What Would Martin Luther King Say?

Another year of all talk and no action makes us ask....will we ever achieve the dream?

By William Gallegos
Published on LatinoLA: January 18, 2012

What Would Martin Luther King Say?

It's Monday, january 16, and for the past couple of days, I been watching stories on the news regarding Martin Luther King's birthday.

As always, these MLK-related stories usually are related to community parades or breakfasts attended by community leaders and politicians. I can tell you that though it is important to remember the legacy of Dr King, I think I can speak for a lot out there when I say how sick I get every time some idiot politician once again gets in front of the mic at an MLK breakfast or while in a classic car driving down an MLK parade route and tells the crowd and the media in attendance that "We still have a long way to go".

Unless someone reading this has been frozen for the past 25-30 years or so, this line is said year after year after year and will continue to be said year after year after year. I have been hearing this outdated line since I started watching the news as a kid back in the early 1980's.

It's not that we still have a long way to's that we choose not to make the effort to go!

Some ten years ago, Channel 9 news had a "forum" feature on its website, giving its visitors the opportunity to comment on such daily topics as current events, world news, sports, the LAPD, and so on.

One day, the daily topic was on MLK (since his birthday fell on this day). It mentioned how Dr. King fought for so much and how he wanted all to achieve "the dream". The question that was being asked was "Do you feel we have achieved the dream?" Since I was given the opportunity to speak my mind, my answer was "No". I added by saying that a lot of young individuals choose not to achieve the dream because they are instead choosing to take the road that leads to crime, gangs, drugs, becoming a parent far too early, some of the above, or all of the above. I finished my comment by mentioning how I once grew up in a high-crime, gang-infested neighborhood, and how I lived in a household where I had a parent who had to work 2 jobs in order to get us by.

Did living in this high-crime, gang-infested neighborhood result in me or my siblings going on to live a life of crime, drugs, or gangs? No! Did we go on to make babies while in our teens only to then live off of welfare and food stamps? Once again, No! We all went on to become good human beings who went on to earn university degrees, who would escape the high-crime, gang-infested neighborhood we grew up in, and who would go on to buy houses of our own. Silver spoons or helping hands were never required.

How many individuals would read this story is something I would not know but I can tell you that there was one individual (or in this case, an idiot) who would respond back in anger. First, this individual would lash out at me by saying that I should be ashamed of myself for having moved out of my high-crime, gang-infested neighborhood. Second, they would call me a racist for reasons unknown. Third, they said I should have bought a house in the same high-crime, gang-infested neighborhood and should have devoted my time helping those take the right road in life. And last (and the most stupid of all responses), they said that the only reason why I succeeded was because I lived in a household with both a mom and dad.

First, since when is buying a house in a more quiet and safe neighborhood something to be ashamed of? Second, where does the race card come in, considering I am Latino, considering the neighborhood I left was mostly Latino, and considering the majority of my best friends are Latino? Third, it is not my job to help lowlife punks and gangbangers take the right road in life. That job belongs to the parents or parent. The only ones I give back to are my family members and my high school.

And fourth, I am so sick and tired of people using the "single parent" excuse when it comes to one taking the wrong road in life. I think we all know an individual who was raised by a single parent and who went on to become a great member of society. I defended my comments by telling this idiot how he or she was probably angered over the fact that I was going somewhere in life and how this person was likely not.

I also remember bringing up boxer Oscar De La Hoya during my online clash. As we all know, Oscar De La Hoya once called East LA his childhood home but once making it big following the '92 Olympics, he would end up moving to the upper class part of Montebello (at least that is what I was told). But once the millions of dollars started rolling in, he would move west to the star-studded neighborhood of Bel Air.

This angered a lot of members of the East LA community, saying that he should be ashamed of himself for having abandoned his people. There would be a lot of individuals (Latinos included) who would defend his move, me being one of them. He might be known for being an arrogant individual with a love for cross-dressing but he worked hard to get those millions he has today. And remember, he too grew up in a high-crime, gang-infested neighborhood but chose to take the right road in life (all this while dealing with his mom's battle with cancer). Of course, once bringing this up to the idiot, all this person could tell me in response was that I had an infatuation for De La Hoya. Talk about cowardly responses.

With our online war of words going nowhere, I asked this idiot one final question ... were they an unhappy person still living at home with mom or dad in a high-crime, gang-infested area with a kid or two that they had from someone they were no longer with? This person (whose gender I would not know) would end up trash-talking me rather than answering the question. By not answering the question, I already knew what his or her answer was. This question was never intended to knock down single parents but was intended to learn more on someone who was so angered at someone else doing well in life.

Why did I bring up this online war of words incident, should one ask? One reason....this online war of words took place roughly 10 years ago, proving that after roughly 10 years, nothing has changed for the better when it comes to our youth choosing what road to take in life.

Years later I did a similar story on titled "Criminal Rights vs. Victim Rights", where I once again talked about the youths of today and the wrong road they chose to take. But in this story, I also included the parents of these youths, who are known to rather defend their kids rather than discipline them and/or teach them about right from wrong.

One problem mentioned in my story was that every time one hears of a punk doing something wrong, whether its graffiti, shoplifting, or anything else crime or gang-related, there are always those morons out there who have to defend those punks, saying that they do these crimes because they come from a broken home or because their gang-banging homies are the only family they have, but yet, the moment those same punks are arrested or even gunned down by cops in self-defense, suddenly there is a loving mom and dad in the picture who claim their kids were "good kids who NEVER did anything wrong" (even though their kids were armed and likely under the influence of drugs at the time of their arrest or death).

Unlike the idiot from the channel 9 forum, one intelligent Latino actually commented on my story, saying that it was a "righteous" story and that I keep contributing to

I have to admit that Bill Cosby was somewhat responsible for my "Criminal rights vs Victim rights" story only because of what he was saying in an article a year or two earlier during the weekend of MLK's birthday. He was expressing his anger towards the black youths of today when it came to them also choosing the wrong road in life.

Mr Cosby said how the blacks of the civil rights era of the 1950's and 1960's sacrificed so much just so that the youths of tomorrow (being the youths of today) can reach their goals but yet those same youths of today are choosing not to. Just like my Channel 9 forum comments, these youths are choosing the road to crime, gangs, drugs, becoming a parent at a far too early age, and so on. And then he said something I totally agreed with.

He said, "why is it that every time a armed youth is gunned down by a police officer in self defense, the question being asked is why the cop had to shoot the youth when the real question should be "what was that youth doing with a gun in the first place"? I may not be a fan of the LAPD and most other police departments and I do believe there are still far too many crooked and arrogant cops terrorizing individuals simply because of how they look or who they are but in a situation like this, you have to defend an officer when it comes to encountering an individual armed with a gun.

What would Dr King say about today's youths, both black and Latino, if he were still alive? I know he would angered over the fact that today's youths are choosing to take the wrong road in life and that the parents and politicians are somewhat responsible for this.

Better yet, what would he say about how his name is used in the wrong ways?

You ever notice that every time contract talks with markets, nurses, or teachers, for example, fall during February, their greedy union reps always seem to want to participate in a local MLK parade, claiming that they, too, are seeking equality. I am sorr,y but fighting for a fatter contract has absolutely nothing to do with the message of Dr King.

These idiot union leaders know it and should be ashamed of themselves.

What about the infamous OJ Simpson trial when Johnnie Cochran started preaching about Dr King to the jury during his closing statements? Once again, what the hell does MLK have to do with an ex-football player murdering his ex-wife and her friend? I bet once he died, Mr. Cochran had some explaining to do up above when meeting Dr. King. Oh, wait a minute, anyone without a conscience making millions of dollars defending those that even God knows are guilty (OJ, Michael Jackson, P-Diddy, and so on) don't deserve to enter the gates of heaven.

So anyways, as we watch another MLK weekend come and go, we once again see another weekend of your typical overpaid Black and Latino politicians trying to once again look good in front of the cameras and crowds as they once again do little to nothing when it comes to improving education, improving race-relations with local police officers, and sticking by promises made to the Black and Latino communites prior to election time.

Of course, these same politicians always want to be linked to MLK in order to pull in some votes at election time (just go to Councilman Jose Huizar's site to see what I am taking about). How funny it is that I saw LA County Supervisor Mark-Ridley Thomas on channel 7 at the MLK parade. This not only is the same Mark-Ridley Thomas who once spent some six figures in tax dollars refurbishing his office but was the same man who turned his back on the father of Jamiel Shaw, the black teenager gunned down by a gangbanger who was in this country illegal.

It wasn't that long ago when Jamiel's father was at an LA County supervisor's meeting lashing out at Thomas for supporting illegal aliens. Mr. Shaw claimed that if Thomas and the rest of LA County's politicians were tougher on laws towards illegal aliens, his son would still be alive today. Remember that Jamiel Shaw once had "a dream" of playing college football one day, not that Supervisor Thomas gave a damn. Not to anyone's surprise, Mr. Shaw's words of anger went in one ear of Supervisor Thomas and out the other. An angry and loud Mr. Shaw would then be escorted out by Sheriffs as Supervisor Thomas played deaf.

How about your typical local politicians who preach about equality every MLK weekend but the moment a white cop is busted committing brutality towards a Latino or Black in that politician's district, that same politician turns the other way because he or she knows that should he or she lash out at the actions of that officer, he or she may risk losing important endorsements from that officer's police department, its chief, and its union, should he or she run for higher office one day. Can you say...."two face"?

As I end this story, I want to make it clear to all that this story is not intended to slam Dr. King, his message, or the good people of the Black or Latino communities. It is about those individuals responsible for the dream not being reached and about those individuals who do all talk and no action. This story is not about being negative but about being honest.

The year is now 2012. May I suggest to all reading this to please keep track of how many more years you will be hearing politicians remind us that "we still have a long way to go." Please get back to me once politicians are pleased to tell us they we no longer have a long way to go and that the dream has been achieved. Talk to you all in a couple of decades. Peace!

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