A Happy Amnesia On MLK Jr. Day
I’m too young to remember what the creators of RememberSegregation.org are asking me to relive. But the landing page pulls me back to a previous life, a regressive and haunting reminder things weren’t always as they are. The page opens with a command to classify yourself-white visitors to the left, colored visitors to the right.
|Remembering A Defining Time|
COLORED, I balked. There’s a word you don’t hear anymore-not on the street anyway. I looked at my skin, at the hues of pink and olive and crayon-label “flesh.” Am I white or colored?
But that’s a stupid question, isn’t it? I know the answer without overanalyzing. Nobody ever assailed me on account of my skin color. The lack of impediment was surest sign of my lack of pigment. And growing up it was made perfectly clear which side I was to be on, even if the signs had long been taken down. I clicked “White Visitors” guiltily-especially after recalling my splash of Cherokee blood.
The site brought up a stern warning to folk unlike me-pigment-wise anyway.
“If you are a member of the Negro race, please note that state law requires that you obey all signage and stay within the boundaries of your separate but equal online spaceAny further infringement of these guidelines will result in immediate ejection from the site, and notification of the proper authorities.”
The notion of being shunned for what you are, not for what you do was a foreign concept to me. Proper authorities? For being?
To be: To exist in actuality
What the website, created by Seattle-based advertising company DDB Worldwide Communications Group, had artfully done was to remind me of the reasons for the lack of signage in the modern world. I was supposed to react the way I did.
My horror, not a sense of entitlement, was the desired goal of the site dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his tireless gatherings. The conventional mind along with its conceptions of race was changed because of the efforts of a progressive and righteous movement that achieved a progressive and righteous outcome.
This is why we are taught of and celebrate Dr. King’s contribution and courage-because many of us are too young to remember the way things were-and that’s good thing.
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Click on the Google logo at the home page for about 24 million search results about the man being honored today.