Thursday, June 13, 2013

I Have A Dream...

NPR is doing a series commemerating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
NPR's "Tell Me More" staff have asked readers/listeners to share their personal versions of the "dream" speech.

Here's mine -

I have a dream,

That when people meet me in person for the first time, after previously only hearing my voice, they won’t look so shocked that my skin color is so dark. And won’t immediately try to hide their shock by saying something ingenuous like “You’re older than I expected.” Really? That’s what's surprising to you? That I sound younger on the phone?

I have a dream,

That people will stop assuming that because of the color of my skin I have rhythm and can dance. While I am musical, and a very good singer, my sense of rhythm and movement is quite tragic.

I have a dream,

That when I speak fondly of my maternal grandfather, whose mother was a blue-eyed German immigrant who taught him all of the old German cooking secrets, and who inherited his height and stoicism from his Choctaw Indian father, people won't treat my memories like "stories"; fictional and fanciful tales that I've made up because there's no way in hell this dark-skinned woman before you could possibly have had a "white" grandfather who grew up next to an Amish farm in Pennsylvania. 
Or when I show people photos of my mother’s parents, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and cousins, that for once I won’t see disbelief on these people’s faces or hear it in their voice as they say “THAT’S your great grandmother?”

I have a dream,

That even though I have learned to embrace an identity of a “black woman” because the color of my skin brands me so, I have not forgotten, nor do I deny the Native American, and European roots that represent actually the largest percentage of my DNA make-up.

I have a dream, a dream that I hope will come true in the future where the children I won’t have given birth to will know a world where a woman is just a woman. Or just an American. Or can be truly defined as what they are; someone like me – An African-American, Micosookee, Choctaw, Cherokee, German, Scottish hodgepodge.

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