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By Paul Losch

Thoughts on MLK Weekend

Uploaded: Jan 17, 2010

How far we have come, how far we have to go.

Here is a link to Dr. King's speech in 1963. Watch the entire thing, not just the "free at last" conclusion.

There is a trial going on in California about gay marriage.

Much bluster of late about immigration and immigrants.

I remember when King was shot, I was talking with my 8th grade teacher in Houston, and she said more or less--"he's a Communist, he deserves to be shot." Imagine a teacher at a Palo Alto middle school saying something like that to an 8th grader.

Race, sexual orientation, immigrants: attitudes are changing slowly, slowly by generation and geography.

My kids, now young adults, grew up in these rarefied environs of Palo Alto. Gay marriage? What's the problem? Racial differences? In this town, it is a matter of "class" as opposed to race. People who can afford to live here have more in common than less, regardless of ethnic background.

What I feel good about my kids is that many pre-conceived notions that I experienced as a "Boomer" are not part of their belief set. I suspect other Palo Alto parents have a similar perspective.

It is a generational thing.

On the other hand, I am uncertain how what I am observing about Palo Alto is distributed elsewhere in the country. I have spent a great deal of my years traveling around this country for business and pleasure. My perception is what is the case here in the Bay Area is the exception, not the rule.

I have a vivid recollection the day after Obama won the 2008 election, arriving at the Raleigh/Durham airport in North Carolina (which still was not officially decided.) The rent a car place where I was getting my car had 3 black women working the counter. I was the only customer there at the time and I asked them point blank "how do feel about Obama winning the election?" This white guy saw three young women just swell up, there was a palpable feeling that they displayed that I cannot even begin to understand.

I am hopeful. I watched Dr. King's speech before I posted this, and much of what he says in that address has come to pass, and much of it still remains unfinished business.

Those of us who cherish the rights of all must remain vigilant.