Still Separate, Still Unequal
''I favor integration on buses and in all areas of public accommodation and travel. I am for equality. However, I think integration in our public schools is different. In that setting, you are dealing with one of the most important assets of an individual -- the mind. White people view black people as inferior. A large percentage of them have a very low opinion of our race. People with such a low view of the black race cannot be given free rein and put in charge of the intellectual care and development of our boys and girls.''
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As I reread this article from more than 15 years ago, it is a reminder of how Martin Luther King's very aggressive and clear advocacy of civil rights and stance against white racism has been and continues to be over-simplified and reduced to the rhetoric of mere color-blindness; ideology that was not his. This quote displays his very clear and nuanced understanding of antiblackness as the result of the ultimate and extreme result of white racism. It is the core foundation of what it means to be an American. The "low opinion" mindset of blacks inferred by Dr. King is one that has been embedded into the culture and transcends skin color. Though created by white people, this cultural sentiment is and can be expressed by non-whites and blacks in the same manner in which it is exhibited and expressed by whites. And so, I say to anyone participating in racial equity work or on a racial equity journey - one must understand (through the lens of colonialism, pre and post antebllum society, as well as through a contemporary lens) that white racism as antiblackness is cultural - and in order to change outcomes for black and brown people we much change the lens' that we view black people through - as well as the standards and norms created through a white political, social, educational, employment and economic landscape. If we do not, then any and all work will be in vain.