But color still matters. We still label and define people by their race, their nationality. We might not say it out loud, but we know we do it, even those who consider themselves accepting, enlightened.
King spoke of freedom. But we are not free from the yoke of racism. It is not as blatant as it was in King’s day, but it still exists, and for that reason, King’s dream has yet to be realized.
King spoke of equality. But we are not equal in economic terms. A study released earlier this year by Brandeis University found that the wealth gap between blacks and whites has nearly tripled in the past 25 years. The Pew Research Center reported in 2009 that the median wealth of white households was 20 times that of black households, and 18 times that of Hispanic households.
Some dreams are merely wishes. We can say we dream of winning the lottery, but we cannot make it happen.
Other waking dreams are realistic goals. We can make King’s dream of true racial equality and harmony come true. But achieving that dream requires will, desire and hard work.
In addition to dreams, King likewise spoke of faith. “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”
A beautiful symphony of brotherhood. Now that’s a dream worth working toward.
Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.