Today is the holiday to celebrate once again the birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. I don’t think I’ve ever said this before but every year this holiday comes up I think of how strange it is to have a holiday named after someone who was alive when I was alive. To me, it proves just how remarkable he really was.

As I was writing a newsletter some days ago on the subject of Dr. King and leadership, it seems that there’s so many things that people kind of missed about him and about the overall topic of equality. I kind of encountered that last week when I was visiting a blog where the topic of lists of top bloggers came up.

Once again I was dismayed not to see any black people on the list; there was one person of color, but that person wasn’t American. Actually, neither was the writer, but almost all the people on the list were American so that fact was negated.

I ended up having a conversation with that person, as well as the originator of the post, on why I feel it’s important to see a wider range of people listed in these types of lists. Whereas some might say I’m looking for a quota, there is no quota when there is no representation to begin with.

There’s also no equal opportunity for potential benefits of some of these lists without representation. For instance, CNN and other major outlets usually publish a list of top 25 or top 50 bloggers or people in social media once a year. Last year there wasn’t a single black person on the list; I can’t remember the year before but I think it was the same type of thing. What happens when major outlets print things like this is they link to those blogs, which benefits them in one way, and then people follow those links to see what they’re all about, and that benefits them in another way. These people gain more prominence, which can indirectly lead to monetary gain.

I also often read about these major blogging and social media conferences. Every once in awhile someone mentions that no black names were mentioned, and someone else responds it’s because almost no blacks attended, followed by there weren’t any, or almost no, black presenters at those conferences. That was actually something I myself experienced in November when I presented at a conference and was not only the one black presenter but one of very few black people there as well.

Dr. King uttered the words “content of one’s character” in his 1963 speech in Washington, the famous “I Have A Dream” speech, and it was a great one. I don’t think these days that the reality of exclusion is intentional, with the idea being to hold anyone down.

I believe it’s an idea of exclusion based on a kind of apathy. In essence, people don’t think about it when they come upon it. In one way it’s good because Dr. King hoped that people might be color blind in their daily dealings. In another it’s bad because it’s untrue; people aren’t as color blind as it’s believed. There was a response I got on that same blog post I referenced where a person said she didn’t believe there were any problems with race, that she was “sure” there were a lot of minority bloggers out there. However, she also admitted that she could only think of 2, neither being black or American; that didn’t bode well for her argument.

I don’t talk about these things because I’m radical necessarily. I talk about them because someone has to keep the topic alive. Someone besides Roland Martin, who writes a wonderful column for CNN that, if you read the comments, people don’t understand and certainly are missing both the point of what he writes and their own prejudiced beliefs, has to take a stand and say these things. Dr. King said “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

So I won’t stay silent, but I’m not going to beat anyone over the head with it either. As I looked back on 2011 I found that I didn’t write that many articles on the topic of diversity, and those I did write got almost no activity; people are kind of scared of diversity and race questions, it seems. So I share those here again as I end this post honoring the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr on the day this country celebrates his birthday in 2012, and if the Mayans aren’t correct hopefully I’ll be here to do the same thing again in 2013.

Will True Inclusion Ever Be Possible?

Black History Month – Two Looks Backward

As Black History Month Winds Down

Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall

The Ethics Of Exclusion

Why I Talk About Race

Intentional Unintentional Freudian Slips

When Racism Is Unhidden

Content Of One’s Character – Major Fail

King Assassination Anniversary – A Different Take On Things
 

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