This morning I spoke at an event at Lehigh commemorating the 50th anniversary year of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech. A few people from the university were asked to give a “reflection” on “The Dream.” Here’s what I said.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
This is surely one of the most quoted sections of MLK’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, and I, like many people, have thought about this idea countless times throughout my life.
Especially since becoming a mother.
Some of you may know that 8 years ago my husband and I adopted our twin sons from an orphanage in Haiti.
Like all moms, I am fiercely protective of my children.
And as a white mom, I am vigilant in constantly doing everything possible to make sure that my black sons are being thought of, and treated, fairly.
I find myself constantly wondering if my boys are being judged by the content of their character, rather than by the color of the skin.
Some of you may also know that 4 years ago, I gave birth to my third child– a blond haired, blue eyed, pale skinned girl.
It has come as a surprise, even to me, that since my daughter’s birth I have found myself thinking of MLK’s quote even more than ever.
I find myself constantly wondering: How much of what is happening, and will happen, in the life experience of my daughter, is the result of the color of her skin, rather than the content of her character?
How much of what people think of her, and how she is treated, is shaped by white privilege?
Over the past 50 years many of us have been inspired by MLK and other great people in our lives to deeply question racism and to stand up against it.
But how often can any of us truly say that we deeply question white privilege and stand up against it?
My personal hope is that in the next 50 years we will put white privilege and the cumulative advantages of whiteness squarely on our radar.
I have a dream that one day my three little children will be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their black and white skin.