I just finished watching Oprah. Today is MLK Day and watching her feature episodes on racism were inspiring; such as the bravery of the children of The Little Rock Nine. One of Dr. King's quotes refer to the voices of his enemies being drowned out by the silence of those who watched such offenses to another human being, and said nothing. I wonder what I would have done.
In 1968, when MLK was assassinated at age 39, I watched the chaos on our black and white TV. I did not entirely understand the significance; but I picked up the gravity of those events from the energy of the adults around me. I look back now and realize what historical and electrifying times those were; the Vietnam War, the '68 Democratic convention, MLK, RFK and Sirhan Sirhan's deaths'--all shown on television. Racism sickens me. and as a Caucasian person, I struggle with the collective, historical guilt of what people with my skin color did to people with a different skin color.
Today, if my children refer to their friend, fellow Marine, roommate, etc, their descriptions never include skin color. I am really glad about that. And the word, "nigger," seems less charged to my younger co-workers. Jay Z uses it in his craft to take the power out of the word; and to remind people that somethings are still not being talked about.