“Dred Scott Decision — On March 6, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, of the United States Supreme Court, declared that ‘The negro has no rights which the white man is bound to respect’; in a decision to deny a Black Slave, Dred Scott, and his Family their freedom.
In this part of his opinion the chief justice said:
‘It is difficult, at this day, to realize the state of public opinion in relation to that unfortunate race which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the constitution was framed and adopted. But the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior race, and altogether unfit to associate with the white races, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect, and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.’”
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the historical backdrop for the plight of African Americans on American soil. Is it really any wonder that we still have obvious ripple effects which carry into our modern-day society? Is it any wonder that we have “Karens” and “Kens” who feel it is well within their rights and self-appointed duty, to question Black folks at random and expect full compliance, with the threat of a call to police to provide reinforcements, when said compliance is not received? Was this not the context for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery?
While denying that “white privilege” exists, these same folks have no problem in exercising what they know to be true. Yet, Martin had a dream of a nation void of such lopsided privilege.
As passed down from the United States SUPREME Court, “The negro has no rights which the white man is bound to respect.”
Just because the legality may change, the supporting mentality often does not. To deny this reality, is to deny the existence of the Karens and Kens, who are fully aware of the rules of the game and their privileged positions to play these “race cards” at will. “Hello 911, a Black man…”
It’s that notorious Black man that is so threatening, even when unarmed. It’s the unethical Black man, the thieving Black man, the angry Black man, the savage Black man, the scary Black man, that suspicious looking Black man, the big bad Black man.
It’s the Black man in the hoodie, the Black man shopping in the store, the Black man driving that nice car, the Black man jogging through my neighborhood, the Black man dating my daughter, the Black man running for political office, the Black man moving into my neighborhood, the Black man taking my job. This Black man must be stopped by any means necessary.
When Dr. King penned his letter from a Birmingham jail, he was addressing “Christian” clergy, critics of the movement for not only civil rights but basic human rights, the right to simply exist as human beings.
King supported his case in his speech delivered on that historic 1963 March on Washington, in his soul stirring “I have a Dream” speech. We are here to collect a check marked insufficient funds, said King, referring to the promise of the self-evident equality for ALL men/women in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, as clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence.
But King was told he must have patience by his lesser melanated “Christian” brethren. After more than 350 years of waiting, they felt he should continue to exercise that fruit of the spirit called patience, in his pursuit of the Declaration’s promise, to apply to people who looked like him.
To wait to experience the love that Christ commands us to extend to our neighbors. To wait for common decency and respect as human beings. To wait for the violence to cease, for the discrimination to halt, for the attack dogs to be brought to heal, for the fire hoses to be turned off, for the lynchings to end, for our children to stop being bombed in churches, for mass incarceration for made up crimes to come to an end, for red lining to stop, for our Black neighborhoods to stop being destroyed by “white” terrorists, for being the last hired and the first fired, for being denied better education, wait, wait, WAIT dear brother Martin, surly you can keep waiting while we find it in our Christian hearts to be obedient to Christ. Can’t you wait until we can see the image of our Lord and Savior in you colored people?
And some are still asking us to wait. They vehemently reject being awaken out of their peaceful slumber of inequality and white supremacy, while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads. “WOKE” is the new four-letter word, don’t you know?
Oh, and by the way…they killed that dreamer.
By Tobias Houpe