Sunday, January 17, 2010

Is Your Dream the Same Dream as His



I have a dream that my 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.

I have a dream today.

Although those words were spoken so many years ago, they still ring true.

I was born in 1963, when segregation still existed but I rarely remember it as my parents would. My parents taught me to love me for who I am. Not to wish that I was someone that I wasn't and to love all mankind. Yet, when I was old enough, I didn't understand why all mankind didn't love me back.

While walking from the school bus stop, a group of white kids opened a fire hydrant and sprayed my sister and I, yelling the N word. I remember how my sister and I walked home, drenched and feeling defeated.

I also remember a time where on a field trip to a school classmate's ranch, the mother asked her daughter to tell my sister and I to sit on the floor. She didn't want us sitting on the couch with the rest of the kids in our class.

To this day, tears well up in my eyes when I think of how it felt to encounter skin heads in a public library who did their best to humiliate me because of the color of my skin. It was by God's grace that I made it home safely that night.

Yet, in spite of those memories imprisoning me, I have hope. I have a dream that my grandkids will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. You see, you may not agree, but one of my daughters is married to a Caucasian guy and the other is seriously dating a Caucasian guy. In time, I WILL have grandchildren. (If they choose that path one day.) I want to know that gone are the days where they will not be given the opportunity to show their abilities, their gifts and talents. That they will be embraced not because of their race but because of who they are as human beings.

I celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. because not only did he take the road less traveled but he encouraged others in the face of fear to also go down that same road.

To keep that torch burning, we all have to do our parts. As parents, we have to encourage our children to love and respect everyone, regardless of the hue of their skin.

We have to teach them that we are ALL precious in His sight.

More than anything, if your relatives or in laws are racists, make a point to teach your kids that we all bleed the same. Hatred and racism is a disease that will eat from the inside out. It will leave no one untouched that carries the disease. Tell your kids, "It doesn't matter what color we are on the outside, that it's what inside that counts."

I have a dream.

Do you?

For another thought provoking blog, please visit Christella's blog. She has lived through the civil rights movement and in her positive outlook, she showers all who read her blog with blessings.

22 comments:

Christella said...

Thanks, CCD. Yes, we have lived through a lot. Many didn't survive but with God's grace, we did.

Sorry you had some humiliating experiences, also, which can effect you the rest of your life.

Stay strong and continue your wonderful writing. You have a lot of talent.

ethelmaepotter! said...

My dream is the same as your dream; the same as Dr. King's dream.
While I am white, believe it or not, I went through some of the same discrimination that you and your sister did. My father marched with Dr. King, and in fact, the whole family went on several freedom marches (inspired, but not led, by Dr. King.) My father insisted, when we moved to a small racially segregated town in the 60's, that we "break the barrier," and live, shop, and go to school on the "black side" of town. We had rocks and slurs thrown at us by other white kids, a cross burned in our front yard. In junior high, I, as the oldest, understood the hatred and why we were shunned, but I'm afraid my younger siblings suffered.
Today is merely a "day off from work or school" for most people in this country, I'm afraid. How many will actually stop and reflect upon the dream of a man who tried to change our nation?

Mari said...

I read this and the comments and have a hard time imagining you and others going through what you did. I also read Christella's blog and found it very interesting.
I'm glad things have improved from that time, but I also know that we're not there yet! I think that things like blogs are another way of helping bring us all together, and realize that we are so much more alike than different!

sherry ♥ lee said...

Simone this was so poignant and so beautifully written.

My heart aches that you and your sister were subjected to hatred and ignorance; I hate that it still exists in this world and I have seen it first hand. It sickens me that people can be so blind.

Growing up in Canada this was not an issue as it was in the United States. Our histories are different and we were a destination on the underground railroad of which we are proud.

That does not mean that racism does not exist in Canada -- it does, as it does anywhere in the world where ignorance lives.

As a child I never thought about skin colour -- my friends were just my friends because of "who" they were. One of my dearest friends is married to a Caucasian girl and they have 2 beautiful daughters and having seen what he has endured at times in his life it makes me stronger in my belief that we will overcome this.

And your most poignant line to me in your post was this:

"We have to teach them that we are ALL precious in His sight."

Yes. ♥

My name is PJ. said...

You bet your life I do!

Amen to that, Simone! Great post!

blueviolet said...

Yes I do have a dream! That brought tears to my eyes to hear what you experienced.

Ina in Alaska said...

Very powerful post and painful memories. Nothing can take them away. I wish I could give you a hug....I hope and pray that our world is getting better for all races and nationalities. We do indeed all bleed the same. Thank you Dr. King for your sacrifice and courage. You have indeed turned the course of hatred and prejudice. We have come a long way but there is still much room for improvement.

~SHANNON~ said...

My heart aches for those memories you have, and for all the children that even today have those experiences. May we all take this day to remember how important it is to teach children the equal worth of all human beings....

wonderful post!

Ace said...

I'm a year younger than you and I grew up in a small, totally white, northern town (it's still the same today). There was no opportunity to learn hate from anyone. It was a non-issue in my world so I grew up accepting everyone and I hope I've passed that on to my kids. Everyone of every race and nationality has always been welcome in my home....and on my sofa.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

I always think of the words of Bob Marley: "Until the color of a man's skin has no more significance than the color of his eyes..."

Another beautiful post, Simone!

Erin said...

What an incredible post. It gave me chills. I know it's not the same and I can't imagine how you feel, but I am Jewish and have experienced a lot of bigotry and prejudice in my lifetime, too. And it never ceases to amaze me how cruel kids can be--even when they have no clue how hurtful their words are, etc...

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suzicate said...

Lovely post.I'm sorry you've had to endure such things in life. I also was born in 1963, and started firsst grade with the first desegregated class in our school system, and there was still much predjudice in the community. I am thankful that my children have grwon up in a more accepting environment. Unfortunately, it has taken (and we're not there yet) a long time to get to equality...and unfortunately most of us are judged daily from our skin color, education(or lack of),demographics, and even how one dresses. We need more acceptance of others.

Deidra said...

Let's keep on dreaming, my friend!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Beautifully said CCD! Thank you.

My heart breaks when I think of what you've endured.

My dreams are many and they start with all people being equal and for all the hate of the words to disappear.

xoxox

Multiple personalities.. said...

Oh you are so right! It's so important to teach our kids the value of loving one another based on the quality of our characters and hearts, not the color of our skin. A truly beautiful post for a day when we celebrate a truly a great man. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

lagirl/sweet tea said...

Thank you for giving even more insight into the racial issues that still haunt many people today. I pray this is the last generation to encounter such prejudice. God bless you, Simone!

Kwana said...

Such a beautiful post and thank you for sharing your very hard memories. I too have that dream. It's getting closer so much closer to coming true.

Helene said...

This is such a beautifully written post. I was watching GMA this morning and they were showing some African-American children making speeches that were amazing.

One little boy said something to the effect of, "MLK talked about knocking on the door of opportunity. Well, I'm not just gonna knock on that door, I'm gonna kick that door down". It was so powerful!!!

It would be wonderful if the entire world could have the same dream as MLK...it would certainly make for a happier, more peaceful place.

Nezzy said...

Great post Simone! Yes, the dream that everyone would just wake up to the fact that no matter the color of our skin, the language we speak or the customs we hang on to that we are all brothers and sisters in this big old world of ours. That said, we should act like we are all family. I do think we've come a long way baby but there are those who like to ripple the waters.

Have a super day my sister!!!

Carla said...

I loved this post. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers, white and black, did a lot of us today. While there is still so much that needs to be done, He granted us a monumental starting point.

Suz said...

Simone -

Your post is wonderful and touching.

My dream is like yours. That all will be accepted for who they are inside and not what they look like on the outside.

I am sorry for your experiences as a child. It forms who we are and who we trust.

As the lyrics of a song from the movei South Pacific say "You've got to be taught to hate and fear. It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear. You've got to be carefully taught."

I am so glad my parents taught us to respect everyone and to treat all as equals.

 

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