A poem on MLK Day: HOW DARE WE
HOW DARE WE
Nothing has been gained when a paraprofessional in the nearby elementary school said, “This isn’t a holiday for me.” She meant this because she was white. The same school recognizes this day NOT because of MLK, but because it’s cold this morning. I say it’s cold alright.
How dare we.
“We should do something about this,” some parent in the district might say. That is not enough.
How dare you.
Here in this pocket of the country, and other pockets or neighborhoods as well, we choose when we want to be a part of the United States of America, and yet for too many this day requires too much inconvenience or too much “work,” so the very land under our feet, and the rights, values and morals that were fought to identify it, to identify us, come across in a petty nod or acknowledgement, if even that.
How dare we.
Recent and longtime graduates of this school I mention, myself included, the issue isn’t ‘just color’; it’s white privilege, the essence of which you have yet to name because in the bathroom mirror each morning you don’t see ‘white’ you see you. It’s time to see something else.
Dare yourself to do this.
“Oh, an uppity pastor on a rant.” If you think this, I weep. I weep because love isn’t winning. I weep because deep-seated fear over who does and does not have power is older than the fight Herod had when Jesus was a baby. That Roman King’s answer, like ours when we are silent, is to endorse a widespread edict to kill that which threatens us.
How dare we.
Now let’s talk about this King who, at the age of twelve, allegedly attempted suicide in grief over his grandmother’s passing. Let’s talk about this King who skipped high school to enter Morehouse College, this King who once wanted to be a doctor or lawyer so that he could change lives, this King who went to jail 29 times for acts of civil disobedience and was even jailed once for driving 5 miles per hour over the speed limit, this King who shares Boston University’s School of Theology as an alumni with me was stabbed in the chest and the assault narrowly missed his aorta, this King who, at 35, was the youngest male to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, this King who dares us to see beyond ourselves.
Yes, let’s talk about this King who dares us to dream of peace not for some but all, who dares us to seek justice every day, who dares us remember and move forward (not backward) with lessons learned, this King who dares us to do what we deeply want to do, and that is to simply, truly, and sincerely care loudly sometimes, and softly other times.
This King lifted Jesus the King. Dare to love as you have been taught.