Thursday, January 21, 2010

Have we forgotten MLK was a champion for economic justice?

I should've posted this on MLK Day or last week on King's actual birthday. But I must've been thinking the same thing as NYT columnist Bob Herbert with regard to the King holiday this year. Herbert writes that despite all the celebration, from the school & workdays off, to the speechifying to the ridiculous MLK parties thrown by promoters in every city, we all seem to have lost sight of the part of King's vision that's perhaps most relevant of our time: the fight for economic justice.

I've written numerous times that a man who once impressed me (but later disappointed) told me in the early months after my college graduation that "the civil rights movement of the 21st Century is economic." That turned out to be prophetic: with the first decade of the millennium in the books, a devastating recession is eroding gains made in home ownership, income and employment equity that for the better part of two generations were the legacy of Dr. King's civil rights era. In short, we're moving backwards and despite a Black prez, there isn't much in the way of progressive economic policy being done to help, Herbert argues.

Amen. He's right and that hints at the reason for this blog's very existence: As with other hard-fought social gains, the only true way to maintain economic gains is through education, and financial education is woefully inadequate at any level in our system, from pre-K through college. So, not to be too high-minded, but when you read this blog and think about how you can transform your finances, remember that there are people who marched, fought and died for your right to do that, too.


1 comment:

D Lee said...

Thank you for this post. I agree that the 'celebration' of the day has truly become lost. The messages he shared about what equality really means is lost, or skewed at worst.

I didn't make the connection about economic justice, but it's in the messages I learned about Dr. King's fight for equal opportunities. I feel he simply wanted everyone to have the same opportunity to achieve in our country, regardless of what they looked like. I couldn't agree more. And, many places have achieved this despite quotas or other regulations. Dr. King would be proud that many places hire people simply based on their ability to do a job.

I wonder if he'd be disappointed in those who have no desire to take advantages of the economic opportunities before them. And, would he be disappointed in those enable these people to live below their full potential?

Kudos to your blog and it's sound financial message.