Martin Luther King Jr. and the 2010 Census

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and it got me to thinking.  MLK really was a great man and a hero in the civil rights movement.  I am often surprised at how little people know about him.  For instance, he was a life-long Republican and a conservative one at that, if his “I have a dream” speech is representative of his beliefs.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

Dr. King dreamed of a colorblind society.  The ultimate logical extrapolation of the Great American Melting Pot, a concept first penned in 1782 by J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur in his Letters from an American Farmer that acquired its common name from the 1908 play The Melting Pot.   He believed that being an American overshadowed an individual’s color, sex, and ancestry.

The Melting Pot view of America was pushed heavily in the 1970s and I’ve internalized it to the point that it is Truth.  It seems blatantly obvious to me that people are the same and deserving of the same respect regardless of their genetic attributes and origins, and the only fair criteria for judging people are their actions and intent.  As a result, I was quite surprised when I was informed in 1990 by an RA in the dorms at Penn State McKeesport that what I believed was no longer true.  She informed me that people were not the same under their skin and should be judged differently because of it.  Later I would learn that this opposite philosophy, which snuck up while I wasn’t paying attention, was called Diversity.

Diversity puts color, sex and ethnicity above being American.  It is a philosophy that divides people and, from my point of view, is indistinguishable from racism.  Considering the following words from Dr. King, I doubt he would have approved.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

And Dr. King would be right not to approve.  Over the last 20 or so years, the progress we made in the 60s, 70s and 80s towards his dream has slowed, if not reversed.  Diversity and its big brother Political Correctness have served to terrify average people, who don’t even understand how to think racially, into tiptoeing on eggshells around anyone that might possibly be different than them.

Such thinking is madness and harms everyone.  Even worse, it’s become institutionalized.  Job applications, school applications, loan applications, and government forms of all types ask us to put ourselves in racial and ethnic categories.  And with our semi-voluntary help, they use that information to divide us further.

A short while ago, I decided to stop helping them do it.  And I’d encourage you to do the same.  Especially when you fill out your 2010 Census form.  As you are probably aware, it is illegal to lie on the Census, so I suggest you fill out your form in the completely honest way that I will:

Race:  Human

Ethnicity: American


Finally, in tribute to Dr. King and his dream, here’s a video I grew up with and I think he would have enjoyed.



Filed under Uncategorized

3 responses to “Martin Luther King Jr. and the 2010 Census

  1. Thom Spellicy

    There are a variety of completely different and unrelated concepts in your argument.

    Yes, Dr.King’s vision of a colorblind society has not been reached at this time.

    Your opinion that the sole purpose of a census is to categorize people by the color of there skin is wrong.

    If our government is going to fix the last 25-30 years of greed that has put us in the ‘not a depression’ that we are in they need a more accurate set of data. The census is so much more than name, race, and citizenship status.

    Yes, the census creates a data base of statistical information. More information known about the actual population and not a smaller sample group is the only way to provide meaningful data. Reality TV should have taught everybody that using using a sample group smaller than the margin for error for the actual population studied produces unwanted assumptions about the whole population.

    When I stopped collecting unemployment I ceased to be unemployed in the eyes of the government. This census will gauge a more accurate picture of the actual number of unemployed in America. Should I feel discriminated against because I fall in that set of data?

    Data is meaningless and harmless in of itself. Individuals place meaning upon it. Obviously you have issues with race. I don’t care. Never have, never will. Nor creed, nor citizenship, nor any label that is placed externally. I grew up after Dr. King’s death in a White family with parents that taught me the meaning of his words, not just the words, but what they really mean. Taking issue with a census as a tool of oppression in a time when our leaders, led by a multicultural and highly educated man of apparently high integrity confounds me.

    What is the content of your character?

  2. You misunderstand. I’m not suggesting that you should refuse to fill out the other questions on the Census. I don’t have a problem with the Census. It’s actually constitutionally required because it’s necessary for representative government and for the electoral college system.

    My point is only that categorizing people by color and ethnicity has become ubiquitous in nearly all government and private paperwork. And such categorization is counter-productive to Dr. King’s dream of a colorblind society. If you believe in King’s Dream as I do, then you can take the action that I have. Categorize yourself as an “American” and a “Human” any time that you are asked, not just on the Census.

  3. Kenneth Hopkins

    Instead of the terms “American” or “Human”, I prefer “Earthling”. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s