As I was out for coffee this morning I peeked in the window of my bank, which is right next to my favorite cafe, to see who was working. As I deal with a local bank I’ve gotten on friendly terms with some of the tellers, as their management does not require them to behave like cold animatronic devices to anyone with under $100,000 in an account. But as it’s MLK Jr. Day, the bank was closed.
MLK Jr. Day has long been an anomaly to me, just as Labor Day is. Namely, why it is that the people with the most reason for celebration, people who mostly make up the professions that have benefited the most by these great historical events are also the least likely to get the paid holiday?
And it’s not a case I have statistical numbers for, but come on. The people who most often take off today are people who have a position of high authority and who make substantial earnings. And that, let’s face it, does not go proportionately towards black people (also public sector workers, which does too, but one exception doesn’t change the rule.)
I brought this up elsewhere this morning and got hit with a “aren’t you being racist to assume black people don’t work in banks, law offices, these high-end type jobs?” No. Most definitely not. There is no speaking of problems such as race without speaking of the very real and living realities of discrimination. So here’s a cold hard fact that a lot of people do not want to take as medicine but it’s real: I’m white, I can count on a better salary, better job and especially if it’s high-end a monopoly on it. And if I can’t either redistribute or advocate in a way that makes up my cents on the dollar then I’m doing nothing but talking air and profiting all the while (though these days, profits have been rather slim and shitty.)
Political-correctness is an attitude, and there is genuine need for much of it, but it can also over-ride the very perception of the problem it claims to address and fix. Political correction was meant to give oppressed groups their own responsibility and right over their representation in society; not to gloss over and make believe the world is perfect as a cart before the horse.
Lastly, not a fan of taking MLK Jr. Day as a time of “reflection.” We’re not living his Dream. To “reflect back” on the Civil Rights movement is to me sort of like reflecting upon the days when Obama is president. Oh, he’s still president? So you cannot really “reflect” then. This should be a day for committed civil rights workers to gird their loins and, yes, look back, but only with the intention of mapping a way forward. This is not a day for soundbytes of how great King was.