MLK and “The Lest of Thee”

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by Roosevelt Mitchell III, M.Ed

America wrestles with race like the country can only be viewed through a prism of the color wheel. Many democrats and conservatives takes Dr. King statement “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” to imply that he insisted on America being color-blind.

Being color blind suggests that we do not take into consideration the specific elements of each individual’s identity, yet we are supposed to view them as color-less and magically everyone will get along thus making the nation Post-racial. This notion dismisses an entire group of people thus parochializing Dr. King’s dream and vision for love and justice for everyone. He fought for working people, poor people in Appalachia, poor people deep down in the delta, red, brown, white, black and people with disabilities. So he did not only fight for color but fought class also and his dream included “the lest of thee.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted America to be love struck, not color-blind. Love struck embraces all the elements of one’s identity and along with their traits and characteristics that make them who they are. You can’t love someone if you don’t know their gender, if you don’t know their race or what their bodies look like. To be love struck is too love and embrace who they are, what they look like, and their culture and history.

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