Thoughts on MLK Day

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’d be lying if I said I had anything deep or profound to say about the holiday celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. I can say that it was observed and even commented upon. I caught a bit of, but didn’t watch Oprah’s show about Roots, since the OWN station was being watched by our parents in the living room.

That reminded me that I had, a few years back, met Levar Burton (who portrayed Kunta Kinte), which was an interesting experience. I commented upon this, as I think my parents might not have remembered when I’d mentioned it shortly after returning home. It had been at a play he was a member of (I can’t recall if he’d produced it as well). He’d invited twitter followers, and even rented a restaurant out for a bit of a meet and greet dinner afterwards. Now that I think about it, while there were some of us who were basically fans there, I met a few people who had clearly been friends for a long time, even back to the days of Roots. It was definitely a diverse crowd. I heard a few stories from some who had been part of casts and crew on multiple productions.

The stories kind of faded since they’re the kind you might expect from people who enjoy working together. One thing’s for sure, he’s a warm and friendly person, and I’m glad I met even a single person involved in something that had an impact and is part of our heritage. Before he was the host of Reading Rainbow and Geordi LaForge, he was Kunta.

My younger brother did share his feelings on this with our parents, in a bit of an effort to influence a deeply ingrained thought pattern folks of their generation can seem “stuck” in, and I tend to agree. It’s this: we’re all people, not the separate races. If you just stop labeling and say “that man”, “that woman”, instead of “that black man”, and the like, it can go a long way towards continuing progress. I didn’t say anything, but kind of grunted affirmatively at the time. Of course, even then I remembered hearing a bit related to this on a recent Startalk podcast episode (with Sir David Attenborough as guest). In it, Sir David made the basic, but important point that, from a naturalist point-of-view, it’s just that simple, if there’s a birth as a result of mating between humans of any distinct racial background, the result is always human. Not some alien species, but homo sapiens. It’s just that simple.

I don’t usually think too deeply about this particular holiday because every day, the results, progress, and things that still need to be done are seen every day as I go about my daily business, but I might revisit this in time

prompted via Daily Post – 1.19.2015 – Daily Writing – Desk Community.