I've been thinking a lot about Martin Luther King lately, and despite the great strides he took towards equality, to me something has always seemed wrong about his "I have a dream" speech. This is the bit that troubles me:
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.
So, prior to his speech, people of color were routinely not allowed at lunch counters, they had separate seating on transport, they couldn't get jobs, etc. This is clearly not right. It is wrong that they were treated this way -- but not just because of a disparity of skin color. I believe that people shouldn't be discriminated against for any reason, not just the color of their skin.
The way Martin Luther King would have it, it'd be wrong to judge based on skin color, but it would be just fine to do so based on 'content of character.' This dream vision world he spoke of in his historic address would not allow for 'coloreds only' water fountains, but it would allow for -- require even -- separate water fountains for assholes. Sure, he specifically said "judge," not "discriminate," but he was using them in a synonymous fashion and I submit that they're pretty much the same, anyway; you can't discriminate against someone without judging them first.
In a world where Dr. King's dreams were to have actually come to pass, the following statements would be commonplace:
"Hey there, 'dick.' What are you doing up here? Dontchoo know that 'dicks' have to sit in the back of the bus?"
"We don't serve your kind here, 'complainer.'"
"This isn't your restroom... the 'pussy' restroom is over there."
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of equality, I just don't think his vision leaves our world in any better position than it was all those troubled years ago. Luckily, I think I'm the only person who took his words literally enough to postulate what such a future might look like, ensuring that the beneficial parts of his argument were heeded and now commonly-held beliefs.
I just wish he'd had the forethought to think through what he was arguing for.
So by now I'm sure that everyone knows that Rosa Parks passed away. She was a pretty amazing woman.
Now, I don't want to belittle all that she did to make this country a better place, but I think it would have been hilarious had she died in a bus crash -- a crash where only the people in the front were killed.