineer. As recently as this weekend, it’s been laid before me that as a woman, all I can possibly care about is the color of the item I’m looking to buy rather than the quality, the characteristics, the performance, the durability, and on and on. And as I’m getting older (shaddup, swampy) I notice that many of the elderly are treated like they’re senile, when perhaps the only issue is that they don’t hear as well as they used to.
Anyway, on this MLK Day, I have a dream that people will think before they assume. Or that they’ll assume the best rather than the worst. The whole world should be like the MMP, where if you’re here, you’re one of us. And we accept you as you are, as long as you’re not a total butt head. We may not share the same politics or movie preferences or common hobbies, but we get along. Maybe it helps that we “see” each other first as a mental image long before we see a photo or meet for real. We get to know, as much as is possible, the character of each other, unaffected by physical characteristics. And, of course, we’re just exceptionally nice here, dammit.
I have a dream, too, that common sense will prevail some day and people will grow up. Also that you’ll all send me fine chocolates… I can dream.