LET US NOT SEEK to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny, and that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom." So spoke Martin Luther King, Jr. in his historic 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech. During the past quartercentury, however, Dr. King’s successors in the civil rights movement have turned a deaf ear to his exhortation; indeed they have virtually established antiwhite rhetoric as their native tongue.
One person who has noticed this unfortunate development is a remarkable seventeenyearold, black female student at an Akron, Ohio, high school. This girl recently entered an essay contest at her school, in which the entrants were to speculate on what Dr. King would say if he were still alive about the condition of African Americans and race relations in our country today. She begins her essay by discussing King’s devotion to nonviolent demonstration as a means of overturning the injustices of racism, particularly in the Jim Crow South. She then asserts, "If Rev. King were able to return to the United States today, he would be saddened by the direction the civil rights movement has taken." To contrast King’s vision with the reality that has evolved since his death, she thereafter presents an "I Have A Nightmare" speech describing King’s observations about contemporary black America.
"I have a nightmare," she writes, "that the black family in America has disappeared. While 80 percent of black children lived in a family with a father and a mother under the same roof when I [King] grew up, fewer than 30 percent do today. Why have we allowed this to happen? Neither the Klan nor Jim Crow did this to us. We have done it to ourselves." In these few sentences, she identifies the single greatest problem facing black Americans today; and in so doing, she articulates what our most prominent civil rights leaders who focus almost exclusively on white society’s allegedly racist transgressions dare not say. "I have a nightmare," she continues, "that young black women, and even young black girls, are entering motherhood at a higher rate than during my [King’s] lifetime without first entering into holy matrimony with the man who fathered that child. I have a nightmare that black men are conceiving babies and are not doing the right thing to make sure that their children are brought up right."
These are powerful words words that, if written by a white author, would spark charges of racism in liberal circles. But even this girl, though she is black, is not immune to epithets and intimidation emanating from those same circles. She understands that many of her black peers, having been raised in a society where such "politically incorrect" musings are routinely trashed as symptoms of reactionary white bigotry or black "Uncle Tomism" would be very angry to learn that a black person had written these seemingly heretical words. Consequently, terrified by the prospect of violent retaliation against her by her black acquaintances, the girl submitted her contest essay anonymously.
In the essay, she goes on to tackle other problems facing black Americans. "I have a nightmare," she writes, "that millions of black men and black women of all ages [are addicted] to illicit drugs. I have a nightmare that we blame the white man for our problems while we still deal in the streets, shoot it or smoke it into our bodies, and even kill each other to make our deal or get our fix. . . . I have a nightmare that black youth can be found lying dead in the streets over trivial matters. The Klan never killed us with the effectiveness [with which] we are killing ourselves today." Indeed she is correct; fully 94 percent of black murder victims today are slain by other blacks. These numbers dwarf anything the Klan was ever able to do, even in its shameful heyday.
The NAACP, she adds, "which is supposed to be nonpolitical," runs media ads against candidates who are supposedly insensitive to the grave nature of whiteonblack crimes, "but ignores the fact that Justice Department statistics demonstrate that racist attacks are nine times more likely to be perpetrated by blacks against other races, than by other races against blacks."
She also makes some noteworthy observations about today’s civil rights leaders, whom she characterizes as "race hustlers who cry ‘racism’ at every cause until the word racism has lost its true meaning." In a thinly veiled reference to Jesse Jackson, she writes, "I have a nightmare that a man who once marched with me [King], who was with me at my death, has used the civil rights movement to blackmail big businesses into supporting his cause, and to line his pockets [all so they can keep] from being called ‘racist’ by him in public." She criticizes this same man for using the title "Reverend" while fathering a child outofwedlock, "and paying off the woman with money he extorted from these companies." Addressing Jackson’s stance on abortion, she writes, "I have a nightmare that this man sold his soul to the devil by publicly endorsing the murder of the most innocent lives in the womb, to curry [the] favor of a political party that has done more harm than good."
On the question of slavery reparations, she writes, "I have a nightmare that [while the [aggregate wealth of the] black community in this nation would make it the thirteenth most prosperous nation on earth, richer than any nation in Africa, black leaders still have the audacity to demand reparations for slavery. . . . While we must never forget our past as slaves, or past lynchings, the Klan, and Jim Crow laws, we must forgive the sins of previous generations and take advantage of . . . the greatest economic times the world has ever known." Such a proposition is indeed anathema to a civil rights establishment that continues to portray blacks in this country less as Americans, than as what Malcolm X once called "victims of Americanism."
In a reference to Maulana Karenga’s creation of Kwanzaa, she writes, "I have a nightmare that the celebration of the arrival of Jesus Christ has been replaced by another practice originated in the 1960s by a convicted criminal who abused women. While this celebration is said to be about unity, it only further divides us [from] those we share this country with."
Perhaps her most important observation is that the most prominent voices to which her peers are consistently exposed present a monolithic view of American society. Jackson, Sharpton, Farrakhan, and others of their ideological ilk characterize white racism as black Americans’ principal foe. As columnist Deroy Murdock once put it, they "see a bigot under every bed." The essay author notes that in contrast to the liberal civil rights icons of our day, there are some very articulate black conservatives who present a more accurate picture of reality. But unfortunately they garner nowhere near as much media attention as their vocal, liberal counterparts. "I have a nightmare," she writes, "that black children do not know of Dr. Walter Williams, Dr. Thomas Sowell, Ward Connerly, and Clarence Thomas, and what they stand for." If more Americans, regardless of their color, were as well acquainted with the ideas of these great men as with the ideas of the civil rights brigade, students like this teenage girl would not have to fear the violent retribution of their peers simply for stating some thorny facts.