Today I’m sitting around watching the coverage of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and I’m spellbound by it. I can’t stop watching and I have shed tears a few times already in the past few hours.
Fifty years ago is not that long friends. I’m fifteen years away from living for fifty years, and to think that fifty years ago there was still so much segregation in our country is a hard pill for me to swallow.
Martin Luther King Jr delivered his most famous speech that day, “I have a dream” and to this day we can all still quote the most famous line from that speech: “I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers”
These words mean so much more to me these days than they ever have before. You see, as a mom to black children, I now get to walk next to them as they journey through this world that still has issues with race. I don’t get to walk in their shoes, because I’m still white, but I do get to hold their hand the whole way through as they walk in their own shoes.
I believe that our world has come so far since 1963, but I still suggest that we have so far to go as well. I’m devoted to my children to make sure that they are treated equally in their world in spite of their color. My children will all hold hands walking through this world together as white and black brothers and sisters.
My favorite line from Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech says, “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.” Isn’t this a dream that we have for all of our children, whether they are white, black or brown. We want our children to be judged by their character and not the color of their skin. I pray this for our country, that we can begin to judge people by their character and not their outward looks, or their religion, or sexual orientation.
Last February Deacon was telling me what he had learned about Martin Luther King, Jr at school during Black History Month. He began to talk about how if it had not been for MLK that himself, Amos, Story and Mommy would all be slaves working for Daddy and Cayden. He was completely serious and I was stumped in what to say to this child. He thinks his mom is black and she’s not. Do I go along with it so I’m more relatable to him, or do I tell him that he has a white mom and burst his bubble about us being the same?
I kept nodding and listened to him tell more about what he was learning and I never corrected him. I let my child think that we are the same, and I’m not sure if I did the right thing or the wrong thing in that moment, but for a split second I felt the harsh reality of what my son was saying and I was broken.
You see, I can never relate to my black children in this area. As much as I try, I’m always white and with that I get certain privileges that I never asked for, but are just given to me. My black children aren’t give these. I know in time Deacon will get that his mom just gets really tan in the summer because she’s American Indian, and she’s not black at all, but for that one second in time I got to relate to my son in that area and honestly that will probably never happen again.
I want to raise my children to be strong adults that judge others by their character only and are only judged by their character. We can do this parents. We can do this. We can march forward together, linking hands with those around us and we can raise children that love each other no matter what the outside looks like. Let’s remember the words of Dr. King as he says, “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”