Monday, January 21, 2008

King Day

Today is King Day. One of my favorite holidays. When my children were young, I used to make them sit down and watch the movie Boycott on King Day. I wanted them to know what the Montgomery Bus Boycott was all about. There are not very many Black folks in our little rural town, which made me have an even stronger commitment to providing my children with a home-schooled education in Black history and culture. These days, many educators in the public schools do a good job of teaching Black history. But there is always more to learn.

I remember with amusement a story told to me by my son’s first-grade teacher. On King Day she sat the children in a circle and asked them if any of them knew anything about the Civil War. It was a group of children about 45% Mexican American, about 15% Native American (Pomo), the rest Anglo/Euro, and my Black Jewish son. He was the only one who raised his hand to answer the question. “Yes, Sudi, what do you know about the Civil War?” the teacher asked. “The Black guys won,” Sudi told her.

I think on his day this year, Dr. King would be very pleased to see that an African American candidate for the Democratic nomination for President is a serious front-runner in the race. A liberal friend and Kucinich supporter asked me the other day if I’m voting for Barack because he’s Black. I replied truthfully, “Yes, AND because he’d be a terrific President.”

When Jesse Jackson was running for President, there was a joke going around. It went like this. Jesse and the Pope are in a boat. The Pope’s hat blows off. Jesse gets out of the boat, walks across the water, retrieves the hat, and walks back across the water. He returns the hat to the Pope. The next day the newspaper headlines read “Jesse can’t swim.”

Barack Obama can swim. I’m hoping the Black guys win this one too.

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