I am a millennial. Martin Luther King Jr. died twenty years before my generation even began. His impact wasn’t something I, or anyone my age, knew firsthand. We didn’t experience it for ourselves. And where I grew up, it wasn’t discussed much.
Growing up I learned about Martin Luther a German friar who nailed 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Castle church. I attended a predominantly white private Christian school that didn’t really elaborate on why we observed the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. As a child I was really just happy to have a day where I didn’t have to attend school. It wasn’t until January 15, 2005, the birth date of my firstborn, that I became overwhelmingly curious about the holiday that I had previously always confused with a white man, Martin Luther.
January 15 is a Federal American holiday where we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. and what he did for the American Civil Rights movement. January 15 isn’t just a black history day. It is a day that should be important and observed by all Americans. To reflect on friendship, peace and love to our neighbors of all races and ethnic groups.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a black man who was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a husband, father, Baptist minister, peaceful protester and activist for the Civil Rights Movement. MLK was a pioneer behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington. He helped spring into action the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
All Lives Matter, Regardless of Race
With this information in mind, it’s easy to consider him just an advocate for black rights. But his vision and mission were so much more than that. So, why is it important for white parents to talk to their children about MLK? Why is it important for white children to know about race wars and Civil Rights?
Because racism still exists. It still exists in our schools and in our communities.
My daughter told me that last year at her middle school a white child was throwing food in the cafeteria and a black boy tried to stop him. The black child was expelled. She also has come to me on two separate occasions on which a black female was bullying her.
I have seen racism in the south against black and white people alike. It is so sad that in 2016 some people cannot move past the color of someone else’s skin. In my opinion, the hashtags #blacklivesmatter and #whitelivesmatter further the gap by once again singling out skin color rather than addressing the action at hand.
ALL LIVES MATTER.
I will not teach my children to be colorblind. The color of one’s skin, our diversity and heritage, is something to be celebrated. We are different and look different for a reason. Diversity is important. I want your child to be proud of their black, brown or yellow skin and I want my child to be proud of their white skin.
Dylann Roof is real. He isn’t just a white, blond haired boy who walked into an Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC and murdered 9 black people during a mid-week prayer service. Dylann Roof sits next to your son in high school Chemisty, she plays soccer with your middle school child, he went to your son’s 4th grade birthday sleepover.
I am not trying to “fear-monger” but every human being has the capability to do evil.
Education is Key
We all know someone who could become a Dylann Roof. We have to educate and train our children that racism is wrong whether it be black, white, yellow, etc. It is our job as parents to teach our children what is right and what is wrong. Mama, you need to teach your children love and respect.
We need to educate our young ones on the struggle and fight that the black people in this country overcame for the rights that they have — the rights that they are entitled to because they are human beings.
But it doesn’t end with race.
The Confederate Flag Hurts
Confederate flags exist. I live in the rural south and I see when I drive down the street. Daily. It is in my children’s face every day. We see jacked up trucks with huge Confederate flags on every trip to the grocery store. In my opinion, it’s a shame. What the flag stands for hurts so many people. They might see heritage, but I see hate.
My personal dream would be a world where all lives matter. Where children of all races and ethnic groups are raised with respect for their elders, their country and themselves.