Dreams and Kings and Other Things

I have lived my entire life in the South. I was not quite a year old when the March on Selma took place. I’ve seen Klansmen in their robes riding in the backs of trucks, waving their flags, in broad daylight. I remember a time when white people threw around the N-word without first looking around to see who would hear them.

The 60’s were a turbulent time in my part of the world, and it was turbulent in my little developing mind. I was at church every Sunday, where I was taught the words of Jesus, then watched how those words were twisted around to justify the injustice all around me.

In the 50 years I’ve been on this planet, I have seen some things change for the better, but some things are the same shitty gifts wrapped up in different packages.

As a white woman “of a certain age” (that’s what you call a woman who’s old if you don’t want to piss her off), I have learned much from the words of Dr. King. He continues to challenge me to be my best self in all that I do. He encourages me to be upset at what I see, but instead of drowning in anger, to use love to make this world a better place. And, above all, to always move forward.

This is a short list of dreams that I have for America and the world, as I trudge this road to Happy Destiny:

I have a dream that one day white people will no longer believe the lie that poor plus black equals “up to no good.” Black people shouldn’t be thought of as “out to get something for nothing.” Hell, we ALL want something for nothing. If we didn’t, sales and coupons wouldn’t be such a big part of doing business. What are you REALLY pissed off about? Afraid you might not get something for free that somebody else did? I guess then that Jesus didn’t mean you when he was talking about how to conduct oneself in Matthew 6.

I have a dream that, one day, segregation will be a thing of the past. We thought that once segregation wasn’t the unwritten law of the land, the races would intermingle. That hasn’t happened. Drive through most any town around here and you’ll see that most whites live close to each other and most blacks live close to each other. Schools remain segregated, because kids go to the school closest to them. Churches are still segregated. And we still have incidents like this one that happened to Ms. Terry Turner of Limestone County, Alabama. So what changed?

Photo: WHNT.com
This happened this past New Year’s Eve in the Bethel community in Limestone County, AL. (Photo: WHNT.com)

I have a dream that one day we will get over our obsession with sagging pants. Young kids wear pants too large with the waist down below their butt cheeks, then have trouble walking because they can’t keep their pants up. Meanwhile, the “responsible adult” contingency gets all up at arms about how vile a practice this is. Look, I think it’s a ridiculous way to dress, but is it really hurting anybody? No? Then shut up already. The surest way to see the practice continue is to keep harping about it.

I have a dream that one day we will have a government that is run by a diverse group of politicians, not just old white men. To be sure, we do have more women now than before, but some of them are Lurleen B. Wallaces– female faces promoting old white guy policies.

I have a dream that one day we will quit acting out of hatred built on fear, and act out of love. I was an angry kid, and I wanted to “fight the good fight” and “win the war” on injustice. Silly me. Any first year physics student knows Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. To say I am fighting a war means I have identified those who think differently from me as enemies, and that one of us will eventually lose. But love has no losers. When we love one another, we all win. It’s difficult to practice, and I still catch myself stirring up a good self-righteous anger at times. There’s lots of energy in anger. But it doesn’t really change anything, does it?


Will I see my dreams come to pass? I don’t know. Probably not in my lifetime. But I have seen the Promised Land, thanks to Dr. King. And while I no longer have the wings to fly, or the energy to run, I will walk until I can no more, then I will crawl, but, most importantly, I will keep moving forward.

34 thoughts on “Dreams and Kings and Other Things

  1. As to the sagging pants, does it really look any less stupid, than bell-bottoms and tie-dye? Or Zoot-suits? It is the nature of youth to find their own self expression. We did it. Our parents did it. If a kid nowadays, wants to wear big jeans and a backwards hat, we should look at him and say to ourselves, That’s me, with a lead peace sign around my neck, tire-tread sandals on my feet, and a Freewheelin’ Franklin leather hat on my head.

  2. But I will say one thing. Colorado was a very violent place, back in those days. It was the Hippies (Left) vs. the Cowboys (Right). I grew up in a war zone, and I may not have been a General, but I was certainly at least a Colonel. That being said – your part of the country scared the hell outta me! 🙂

  3. In the job you do, I’m sure that love is what sustains you, and what a strong person you must be. I despair to see people younger than me, sometimes much younger, be blatantly racist and not even realize it, or they do, and they revel in it. I loved all of King’s words, and the deepest part of his message to touch me was that it’s up to us as individuals, and not only should we be the good people we were meant to be but, despite the world around us, we can be, and by that alone we make change in the world around us.

    1. I’m with you on the kids being racist. The big thing down here now is “white genocide,” where little racists run in fear of being the last white boy standing. *shakes head sadly*

  4. Reblogged this on As I see it and commented:
    Rumpydog wrote this awesome post today in honor of the great Martin Luther King. This was so beautiful. As I read it I got that warm feeling that emanates from my heart and felt it so fully it flowed out of my eyes….hope.

  5. Girrrl…you made me cry — happy, hopeful tears. This is so beautiful I had to reblog it. Everyone in the world needs to read this. So glad you are being true to yourself — it shows brightly here! HUGS!

  6. I’m 16 years older than you, Jen. I remember watching, on my parents’ black and white TV, fire hoses & police dogs being turned on my fellow citizens. It made me angry then and there’s still a lot to be angry with now. Thank you for reminding me that Dr. King’s message was not about anger, but about love.

  7. You world is so different from where I live, a large city.
    I’ve traveled a great deal and lived in various states – 2 in deep South.
    My Grandfather stood with his 5 young sons – my dad was 6 the first time – in rural East TX holding a shot gun between 5 drunks dressed in sheets (the local “Klansmen”) and neighbor black families sheltered in the barn.
    One of my older cousins marched in Selma. She was murdered because of it.
    Done my share of marches and protests. Have come to realize there are good and bad people in each group. You just have to take it case by case.
    Change comes slow, but it does come – as long as people strive to do good and continue to move in a positive direction. (Atleast in this country an effort is being made.) And keep a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at yourself. Words are simply words – the trick is to learn a lot of them and use them effectively. Don’t bother with name calling as that’s only the product of lazy and ignorant minds.
    Keep moving onward. Easier if pants aren’t draggin the ground, but kid have to be different and rebel about something. It could be worse.
    Someday the human race may actually grow up, but meanwhile, keep movin’ on and leave the world a better place. Just keep being you.

  8. Amen. You are not alone. It’s just been a very long, hard road and we hoped that by this point in time, some things would be really different. Not just on the surface. For real. Forever. Maybe someday. I hope I live to see it.

  9. As a ‘woman of a certain age’ myself (tho I’m somewhat older than you…you sweet young thing!), your post resonated deeply with me. And while I’d probably be considered a Yankee by my geographical location, I too subscribed to Dr. King’s preachings. I still see injustice not just with Southern blacks, but more commonly in my neck of the woods, with Hispanics. Whenever a group is different from those in control, haters gonna hate. But if we continue to work, even in baby steps, I pray and hope we see this vile behavior become a part of a distant past. Here’s to the good fight, sistah…keep rocking on. Exceptional post! Thank you for putting into words things I’ve felt my whole life. 🙂 Live, love, bark! ❤

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