A new CNN poll found that two-thirds of blacks believe Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for race relations has been fulfilled.
The CNN-Opinion Research Corp. survey was released Monday, a federal holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader and a day before Barack Obama is to be sworn in as the first black U.S. president.
The poll found 69 percent of blacks said King’s vision has been fulfilled in the more than 45 years since his 1963 “I have a dream” speech — roughly double the 34 percent who agreed with that assessment in a similar poll taken last March.
But whites remain less optimistic, the survey found.
“Whites don’t feel the same way — a majority of them say that the country has not yet fulfilled King’s vision,” CNN polling director Keating Holland said. However, the number of whites saying the dream has been fulfilled has also gone up since March, from 35 percent to 46 percent.
“Has that dream been fulfilled? With the election of Barack Obama, two thirds of African-Americans believe it has,” CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider said.
“Most blacks and whites went to bed on election night saying, ‘I never thought I’d live to see the day.’ That’s what the nation is celebrating on this King holiday: We have lived to see the day,” Schneider said.
Well, I didn’t expect to see that day either, but it will happen tomorrow. That said, I’m clearly not in the camp of those polled who believe King’s dream has been fulfilled. Just based on my small universe of blogging and personal experience, too many people cannot even discuss race without getting tied in knots, in terrible arguments or falling silent, or afraid to speak their minds.
People in this country cannot even come to an agreement on whether our new president is black or biracial — his actual racial composition or his race “assigned” by our culture.
Look at the attempted and actual voter suppression that continues to go on today — misleadling robocalls, voter registration intimidation, not enough or broken voting machines in majority-black precincts. The Voting Rights Act will be reviewed by the Supreme Court later this year. The CNN poll found two-thirds of blacks questioned said the Act is still necessary, only half of whites do. That’s a serious disconnect given the recent organized attempts at voter suppression. The good news and story in 2008 is that the sheer number of young and minority voters who came out and did cast their ballots represented a tidal wave of new registrants activated by the prospect of voting for Barack Obama.
Blacks are Tased and shot by police far greater numbers than whites in encounters in pre-trial, extra-judicial summary electrocutions and executions. Take a look at the Blend Taser files to see the long list of incidents documenting police out of control. Look at the case of Oscar Grant. That is not King’s dream fulfilled. Look at the Blend McCain/Palin mob files.
There is much work to do.
I Have a Dream