Guestbook Archive: 2005
We all march for the same thing, to have what is ours. Now that race and colour can be put aside with our modern era, we can focus on the real source of prejudice, poverty. The source of poverty is misinformation in an information-based society. Many look in the mirror to identify with a part of society that has absolutely nothing in common with themselves. Let us get past "the man in the mirror" and move on to the child on the school bench, at least they want to know the truth.
Christopher Alan, Windsor, Ontario, Can.
I live in Australia and I am aboriginal. When I read Dr. King's timeline I was stunned at how similiar discrimination was between blacks and whites. Aboriginal children were taken from their families and forced to be white, aboriginal people were not given voting rights until 1967 and their sacred lands were taken from them. I didn't know it was this harsh in America. King had so much strength. I'm proud that racism in both of our countries is slowly diminishing.
Talila, St. Scholasticas College, Sydney, Australia
I was about 12 or 13 in my 6th-grade year of schooling when a white librarian told me, "I hate working with you niggers but as soon as another position is open I'm gonna be gone" and she proceded to say "Why did God even make colored?" I mean that's sad when you think that all racism has been put to an end but here we are still facing it. Personally I have no grudge against white people, which is why I attend their school. But I can truly say Dr. Martin Luther King has really made me a strong and proud black woman. I recently went to Atlanta to visit the historical site and church his father preached at. I also took the tour to his house where everything is still the same as he left it. I also left kisses and tears on his final resting place. I am 17 years old now.
Latoya, Hialeah-Miami Lakes Sr. High, Miami
Reading these comments about experiences with racism surprised me. I live in a mostly white suburb of San Diego, and most of my life I lived in gated communities. Recently I moved into an older neighborhood, in a much smaller house than I'm used to. My mother is German and my father is African American, which makes me mixed. In the neighborhoods where I grew up, being African American was considered being ugly. Not to mention being mixed. Even in Southern California, my parents are still discriminated against because of their relationship. Not until I got a little older did I realize the things that they went through to be together. Now I realize that being African American isn't ugly; it's just different to the kids that I grew up with. Being African American is beautiful.
Letitia, Vista, Calif.
I am fortunate to work in a diverse office, to live in a diverse neighborhood, and to attend a diverse church. Unfortunately, I live in the South, and I know that my African-American brothers and sisters are still subject to a great deal of discrimination, but I do think things are better than they were when I was a child. Discrimination is often fear of the unknown, so we need to work to know one another better. I can hide who I am, but I choose not to, and Dr. King's word help me to face homophobia just as he faced racism. I particularly like Dr. King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," and his discussion of unjust laws vs. just laws. Jesus himself broke unjust law — what better example can we have than that?
Anne, Richmond, Va.
There is still some racism between adults but not a lot between kids. At my school, there isn't a lot of racism that I hear.
Carli. Emerald Hills Elementary, Bonney Lake, Wash.
I was born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., and was 13 when Dr. King was killed. I lived in a sheltered black neighborhood during those times and was not fully aware of all the hardships afflicted upon African Americans. I probably should have said protected instead of sheltered because sheltered implies privileged, and believe me, we were poor as the next family. When Dr. King was killed, it was like I had awaken from a deep sleep and discovered a world that really didn't like me for reasons that made no sense. In those times I had to discover who I was and where I would fit in society, and I realized then I had to fight every step of the way.
From 1974 to 1978 was probably the peak of the black pride era and the Navy was redefining itself on race relations at the same time, so those were a very turbulent time for me personally. Emerging from that period of my life with the same values with which I was raised was important; so was the understanding that no matter what I did, how hard I worked; there will be those who will not recognize you for your accomplishments because of your race. In spite of that fact, I continued to live by my family values.
Accomplishments in life should not be measured by the recognition from others, but by how they stand up to the values you live by. With the experience I've received from being around and working with people from all races; visiting other countries and experiencing other cultures, I've grown considerably and that have allowed me to enjoy the friendship of people from all races.
Racial intolerance comes from ignorance and the refusal to accept or understand the differences of others. I try to greet and treat people with the respect that I believe I deserve. Today I find that most people that exhibit racial intolerance must make a conscious effort to live that way, because it is a natural function as humans to accept people as they are. My 8-year-old grandson and his classmates are a good example of that.
Terry, Virginia Beach, Va.
I see outside of the box because of him and another famous leader lateral of him at that time. The community is changing but still needs improvement. Race relations still exist and it's more stressful now because you don't know who the enemy is. In the '60s you knew.
C.M., Willingboro, N.J.
Seattle is a gray, drizzle soaked, hunk of dirt in the "Great Northwest" today. Still, on January 17, 2005 we came together to celebrate the life of a GREAT man, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sure he was human with all types of blemishes, but so is everyone. Dr. King was not perfect, yet look at what he accomplished. It wasn't just so "coloreds" could be treated like the American citizens they were born. It was so that all Americans could be decent human beings, speak to whomever they wanted, live wherever they wanted, visit whatever town they wanted — truly be free (this includes whites). All white people were and are not racist. Most PEOPLE are rude and selfish — it has nothing to do with race.
I won't give up on race relations. I won't give up on America. I won't give up on the present. I won't give up on the future. Neither should any of us. I will continue to make it my aim to live peaceably with all people and mind my own business.
My friend Ayla is black. My aunt says bad names about her. But I think, What does it matter about her skin? She's my friend.
Olivia, Turtle Bay Elementary, Redding, Calif.
I attended a Martin Luther King Jr. event today in a city park. I am a teacher, and I spoke with two young black boys seated next to me on a park bench. In between the program of speakers, singers and dancers onstage, I asked these two black youngsters if they knew who Martin Luther King Jr was, and why we were celebrating today. One boy, a 7th grader, told me Martin Luther King Jr helped to free the slaves in the 1800s. The other boy, in 10th grade, told me Marin Luther King Jr. had something to do with racism. Neither of them knew the meaning of "civil rights."
I was also disappointed that only one political party was apparently invited to speak at this event. I would have liked to see a more open platform, with invitations to all and something inspiring offered from everyone. I explained to the boys the meaning of civil rights, and what Martin Luther King Jr. did in the 1950's and 60's. The older black boy did know that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot to death. We still have a long way to go...
Susan, Naples, Fla.
Dr. King has made it possible for a teen like me to talk to whites and blacks both without causing trouble. See, I am an 8th-grader who is white and black. To this day people ask me "Are you white or black?" and people call me names and stuff but you know what, I don't care, because just like Martin Luther King said, he had a dream about little white kids and little black kids joining hands and coming together and bringing peace.
Keisha, Guion Creek Middle School, Indianapolis, Ind.
I have experiences in multicultural policing in my city in Germany, Köln. For some years I worked in a multiethnic part of the city and I support the immigration-round-table and other conferences for intercultural acceptance. As a Christian man and in remembering the history of my country, I work every day for acceptance between the different religions and people. But always I am remembering the energy and the trust, the words and the attitudes, the demonstrations and the silent words of Dr. Martin Luther King. He showed us the whole American way of democracy and human rights I always will love.
Bernward, Köln, Germany
I think schools should learn more about Martin Luther King (I live in Britain and the only American history we get is the Cold War). The sad fact is that those who most need to remember him are those most likely to forget. Plus people look at me funny when I say he's one of my favorite heroes, as I'm white, but that's life, isn't it?
He had the impact that whatever you want to do, you should be able to do, when you put your mind to it and don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it.
Patricia, West High, Wichita, Kan.
I hope that there is someone out there who can do what he did and make people see that you can solve problems peacefully.
Anisha, Leicester, England
I have experienced something about diversity. My mom says that we are not allowed to date people of a different race.
Presley, Highlands Middle School, Jacksonville, Fla.
I think that racism is wrong and I don't approve of it. I can't stand racist people. I will not date a racist guy or talk to a racist family member. I totally understand what Martin Luther King did for our country and I am thankful for it. He didn't deserve to die like that.
Santana, Carrollton High School, Carrollton, Ohio
The impact that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr had on my life: This one man inspired me to become the Alpha Phi Alpha brother that I am today. He has impressed me to speak out and not in, to let freedom of speech take control of what you have in your heart. Dr. King was such a gentle man, which I wish all African-American men would be. I thank him for taking a stand for my freedom. He has taught me how to be a man and not boy, the way he so elegantly spoke and embranced the hearts of so many people. Dr. King will always be my hero.
James, Baton Rouge, La.
I really enjoy learning about MLK! He has helped many people. I really can't wait to meet him in heaven.
Laura, Berrien Springs, Mich.
We should stop celebrating Martin Luther King's birthday. In today's America, he is irrelevant. According to the President, we are "still at war" and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. We have an attorney general who supports torturing people. We really have no use for a dedicated pacifist and staunch advocate of human rights such as Dr, King. Also, King's idea of being "judged by the content of their character" is completely old hat. We have a new Secretary of State who arrived at the position not by any character content but by sucking up to the Big One. Finally, King's hoped for "revolution of values" — placing less emphasis on material things and more on a creating a better world for humanity — is farther from taking hold now than ever. Who recognizes the holiday celebrating Dr. King anyway? Only school children and the Post Office. The corporate world grinds on to squeeze the last Wal-Mart dollar out of overburdened consumers with little thought to what King's work might have meant. It turns out the Gipper was right: he strongly opposed the holiday. Now it's time to abolish it!
David, Seattle, Wash.
Whites and blacks are very outgoing in my community. We all get along. One problem: The KKK is still out there. But you have to respect people in spite of what they believe in. Thats why MLK is famous. He used peace.
Tamala, Salibury, N.C.
I go to an all-black school basically. There are about four white people in my grade and a couple Mexicans (not to be racist). I have many white friends and a lot more black friends. All the white boys that the white girls hang out with make fun of me and ask me what color I think I am. I try to ask them nicely to stop themselves because they don't know what they're missing out on not knowing or even giving any black people a chance. (My best friend) Courtney used to get teased about hangin' with a white girl a lot from the black boys but when they get to know me I am just like a black girl with a lot of their characteristics mentally and physically. I'm not trying to be this way; it's just who I am and if other people can't accept me, the music I listen to, or the race of the boys I go out with, I don't need them because me and my true friends are strong handling that together and having my back.
Layne, Morgan Park High School, Chicago
I was a white boy growing up during the '60s in a family where my father was from West Virginia and my mother was from Pennsylvania, but growing up I NEVER herd a racial remark come out of their mouths. I was taught that everyone was equal and I always treated everyone as such. My first real love was a beautiful black girl next door to where I lived. Here it is some 40 years later and I still remember her. Today I am engaged to a wonderful lady who grew up in the same time I did and feels the same way I do. Her son Randy is black and a wonderful young man and the biggest honor I get is when we are out he doesn't care who is around, he will still call me DAD and I am proud of that.
Blake, East Weymouth, Mass.
I can hang out with all my black friends. My dad doesn't want me dating different races. My stepdad is African American and my sister is mixed. I am white. You should be able to hang out with anyone regardless of their color! Remember what the day is about and don't just have fun.
Ashley, Jacksonville, Fla.
We have school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and I think that is unfair. At school we don't take any time to give thanks to Dr. King. I think the school authorities need to take the time to think about how he has changed lives and honor that. If it wasn't for Dr. King, we wouldn't be living the way we are today. I just wanted to say thank you, Dr. King, thanks.
Jessie, Anchor Bay Middle School South, Chesterfield, Mich.
At my school I see a lot of diversity. All the blacks sit together and all the whites sit together. Today things are better than they were a long time ago but there are still people who feel the same about blacks. Jan. 17, we watch a lot of his stories that come on TV and then we talk about the things that happened and how we would have felt if that was us that had to go through that. I know they suffered much pain and misery.
Shonte, Spartanburg, S.C.
While picking up my 4-year-old grandson from daycare the Friday before the King holiday, JaSharri proudly turned to me and said, "Granny, Dr. King was an African-American superhero wasn't he"? I replied, "Yes, Sharri." Then he said, "He was a preacher and he didn't like for people to fight, did he Granny?" I responded by saying, "That's right, Sharri, very good." He smiled and all of a sudden his little forehead wrinkled and he said, "Granny, if Dr. King would have been wearing his superhero vest and outfit when that mean man shot him, then he would not have died, right!"
Marilyn, School Board of Muskegon Heights Public Schools, Mich.
Thank God for the courage, strength and faith in the heart of Dr. King. I am the child of an interracial marriage, and so is my husband. When I hear my father tell stories of the '60s it is heartbreaking, as it is to see the fear and hatred that still exists today. Ultimately racism and prejudice is what the Bible calls a sin problem. But the very Jesus King worshipped can change even the darkest of hearts. As our daughter sings: Red and yellow, black and white, we are all precious in His sight.
Karen, Edmonds, Wash.
I just wish he was still alive to see what he has accomplished.
I'm so grateful for Dr. King. I'm so glad that he stood up for what was right. One reason why I'm thankful is I have so many black friends. Another reason why I'm thankful is that back then white people walked around like they owned the world. And we don't. We're all even. Whites aren't better than blacks and blacks aren't better than whites. We're all great.
Ashley, Garden City Elementary, Indianapolis, Ind.
I think that what Martin Luther King Jr. did helped out the whole word. Race relation aren't that bad today. I think that God sent him to this earth for a reason not just to be here. He was here to help out the nation with their problems and he did. He helped everyone out from Mexicans to Negros to Anglos he helped us all.
Angel, Premont, Texas
I have been telling my children about who motivated MLK to do what he did. That was the Lord Jesus Christ. MLK is considered to me a modern-day martyr because he didn't do this for his sake or my sake, but for the Father's sake. MLK knew that his time here on Earth was ending, but he was at peace because he felt privileged to do God's will. And that is what I teach my children every day. We each can be either God's instrument or the devil's instrument. God leaves the choice up to us.
Marisol, West Bloomfield, Mich.
I think it is important for Americans to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That's why I really would rather have Jan. 17 as a "day on," so that we can take the time to study and learn more about him (which is easier because I'm home schooled :-D).
Maddi, Augusta, Maine
Dr. Martin Luther King was a courageous man who fought for what was right. It is a blessing that he was bold enough to stand up for the freedom of all. Where would we be today without his dream? Jan. 17 is just not a "day off," it is a day in remembrance of a great man of God who stood up for what was right for all of us. We should all be united as one, and thank the Lord up above for where he has brought us from.
Alicia, Sacramento, Calif.
I think that if we didn't have Martin Luther King Jr. to help us then the world would be a big disaster. When you say you hate someone, think of Martin Luther King Jr. You don't have to hate anybody for their race. If we all are nice to each other, our lives would be so much easier.
Morgan, Dacula Elementary, Dacula, Ga.
I was raised in the South (Louisiana) and remember the publicity around Dr. King. It was not until I was an adult and became a part of an Equal Employment Opportunity committee that I studied and learned about how amazing Dr. King was and his true purpose. I have tried to spread the good word and offer support to equal opportunity. I would rather remain a silent helper.
I feel like if you can reach the people from the back of the crowd, then maybe the great people like Dr. King can be met in the middle to end the cultural differences we still experience. I think that we have come a long way thanks to people like Dr. King. I now feel to some degree (not totally) that cultural differences are based on people NOT wanting to be equal, but continuously falling back instead of moving forward.
I believe you can do whatever you want to do, but you have to work for what you want and you have to work hard to achieve a serious goal. Let Dr. King be your example, read about his many accomplishments and realize how hard he worked for everything he achieved. January 17 will be a "Day ON!!!"
Barbara, Bay Pines, Fla.
In my community there are still people who are ignorant and stupid, but as far as my friends, my family and I go we are united and together as one. Yes, I have to take the day off at school to remember our King. And no, I will not waste the day to sleep in or rest at home. I will be going out to the community and seeing what impact King had on everybody.
Marcianna, Todd Beamer High School, Federal Way, Wash.
It had quite an impact on my community, but at the same time there are still people around here that dislike colored people, no matter how hard Martin Luther King Jr. tried to straighten the hatred out. If he could see this right now or if I could see him it would be an honor!!!!!!
Ashleigh, H.Y. Livesay Middle School, Harrogate, Tenn.
In Ruleville, Miss., they still act like King didn't do anything for us because they still treat people like that, and no one says anything to them about it. But what's worse is the blacks are doing it to each other, and they wonder why the white people stay away from us. Where I'm from, you love one another no matter the color is.
Leseanda, Ruleville Central High, Ruleville, Miss.
My favorite teacher is black and I respect her greatly. She is so cool.
Holly, Carrollton Junior High, Carrollton, Ga.
I think he was very kind to a lot of people, and I love him very much even though I didn't know him. And plus I don't know what people were thinking back then.
Kenya, Carrollton Junior High, Carrollton, Ga.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day should be one of the most celebrated days in the year. People owe their rights, lives and family to The acts of Dr. King. He greatly influenced many people's opinions and started a chain reaction about civil rights. Because of him he triggered women's rights movements, Native American movements and many more that are still to come. People really can make a difference and Dr. King was living proof.
Henry, Berkshire Middle School, Beverly Hills, Mich.
Where I'm from they still have a little racism in them, but they don't show it as much. But you can see it. I work at a gas station and some of the white people throw the money on the counter. Just the other day a white man came in the store and told my friend that they need to start the hanging back because they don't know how to act. I guess he said that because we're from the town where the accused serial killer is from.
Nadine, St.Francisville, La.
I believe Dr. King has inspired many Americans, black and white. It is amazing how much of his dream has come true. I would have loved to be born during this era. I am an activity director in a predominately white nursing home and I am honoring Dr. King there on his day.
Tamekka, Clarksville, Tenn.