It has been 50 years since the the heyday of the American Civil Rights movement established the rights and equality of all citizens, regardless of race, and put an end to Jim Crow laws and segregation in this country. It is nearly 45 years since the leader of that movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. It has been 27 years since the establishment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national holiday, which will be observed Monday.
The nation has been making progress in the acceptance and tolerance of all races, but sadly, there are still examples of bigotry and racism in our country. Even more sadly, some of these examples are commited by children.
Most recently, at Washburn High School in Minneapolis, a small group of students was suspended for dangling a dark-skinned baby doll by its neck with a piece of string. Earlier, in November, a ninth-grader in western Wisconsin was suspended for leaving a small noose and a KKK symbol on the desk of one of the few black students in the school. The student said it was meant as a joke.
Can young people be this insensitive? Can they be so ignorant of the history of racial discrimination, of lynchings and terrible atrocities committed because of racial hatred?
Much more education needs to be done to root out bigotry, until everyone realizes that it is just not acceptable.
When that day arrives, it will indeed be a day to celebrate the legacy and the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.