Bates College Hosts MLK, Jr. Day’s Activities
This is the day (January 16) our nation set aside a holiday to celebrate and lift in respect, the memory & legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Bates College, in Lewiston, Maine, hosted a keynote speech (given by Professor Kahlil Gibran Muhammed) as well as many break-out workshops. The theme of the day was Reparations: Addressing Racial Injustices.
The call for reparations to African-Americans, descended from slaves, in their relationship to their owners & slave identity, has gained more & more momentum & critical attention has now aided the call for reparations; reparations, however, to be sustainable must be founded on a new declaration of race in our culture, a new conversation, a new language, a new social consciousness; in other words, the completion of the Oppressor-&-the Oppressed experiment. So, education about slavery and issues surrounding it, is the firm base that everything will rest upon, including reparations.
In his keynote presentation, Professor & author, Kahlil Gibran Muhammed, he noted that those who support reparations must be intentional about reparations for it to be efficacious & meaningful to those whom it might benefit, as well as legislators.
Dr. Muhammed observed that what is presently needed in our culture, in terms of righting the social justice & criminal justice worlds, is for Americans to move into a new threshold. Dr. King, said Dr. Muhammed, was passionate about racism being a type of “cultural homicide.” We don’t need DOA.
Later, in his talk, Muhammed emphasized how President Obama received the baton from MLK, Jr. Perhaps this was one of Obama’s central, political axioms: America has always been about seeing ourselves as one nation, from many, diverse lands all over this planet. One common understanding of our “oneness” is that when push comes to shove, we’d give our lives for our brothers & sisters. We have many, unspoken & spoken American values that we could agree to hold these all with respect.
Hearing some of the above comments, some white folks would respond, “Well, none of my ancestors owned slaves.” This statement is as incongruous as building an outside brick barbeque, and you tell your buddy, “Well, we’re all set to go. Did you see all the bricks?” “Yes, I did, but that’s all that’s over there, no sand, no tools, no iron for the grill—nothing but bricks!”
White people are often completely unaware about their privilege, as white people, in our nation. So, this is all about education. First, we need accurate, and not skewed information & knowledge, about racism, and every other “ism” you could think of.
©Christopher Bear-Beam January 16, 2017