No, we can't possibly let go of the victimology that, for too many people, goes with being black.
The focus of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 wasn't what had been accomplished — but rather his view of what still needed to be done.
More than four decades later, King scholars say he would take the same approach at this historic moment — the inauguration of the first black president at a time when the nation is facing its greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The crisis could widen the already large financial gaps between whites and blacks and make it more difficult to attain King's dream of economic equality in America.
"I believe that Dr. King would caution us not to rest on the election of a black president and say our work here is done," said Kendra King, associate professor of politics at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.
Nope, there's an economic gap between blacks and whites, so our work here isn't done. NAACP is still necessary. United Negro College Fund is still necessary. Urban League is still necessary. Affirmative action (i.e., racial discrimination) is still necessary.
It doesn't matter that this gap is caused not by skin color, but by a culture that devalues the very traits that promote wealth. It doesn't matter that this gap is self-created.
It only matters that we not give up that victimhood.
Oh, and any reporter who says "the nation is facing its greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression" is either an idiot or a liar. I remember the late 1970s, and these ain't them.
Update, 1/19/09: This is good. I'm not at all certain it will last.
More than two-thirds of African-Americans believe Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision for race relations has been fulfilled, a CNN poll found -- a figure up sharply from a survey in early 2008.