Today is an important day, the national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. As a financial guy, I paused and wondered how far African Americans have come financially since the 1960’s.
This afternoon I caught part of the NPR interview of Clarence B. Jones, African American lawyer who helped draft the “I have a dream” speech. He was asked how far we have come since 1963 and where we are on race in America today.
Toward the end of the interview, he commented regarding economic inequalities that linger today. He said, “you would have to be deaf dumb and blind to say extraordinary progress hasn’t been made.” However, our country hasn’t had sufficient reconciliation since slavery in many institutions today, and we are still suffering the consequence of it today. Slavery was so searing and deep into national fiber that there is still inequality in incomes, and although they have come a long way, the glass is half full and there is still a long way to go until the glass is full. Mr. Jones was troubled by the high rate of HIV, out of wedlock pregnancy and violence of African Americans. He challenged African American leaders to say those things aren’t because of what the white man did to us, but what we are doing to ourselves and what we are failing to take advantage of.
Listening to the interview, I found the discussion very thought-provoking and challenging, and as a white man I’m left wondering how I could help African Americans achieve their dreams.