Editorial: MLK’s Dream is Far From Realized

As pleasant as it may have been to enjoy a renewed sense of American exceptionalism on MLK/Inauguration day, as we re-swore in our first black president and listened to the impressive timbre of Beyonce’s pre-recorded voice, and marched in joyful celebration of the partial realization of Dr. King’s “dream,” all the fanfare is distracting from real, 21st century racial inequality.

King’s activism in the sixties is still relevant because there is so much work still to be done, but he didn’t leave us with a blue print for how to deal with the subtler but no less insidious racism of the 21st century. In honor of the week’s celebrations, the Seattle Times editorial pages commented on the high percentage of African-Americans who end up in court as well as Washington State’s abysmal legislative record when it comes to matters of race.

But why stop there? We can talk about the achievement gap, or racial profiling and harassment by law enforcement. And let’s not forget this is not a black and white issue anymore, if it ever was. The growing Hispanic population has its own set of concerns and is arguably just as—if not more—underserved than African-American populations.

The New York Times suggested in a review of ABC’s hit show “Scandal,” that we may live in an era of “post racial television,” and that may be the case, but if we do it’s because television has departed from reality, not because life on the ground is anything like post racial.