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[杂谈] The Dream, the Stars and Dr. King

知行 发表于 2011-10-13 23:48 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
The Dream, the Stars and Dr.King
Last week in Memphis,we commemorated the death of Dr. Martin Luther King. He was struck down 27years ago -- not a dreamer, but a man of action. We have come a long way sincethen, in part as a fruit of his labors.

Inless than 30 years, as schools opened and ceilings lifted, a large AfricanAmerican middle class has been created. High school graduation rates, evenintelligence test results, grow closer between whites and blacks with eachpassing year.
The civil-rights movement that Dr. King led also helped women gaingreater opportunity. The same laws that guarantee equal opportunity for AfricanAmericans apply to women, to other minorities, to the disabled. (1) Our societybenefits as fewer of its people have their genius suppressed or their talentswasted.
We have come a long way -- but we have far to go. Commission aftercommission, report after report, show that systematic discrimination stillstains our country.
African Americans have more difficulty obtaining business loans, buyinghomes, getting hired. Schools and housing patterns are still largely separateand unequal. Women still face glass ceilings in corporate offices. Ninety-sevenpercent of the corporate CEOs of the Fortune 500 are white men. That does notresult from talent being concentrated among males with pale skin.
(2)Today, Dr. King's legacy -- the commitment to take affirmativeactions to open doors and opportunity -- is under political assault. Dr. Kingworked against terrible odds in a hopeful time. America was experiencing twodecades of remarkable economic growth and prosperity. It was assumed, as theKerner Commission made clear, that the "growth dividend" would enableus to reduce poverty and open opportunity relatively painlessly. But the war onpoverty was never fought; instead, the dividend and the growth were squanderedin the jungles of Vietnam.
Three decades later, the country is more prosperous but the times areless hopeful. Real wages for working people have been declining for 20 years.People are scared for good reason, as layoffs rise to record levels even in themidst of a recovery.

Inthis context, prejudice flourishes, feeding on old hates, keeping alive oldfears. What else could explain the remarkably dishonest assault onaffirmative-action programs that seek to remedy stubborn patterns ofdiscrimination?
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a history professor, sets the tone bysimply erasing history. The Washington Post reported: "Gingrich dismissedthe argument that those who benefit from affirmative action, commonly AfricanAmericans, have been subjected to discrimination over a period of centuries.That is true of virtually every American, Gingrich said, noting that the Irishwere discriminated against by the English, for example."
As Roger Wilkins writes in a thoughtful essay in the Nation magazine,this is breathtakingly dishonest for a history professor. Blacks have been onthe North American continent for nearly 375 years. For 245 of those, thecountry practiced slavery. For another 100 or so, segregation was enforcedthroughout the South and much of the North, often policed by home-grownterrorists. We've had only 30 years of something else, largely the legacy ofthe struggle led by Dr. King.
The media plays up the "guilt" African Americans supposedlysuffer about affirmative action. I can tell you this. Dr. King felt no guiltwhen special laws gave us the right to vote. He felt no guilt about lawsrequiring that African Americans have the opportunity to go to schools, toenter universities, to compete for jobs and contracts. This supposed guilt isat best a luxurious anxiety of those who now have the opportunity to succeed orfail.
If Dr. King were alive today, he would be 66, younger than Senator BobDole who suggests that discrimination ended "before we were born."Unlike Dole, Dr. King would be working to bring people together, not drive themapart.
(3) Modern-day conservatives haven't a clue about what to do with aneconomy that is generating greater inequality and reducing the security andliving standards of more and more Americans. So they seek to distract anddivide.
As Dole reaffirmed his abandonment of affirmative action, fellowRepublican Senator Phil Gramm of Texascalled for more cuts from the poor.

As we head into this troubling time, we would do well to remember Dr.King's legacy. No matter how desperate things were, no matter how grave thecrisis, no matter how many times his dreams were shattered, Dr. King refused togrow bitter. (4) Men and women, he taught, "have the capacity to do rightas well as wrong, and [our] history is a path upward, not downward. It's onlywhen it is truly dark that you can see the stars."
      我们正进入这样一个多难的时期,此时此刻我们最好记取金博士的遗训。无论情况多么糟糕,无论危机多么严重,无论梦想多少次破碎,金博士都决不会怨恨失望。他教导说,人,无论是男是女,“既有能力做好事,也有能力做坏事,而我们的历史的道路是向上走的,不是向下走的。 只有在天空漆黑的时候,你才能望见星星。”
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