Although I’ve observed the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. every year since I was a child, I must acknowledge, for obvious reasons, that this year was special. The confluence of this holiday with the inauguration of the first African American President seems like the culmination of the dream that Dr. King spoke of in 1963. Even though I am not African American, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride that this nation was able to finally make good on the check that the founding fathers wrote over 2 centuries ago when they said that “all men are created equal”.
I’m not naive enough to believe that we now have complete equality and that there are no racial, cultural, or religious biases remaining in the US. I know several people that harbor prejudices towards “others”. Indeed, many Americans have simply found new groups towards which to have these biases. And if history teaches us anything, it’s that history repeats itself. That is why I feel it is so important that we teach our children about Slavery, the Holocaust and other ugly chapters in American and World History .. so (hopefully) it does not occur again.
Still, I realized the other day how fortunate I am to work in a truly global engineering community that is so diverse and where people are, for the most part, judged not by the color of their skin, but by their abilities. I won’t lie and say that I am not aware of the race or nationality or cultural background of the people I work with. Of course I am. But it just isn’t that important to me. And hopefully my race is not that important to them.
If you have the time, watch the video of Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech and share it with someone who needs to hear it. Or if you have a little more time, read Dr. King’s Letter From A Birmingham Jail (thanks to John Ford for pointing this out in a tweet). In our current age of the sound bite, we rarely hear or read anything so eloquent or poetic. It’s worth your time.
harry the ASIC guy