Leonard Pitts Jr., at the Miami Herald, asks pointed questions about race in America as the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. “What have you chosen not to see?” he asks. “What will you do to make it right?”
This is “tomorrow.”
Meaning that unknowable future whose unknowable difficulties Martin Luther King invoked half a century ago when he told America about his dream. If you could somehow magically bring him here, that tomorrow would likely seem miraculous to him, faced as he was with a time when segregation, police brutality, employment discrimination and voter suppression were widely and openly practiced.
Here in tomorrow, after all, the president is black. The business mogul is black. The movie star is black. The sports icon is black. The reporter, the scholar, the lawyer, the teacher, the doctor, all of them are black. And King might think for a moment that he was wrong about tomorrow and its troubles.
It would not take long for him to see the grimy truth beneath the shiny surface, to learn that the perpetual suspect is also black. As are the indigent woman, the dropout, the fatherless child, the suppressed voter, and the boy lying dead in the grass with candy and iced tea in his pocket.
King would see that for all the progress we have made, we live in a time of proud ignorance and moral cowardice wherein some white people — not all — smugly but incorrectly pronounce all racial problems solved.
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