No Whites Allowed – An MLK Day Tragedy

Martin Luther King Day – a day where we commemorate a man who worked tirelessly to bring about change in our great nation. It is a day where we are able to step back and reflect on how far we’ve come as a nation. It would also appear it reminds us of how far we have yet to go.

“So, the NAACP threw a big feast today. They gave our company meal vouchers, and asked that they only be handed out to Black folk. So, I just need someone to tell me how I should feel… Cuz right now, I’m hungry”

I was absolutely floored when I saw the above status on my friend’s page. It hurt me to my heart to see that an organization I have always equated to civil rights and equality for all  was DISCRIMINATING against non-blacks. In my mind (my very southern born and bred mind) it was wrong. It was no less wrong than refusing to serve blacks in the diners during the sit-ins of the 60’s. It was no less wrong than having different water fountains, bathrooms, train cars and days to attend the zoo in the Jim Crow South. It was no less wrong than the racism and segregation that we are supposed to be celebrating having overcome.

I must say that my friend is a great person. He did not post anything angry or rant about the injustice of it. Many people would have. I did. He was totally gracious about it though. That almost makes it even MORE frustrating that he was denied the opportunity to, as he put it, “… break bread with my friends because I’m not the right color…”.

I’ve heard the theories of how black people can’t “really be racist” because they are not in a position of power. I cannot say that I can agree as it is my opinion that anyone of any color can be racist. It’s just that without power your racism doesn’t count for very much. I certainly can’t see the exclusion of white people from a luncheon at a workplace (WHATEVER the occasion) as anything but racial discrimination.

There are those who will disagree with me and I will probably be called a name or two. But we cannot claim victory over racism in one hand while shocking it back to life with the other. I can only hope my poor starving friend got to eat eventually. I know next time he’s up this way, my black guilt and I will definitely buy him a burrito.

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