While shopping for a few items at the grocery store yesterday I past the magazine stand where the picture you see caught my eye. Not the TIME magazine, although it’s a cool cover, but the one with the image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pointing at Barack Obama with the title, “The Dream Fulfilled”.
Now the first thing I said out loud with people around me was, “The dream is not fulfilled. Barack Obama is the continuation of the dream.” Obviously my outburst interested an older Black gentleman as he smiled and said “Amen”. We talked briefly about the challenges President-Elect Obama face then continued our shopping.
What made me respond like that is from my reading and study of Dr. King. I doubt the person(s) who came up with this title did not spent time reading, listening and studying the life of Dr. King. If so, you would know that the election of a man socially and self described as Black as President of the United States is not the fulfillment of Dr. King’s Dream. It is a nudge in the awakening of open-minded Americans to the possibilities and keeping of the promise of America to its citizens.
So many people mistakenly tie Dr. King to a single speech and ignore the message of his life.
He wasn’t killed because of a dream, but because of his public opposition to the Vietnam War and visible involvement towards making what was a dream a reality. A reality not just African Americans, but poor Whites, Latinos and others whose dreams were being trampled upon by the steel-toed boot of discrimination, greed and inequality openly promoted by this country.
The fulfillment of the dream is when we are judged by our mind and labels are useless. Our skin may differ but the promises of life dwells in all of our racial hues the same. The reality of utopian dream is not realized by the election of Barack Obama.
If you only know Dr. King in the prism of “I Have a Dream” speech I encourage you to go before and beyond The Dream. Then you will get a sense of why it is absurd to suggest that the Dream is fulfilled.
Just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a continuation of those who sacrificed before him so is Barack Obama. A dream is a thought, idea or suggestion of the mind. Your ambition and actions is what helps fulfills the dream. The dream is fulfilled when it is no longer a thought, idea or suggestion.
I think a clever title for the magazine could have been, “What happens to a dream deferred?”
Dr. King never aspired to be a politician. He stood in opposition against unjust public policy. Barack Obama aspired to be President. He campaigned in opposition against unwise public policy. The campaign, election and presidency of Barack Obama will be viewed as a benchmark in America on race relations among other things.
A dream fulfilled is when you “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” – Pope John XXIII
References, Influences & Inspirations:
NPR – 12/05/08 “Living In A Multicultural America”
Wikipedia “One-Drop Rule”
Langston Hughes “Harlem: A Dream Deferred”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – 03/03/1968 “Unfulfilled Dreams”
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson “April 4, 1968”