“Content of character is NOT color-blindness.”

Dexter H. Bridgeman
Atlanta, GA

In his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated the following: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Many American citizens — both majority population whites as well as some African Americans and other people of color — have wrongly misinterpreted (or intentionally misapplied) King’s statement in a way that pre-destines the coming of a post-modern, post-racial, and post-black society that is devoid of racial and color consciousness. In response, what we find today is many American occupants claiming to “be color-blind,” claiming to “not see color,” and, therefore, claiming to be the “most ardent and committed adherents to the ‘DREAM’ of King and the ‘LEGACY’ of the modern day Civil Rights Movement.”

I, instead, have found a “societal dirty bomb” embedded in that way of thinking. This misinterpretation — and I do find a substantive amount of intentionality present in this misinterpretation — is oriented around the idea of the racial/ethic “melting pot” that is America giving way to a globalized one-world orientation that seeks to make race/ethnicity disappear–or, more importantly, seeks to make the “brown-ness,” the “black-ness,” and the “non-whiteness” of communities of color and people of color disappear in favor of the globalized one-world orientation that — though it is NOT said out-loud and is, instead, codified — is, in fact, the REPLACEMENT of “non-whiteness” with (by) the country-first identity politics of nationality, citizenry, and other politically correct notions that are purposefully hidden under the “Trojan Horse” that is “color blindness” and that users would like to conflate as one-and-the-same with “content of character.”

This brings us — collectively AND universally — back to the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As a more meaningful and apolitical review of the themes expressed by King, it is very apparent that he did NOT want African Americans (or any other race-conscious people of color) to abdicate and erase their (our) black-ness OR to similarly NOT recognize and acknowledge the white-ness of Caucasians, the brown-ness of Latinos, or the multitude of other color configurations of a host of other minority types. Instead, what King DID want us to do was (is) to recognize, acknowledge, and uplift the presence and power inherent in racial recognition AND identity politics, while NOT pre-judging people as good/just, bad/evil, inferior/superior, capable/incapable, smart/dumb, et al. based singularly on “the color of their skin.” For those BIG PICTURE assessments, evaluations, and — yes! — judgments, King correctly pointed the nation to its highest common denominator: the “content of [one’s] character.” That is how I strive to live day-in and day-out. There are many days that I fall short of such lofty aims, but I find solace in the fact that such aims are well-aligned with King’s vision, philosophy, and actions on behalf of those who were mistreated in a world where he was afforded some greater level of respect and reverence. “Content of character is NOT color-blindness.” Color-consciousness is an aspiration that allows all of us to identity the beauty, intelligence, and differential greatness of varying races/ethnicities–all without ascribing character judgments without evidence to support such judgments. Now THAT is the Kingian philosophy and righteousness that I know, that I can embrace, and that makes these first two months of every new year an extra amount of meaning!


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