The 30th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has passed, and once again it was celebrated with sheer mediocrity. The day has become one of the few times a year that everyone must acknowledge what Civil Rights leaders accomplished in terms of protecting African-American freedom. On this day, a variety of memes formed, many of them portraying multi-racial friend groups accomplishing average tasks with captions that read, “MLK died for this.” But what did Dr. King truly die for?
To say he died for anything is subjective in a sense that he was murdered by the same systematic oppression he fought against. All we are left with is a legacy outshined with quotes about peace and colorblindness that essentially does not exist today in the way we want to believe it does.
It is noted that race is an extremely uncomfortable topic to discuss, and most would rather enjoy the day off from school or work; however, in order to truly test the legacy of Dr. King and all the other brave souls who fought for freedom, we must analyze race relations in today’s society. With that being said, race should not be an uncomfortable thing to discuss. That is what MLK died for.
Still, there is a distinctive divide that haunts our campus here at the University of West Georgia. This is not to say there has not been considerable effort to resolve these issues; however, there is a discussion about race we should be having as a campus that will give rise to the positive change many wish to see.
We must overcome this fear associated with discussions about race that makes it controversial to even comment on the relationship in simple places like a college campus or a classroom. We must veer away from being afraid of offending someone and focus more on why these comments are offensive.
This will develop a conversation that will confront race relations with an open mind. We must work to integrate our community and provide a safe space for all students on campus. This will, in turn, unify student organizations and help the campus community work to better understand diversity.
Is our campus truly colorblind, and is that what we want as a community? Do not ignore the heritage, but instead, work to better understand it. Let us begin to have this conversation that will evoke harmony and not stagnate productivity. During a time where there is injustice devouring our nation, let us set an example on how to do it the right way.