I was chillin’ at the crib and there was a knock at the door. I opened the door and to my amazement there stood Dr Martin Luther King Jr. He was dressed exactly the way they dressed in the 60’s. You know with the suits and the thin neckties, only he was in black and white like an old movie and the rest of the world was still in color. He explained to me that he had been gone for quite some time now (over35 years) and was lost. He said that the world had changed so much and hoped that I could help him get reacquainted with our society so he could find his way back to his family.I invited him in and told him to make himself comfortable. When Martin sat in front of my entertainment system, he asked me about all the contraptions connected to my television set. I explained that one was my VCR and one was my DVD player. Martin asked,”What’s a VCR?” “What’s a DVD?” I explained both technologies to him and he was astonished.

Then he asked about the third box. I told him that was my cable box. Based upon the confused look on his face, it was apparent that this too needed explaining. I turned on the television and after a brief description and instruction on the use of the remote control he was off clicking from channel to channel. After a few minutes, Martin was working the remote like a pro! Being a man made it real easy for him to fall in love with the remote control. He was very impressed by the fact that there were so many channels geared towards specific interests, sports especially (ESPN). He continued further and eventually stopped at one of the music channels that were airing their hip-hop program. Dr. King asked, “What is this?” I explained that it was a music video and that’s the way today’s music is presented to the public. As one thuggishly blinged out video after another was aired, I noticed a cease in questions. Martin was silent and his facial expressions changed from amazement to distress and disappointment. He asked.”Is this what our music has come to? Is this supposed to be progress?” “Why do our women condone this obscene portrayal of their manhood? 

Have they forgotten the abuse, emotional and physical rape that their female ancestors had been subjected to? And why do our young men act this way? Obsessed with materialism and being disrespectful to our women?” I told him its called, “thuggin”. He asked me to explain what thuggin was. I said, “It means to be hard and unfeeling? Uh you know? a gangsta ? ride or die? cash rules everything. Having no respect for anything or anyone. Any negative quality about a man. After several strange looks from Martin, I then realized that there was no way to explain or justify “thuggin” to an intelligent person like him. So I changed the subject. Abruptly Martin asked, “Could anyone else see these videos?” Anyone who pays for cable, I replied. “You mean to tell me that you actually pay money willingly to witness this?” Martin asked. I could only answer yes, but I felt ashamed to admit this to such a righteous man. Martin asked, “Is this behavior accepted by everyone? Where have all the ministers, pastors and leaders gone?” I told him, there haven’t been any who are willing to step out there and put it on the line since you left here. Martin said very sadly, “I never worried about leaving here because I was so sure that there would be more who would come after me to step up and carry on the fight for equality and respect. Martin becoming more and more disgusted watching the videos being aired stood up and said, “This is how we overcame? He grabbed my cable box, ripping it from the back of the T.V., and smashed it on the floor.

Being who he was and knowing deep down he was right. I couldn’t get mad. As we stood there looking at the wreckage that was once my cable box with an awkward silence, Martin then apologized and asked could we please leave because he just wanted to see his family. “Is there any place that I can go to get some gifts for my family?” Martin asked. I knew just the place. We got in my car and headed to the mall. Dr. King was fascinated by the size of the mall and selection of different stores. It must have been a weekend because as we started to walk around, I noticed that the mall was filled predominately with teenagers. Many of them were loud and using profanity. Martin asked a young brother in front of a group of his friends why is it necessary to be so profane and conduct himself in way that was not only disrespectful to himself> but to his people.The young brother said, “F—- you man! Ni**a, you ain’t my daddy! I had to restrain Martin from disciplining the young brother. I asked the teenager, “Do you know who this is? He replied, “Hell naw, he ain’t iced out so why should I care!” At this point I was ready to snatch my man up, but Martin urged me to let it go.

After Dr. King was able to calm down, he realized that the young people were only imitating what they saw on the music videos that he had seen earlier. “They have been infected with the ignorance of the images they covet. So this is our future?” I suggested that we just get the gifts and go. As I started to walk further, I noticed Martin walking back towards the door that we came in. I ran after him,shouting,” Whoa, where are you going?” With a distressed look Martin said, “I’d rather go back.” Why?” I asked. He said, “You don’t’ understand, I never got to see my kids grow up. I missed the holidays, graduations and birthdays, all in the name of sacrifice. I felt it was necessary to bring about equal opportunity and a brighter future for this generation. All I see is that a few of us got rich and the rest became slaves again.” I said, “What are you talking about, this isn’t slavery!” Martin looked at me and replied, “Oh it isn’t?” He turned and walked towards the doors and exited the mall. I tried to keep him from leaving but out of nowhere this security guard gets in my way and tells me that I can’t go with him. I wrestled myself away and bolted out of the exit but once I got outside he had vanished. 

As I stood outside panning the parking lot to see if I could find him, an Escalade on”24’s” bumpin’ some ignorant thug anthem was coming right at me. All I could do was brace myself for the impact. Right before the SUV hit me, I awoke out of my dream. As I laid in a puddle of sweat, I tried repeatedly to shake the dream but I couldn’t. I remembered those who sacrificed their lives for us and I wondered what it would be like if we had to stand before them and justify what we have become as a race. I also wondered what made me have such a dream. After hours of thinking, I concluded it was probably guilt. The guilt of knowing that we have fallen way short of Martin Luther King’s dream.In fact it’s closer to a nightmare!________________________________

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