For some reason, of all of Dr. King’s speeches and quotes, this one has stuck with me the most.
“There is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” – MLK jr.
I think what strikes a chord with me is the fact that this statement has come to fruition. I feel that it embodies one of the fundamental ills of today’s generation. The collective self-discipline, desire to learn, succeed and advance in society experienced in Dr. King’s era – partly borne of their common struggle against racial inequity and persecution – has been replaced by a desire to be “cool.” A “cool” developed in the post civil rights era in the midst and wake of Reaganomics with it’s bolstering of the drug trade and subsequent mass incarceration that tore apart the fabric of the black family. The strong values that would have otherwise been passed on from that proud generation were done away by the need for broken families to fend for themselves by any means necessary. Its no surprise that we’ve developed a singular-minded, crabs in a barrel mentality that epitomizes the “sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” that Dr. King feared the most. With that said, I think that one of the things we can do to carry on his legacy is to challenge the notion that the poor life choices that have become commonplace in our communities are “cool” and reinforce the idea and practice of collective will that affected so much positive change under his leadership. With a unified voice, financial and political agenda I think that we’d be able to make good on the sacrifices that he and so many others made to afford us the opportunity to realize our greatness. Maybe its too foolish or lofty a goal but what can I say, I’m a dreamer.