Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy makes his living tilting at this particular windmill with his thematically repetitive columns. Specifically he peddles the erroneous concept that a person, based solely upon superficial ethnicity, should blame society-at-large for a poor value system that informs worse individual behavior often leading to tragic results. For example, in last week's 'For black youths, path to ruination, not success,' Mr. Milloy unfairly ignored the possibility of minority access to the American Dream through academic achievement. Specifically, last week's bogeyman was the fault not of poor individual choices, but the public school system which Mr. Courtland mischaracterized as simply a 'school-to-prison pipeline.' This assertion subtly infers that they are, in effect, the same thing: a societal holding cell victimizing the undesirable. Worse still, Mr. Milloy's ideas imply the absurd standard of lower expectations predetermined by one's skin color.
Certainly, the Ben Carsons of the world prove that effort, focus and character with a splash of good luck are enough to rise above poverty, humble beginnings or an ineffective public school system. This week, Mr. Milloy is at it again with black youths in the 'valley of the shadow of death.' In both cases Mr. Milloy pigeonholes the same disadvantaged minority group as societal victims solely due to their pigmentation: the exact opposite of the intention of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and, in specific, his seminal “Dream” speech in which he proclaimed:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
In this way, Dr. King desired to unify our culture as a color blind society in which to make an analogy one sees a human being as a Picasso masterpiece rather than the irrelevant frame that adorns him. On the other hand, Mr. Milloy's picture is framed by his mention of the historically charged racial conflicts of Selma and his complaints of economic inequality as backdrops to blame this generation's epidemic of black-on-black homicide. Therefore, unlike Dr. King--who no doubt would hold individuals of every stripe responsible for their actions--Mr. Milloy cryptically blames some vague overarching devil-made-me-do-it societal influence. To use his exact phrase the “morally disgraceful nation” is the truly responsible party.Well, who is that exactly? Tying all elements of his narrative together suggests a subtle swipe at the dominant group (whites) that runs this country. And assuming that Mr. Milloy is correct, does pointing it out in such a divisive manner promote the understanding and harmony that Dr. King wanted or is the net effect its opposite, the furtherance of discord and alienation? Perhaps Mr. Milloy should take the context of Dr. King's words to heart before scribbling more of his own.