Fifty years ago, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., to express their support for human rights. Out of the speakers, none of which were women, Martin Luther King Jr. made the biggest impact with his "I Have a Dream" speech. All those decades ago, King said, "This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism." But isn't that the very thing America has done since the 1960s?
Sure things have changed on the surface. I would like to think the everyday American doesn't judge people by their skin color; however, there is still a problem under that thin veneer of civility. Go from the O.J. Simpson trial and the L.A. riots of the late 1990s to the Zimmerman trail this year and you'll see our nation has not gotten over some of its problems when it involves race. The reason could be that the Civil Rights movement was too soft. It didn't shake up our complacent natures enough. We were told everyone was equal, but what sacrifice did we as a people make to ensure that?
Human rights activist Malcolm X was not an admirer of the March on Washington. He saw it as a weakening of the movement. People were not demanding anymore, they were compromising. They weren't taking what was owed to them but asking to have it given to them. He believed revolutions that bring real and lasting change should shake the very foundations of a society.
While I do not agree with his end goals, can we say he was wrong? Can you say the United States was utterly changed down to its core due to the Civil Rights movement or have we really fallen into a decades' long state of gradualism with no end in sight?