Dear President Trump,
Confession. I am prejudiced. I cried the day you were elected. I was frightened by a world who would elect a white, rich and powerful man. A man, so much like the one who took away my innocence before I finished first grade.
Full disclosure: In my first Presidential election I voted for George W. Bush to serve a second term as our president. I figured he was the one who got us into the Iraq war which my friends had heedlessly enlisted in, only to come back ghosts of their former selves. I guess I was just hoping that he had a plan and I was wise enough, even at 19, to see that bureaucracy required almost a decade to carry out a plan.
Fuller Disclosure: I voted both terms for Barack Obama. I not only wanted an AfricanAmerican to be president, I wanted him to be president. I admired the way he wrote his memoir so humbly, admitting his weaknesses and insecurities. I liked the way he told stories of all the people he’d met along the campaign trail. He was so skilled at diplomacy and after eight years of war in the Middle East I believed that we needed someone who would sit down and talk, someone who was internationally savvy. Maybe it was vanity, maybe as a speech and debate teacher and coach I wanted someone well spoken.
Fullest Disclosure: I did not vote for you last year but neither did I vote for Hillary Clinton. I did what most would say was wasting my vote by casting it for an independent.
Now, here I sit, a white mother of three white children, trying to make sense of how to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. in light of your alleged racist remarks.
I face 3 main problems:
1. My first dilemma- Your comments themselves. Even if they prove to be inaccurate in the particulars I take issue with them and even to your rebuttal to the allegations: "I am not a racist. I'm the least racist person you will ever interview.” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42685356
This strikes me as ridiculous. How can we ever crown someone “the least racist.” It’s immeasurable and unquantifiable. Even if someone is an activist for racial and ethnic equality we can never know the moments of snap judgements they make based on their own subjective experiences and unacknowledged indoctrination into “how life works.”
2. My second dilemma- Martin Luther King Jr. was not perfect. He was a great man. He made the world a better place but not without controversy. “King was regularly accused of what today would be called ‘reverse racism;’ of hating white people. One piece of hate- mail is particularly revealing: “How can you be a minster and have such hatred in your heart for the ‘white’-race and the Nation in general?” http://www.missioalliance.org/king-wasnt-peaceful Frankly, it makes me uncomfortable to contemplate that in his mind I owe Black Americans reparations for the sins of my forefathers I hate being lumped together with bigots and racists because I am white. In fact it makes me want to dig up dirt on him such as the fact that he was unfaithful to his wife, and he put her and his children in danger as well as leaving them penniless. But I know that is petty.
3. My final dilemma: What can or should I do? My first instinct is to stay silent because I have yet to “win” a debate via social media or blogging. Also, I run the risk of being misinterpreted and phrasing something in a particularly offensive way to someone, which would break my heart. But in the end I love Martin Luther King Jr's message and I think he deserves to be celebrated. I found this article that I think is really helpful on how that can play out in each of our personal lives.
He was a man who truly made America great and he did so by recognizing that without humility, self-sacrifice, faith and love our own beloved country is a hateful sh--hole. So, let's go President Trump. Let's honor the man who gave his life for equality and civil rights. Let's make America great again.