It’s been 50 years since civil rights leaders gathered for the March On Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his seminal “I Have A Dream” speech. Since then, rampant racism has receded (at least until recently), Black folks have made great strides in every facet of life, and for the first time ever there is a Black family in the White House.
Despite our immense progress, African Americans continue to face great odds. Disparities in income, education, health outcomes, and crime continue to plague Black communities, and many are wondering if we have really achieved Dr. King’s infamous dream of racial equality.
While leaders reconvene on the Washington Mall to mark the occasion, it’s important that we continue to brainstorm ideas and implement solutions that will move us closer to equality.
Though many argue we should “confront racism,” writer and cultural critic John McWhorter says Black folks should have a three-pronged plan of attack.
Today’s struggle should focus on three priorities. First, the war on drugs, a policy that unnecessarily tears apart black families and neighborhoods. Second, community colleges and vocational education, which are invaluable in helping black Americans get ahead. And third, the AIDS and obesity epidemics, which are ravaging black communities.
The only reason why ideas like “institutional racism” and “a conversation about race” seem more compelling is because they are more morally dramatic. Drama is not what will make a difference in black lives.
As we look to the future, let’s discuss what still needs to be done and how can we work to achieve it.