I must admit, I get a little anxious when people go off about how white people don't know anything about treachery that other races have faced. I will admit wholeheartedly that I can't possibly sympathize, not having literally been treated as a black person because I am not, but that I can empathize...I can empathize with the best of them. I have found it hurtful to read that "white people" this or that, and also that "black people/asian people/indian people/hispanic people this and that." Because grouping people says a few things: 1) I don't respect that there are individuals that are different within this group, and 2) You (other group) are different than me and therefore cannot relate to me on any level.
Having said that, there are many things that I cannot and will not ever understand. I was born into a family that embraced every person for being a good human being and reprimanded and frowned upon any behavior that did otherwise. I grew up the only white child in an all black pre-school and I only recognize this as an adult looking at pictures...as a child, unless you are told, there's no reason to even notice this. To this day I am appalled and speak out against hatred toward ANY people and I tend to feel extremely offended when I am then lumped into a group of "white people that don't get it." I don't get what it is like to be black. I get what it is like to defend humanity. I get what it is like to question a story because someone says "...black kids were doing such and such" and I say "does it matter that they were black? What do you REALLY mean to say?" I get what it is to tell someone that they don't understand immigration, why it occurs, how it occurs, and what it is to be in their position, so they need to research and communicate with all sides instead of repeating everything you're told from one perspective.
White people who hadn't experienced slavery or being black also were beaten and jailed during the tumultuous time of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in defense of their friends and family members and just plain human dignity. They did so against the will of other family members and "friends" who disagreed with their position to uphold human rights and dignity. So please, be kind and careful when you say "you don't understand" and remember that none of us really understand. We're all doing our best to make positive changes and being told that "we don't get it" really isn't a very encouraging way to instigate more positive change.
Let's work together. Find the similarities. Work for one another instead of against. Exude the legacy of MLK and ALL of his goals and dreams and aspirations. Change has occurred and will continue to do so by peaceful means.
And now, an article that, despite it's separation of races to explain a point, allows me to appreciate the history and detail that really explain to the reader what MLK did and why it's so important not to make the celebration of his life about "just one speech."