WTVM Editorial 8/20/17: Rooting out racism

(WTVM) - It would be amazing to know what Martin Luther King Jr. would think about the current racial divide being played out in deadly clashes around the country in the past few years, and in Charlottesville most recently.

None of us can pretend to know, but surely Dr. King, the proponent of non-violent civil disobedience would be disheartened by the violence touched off by racist haters and white supremacists in Charlottesville.

But it's another part of Dr. King's lasting legacy that offers some common sense clues that should give us all something to think about.

Martin Luther King Jr. was insistent on black Americans being judged for the content of their character not the color of their skin.

That was the theme of one of his most famous speeches, at the march on Washington in 1963.

Dr. King realized that character is what truly determines our identity, not race.

Character is who we are and how we behave and that's what we deserve to be judged on.

Racism is ugly and evil, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, no mater who is doing the hating.

Racial discrimination is illegal at every level of government, in federal, state and local jurisdictions - as well it should be.

We don't have to like the fact that white supremacists do have the right to exist under our constitution.

That is the cost of freedom.

At the same time, we have the constitutional right to peacefully oppose, and oppose vigorously, their destructive ideology whenever we see it.

Unfortunately, we know racism still exists, and everywhere it does, it must be rooted out, exposed and never tolerated.

The Civil Rights movement of the 60's broke historic barriers.

Ever since then, it's been up to each of us to do small things every day to build on those big achievements and contribute to creating a less racist world.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

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