Thoughts on MLK Day … when do we get past race and grow as the human race?

While thinking about Martin Luther King Jr.  during the three-day weekend celebrating his life, my thoughts turn to “Star Trek,” the Golden Globe-winning movie “Green Book,” and Sasezley Richardson.

Whoopi Goldberg wanted to be on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” because she was a fan of the original “Star Trek,” which ran on network television from 1966-69.

When Goldberg was a little girl, she watched actress Nichelle Nichols play Lt. Uhura in the ’60s show and, has said during interviews, “Oh, we are in the future.”

Nichols, according to stories, later said Dr. King told her how important her “Star Trek” role was in promoting racial equality.

What I think about looking back at “Star Trek” decades later is by the 23rd Century race no longer mattered. We had moved past discussing the difference of someone’s skin color.

We ain’t there yet.

We ain’t there yet.

I was painfully reminded of that 20 years ago.

Sasezley Richardson was a young African-American man in Elkhart, Indiana, gunned down by two pieces of human excrement  who shot him to gain a spider-web tattoo from the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang.

I was editor of the Elkhart Truth when we broke the story.

It was a brutal  reminder the most extreme examples of racism were still alive in America and over the past 20 years there are too many ongoing examples of abhorrent behavior, including police  killings.

Maybe one day we’ll get to where “Star Trek” arrived in the future.

Overall, though, things are better in our country in terms of race.

Lubbock Unified School District Schools no longer have segregated sports teams, which existed until the 1960s.

TV commercials show couples of  different races … unheard of until just recently.

I’m proud we elected an African-American man as president. I didn’t vote for him because I disagreed with his policies …

I’m proud we elected an African-American man as president. I didn’t vote for him because I disagreed with his policies  … government was the answer to all our problems. But I respected him as a person … especially after spending some time with him in 2004 during an editorial board meeting at my Illinois newspaper when he ran for Senate.

I’m a Los Angeles Dodgers fan because I’m from Los Angeles … but also because my team integrated baseball with Jackie Robinson in 1947.

But a lot of people act as if nothing has improved.

I loved the movie “Green Book,” which tells the story of African-American pianist Don Shirley and the white man he hired to drive and protect him  during a tour of the South in the early 1960s.

The movie … which won a Golden Globe and was honored this weekend as best film by the Producers Guild of America … has been criticized for being a story of a “white savior,” called racially tone deaf and ripped because white men made the movie.

Ludicrous.

No one in Lubbock complained when I wrote a piece for the Avalanche-Journal a few years ago about the last Dunbar High School basketball team to win a state title in the mid-1960s when sports were still segregated. It was a story I was honored to tell.

“Green Book” shows how both  men helped the other grow as people amid examples of blatant racism during their tour.

Excellent film.

There’s a scene where Mahershala Ali, who plays Shirley , asks his companion Tony: “So if I’m not black enough and if I’m not white enough, then tell me, Tony, what am I?”

We still use stereotypes because it’s easier than actually getting to know a person.

But for some people, the movie will never be good enough.

But for some people, the movie will never be good enough.

Maybe we have moved past race and we’ve moved into two groups in America …  the first group is people who are victims and see the world through that lens. The second is people who fully take  responsibility for their actions.

When you’re a victim, the glass isn’t just half full, it’s broken and the shards are cutting you open.

When you see the glass half full, well, it’s a better point of view.

My favorite verse in the Bible is James 1, 2-4.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature  and complete, not lacking anything.”

It’s hard for people to take responsibility when they make mistakes. If their self-esteem is already tenuous, it’s hard to pile on something negative.

But if we want to advance the human race, we must be responsible and, as the verse says, it develops resiliency.

There are victims in all races and there is resilience shown by people of all races.

There are victims in all races and there is resilience shown by people of all races.

I hope if Dr. King were alive today he’d recognize the progress and remind us we can do better.

I have a dream we become a nation of people who don’t look for who to blame … then we really can  live long and prosper.

Lubbock Lights is a website launched in 2018 for conservative commentary and opinion.