The 50th celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. speech on the Washington Mall has me feeling very, very old. I knew Martin Luther King, Sr., the man called "Daddy King." Of course I was moved and impressed by the "I have a dream" speech. Have we come a long way in race relations, bigotry, helping the underserved, and advancing freedom? Frankly, I don't think so, but our racism and bigotry has shifted gears and is now more camouflaged.
Look at our prisons. Loaded with black men. Look at the earnings of black persons. Much lower than whites. One of the greatest untapped resources in the U.S. is the failure to realize the potential of young black men and women. But those commonly-used examples are only the veneer. Racism and bigotry in America goes deeper, much deeper.
Most of the commentary today that is related to Martin Luther King's famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial will touch on the more obvious, continuing attitudes and opinions about black people by whites. Good. We need to hear that.
Not so prevalent in today's commentaries will be how we avoid confronting our continuing racism and bigotry in the foreign affairs of the United States. Was there racism in the way we conducted an illegal war in Vietnam against Asians? Was there racism in the way we invaded Iraq illegally and fought Arabs and Moslems? Frankly, the way we conduct our foreign affairs in the Near East. Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, etc. is not only evidence of our blatant ignorance, it is indicative of our racism.
The United States conducts itself as though it were an extension of the thinking and perspective of white, western and northern Europe. If we cannot get what we want for our war mentality and war corporate profits in the UN, then we fall back and rely on our old, colonial partners in Europe.
Oh, each time we resort to war and fill the pockets of war corporations we come up with very convincing reasons to do so. Remember the Gulf of Tonkin? Or the WMDs? Both lies, but it permitted us to do what we wanted against non-whites. And in the process the wide variety of Halliburtons made big money.
We should be ashamed. But we aren't. Let all the long-winded speeches and articles continue on. The U.S. is nowhere near confronting its deep-seated racism and bigotry. Ask a Latino immigrant.