The White People in the Comments

When do we finally look beyond colour?

Steve QJ
LEVEL

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Photo: Dmitry Ageev/Getty Images

According to writer Gyles Brandreth, the average person speaks around 860,341,500 words during their lifetime. If you start talking at one and live to be 80, that’s about 30,000 words a day.

Most will be forgotten by everybody, including you, as soon as they’re out of your mouth. Others will stick around for a few weeks before drifting into obscurity. But now and then, someone says something we’ll remember for years or even generations afterward. Their words express just the right idea, in just the right way, at just the right time.

If you ask me, there’s no better example of this than Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Nearly everyone knows this speech. Black people know it. White people know it. Racists know it. Even if you don’t have it memorised, it’s almost impossible to hear the words “I have a dream” and not mentally add some version of the next 98:

“…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. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification,” one day right there in Alabama…

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Steve QJ
LEVEL

Race. Politics. Culture. Sometimes other things. Almost always polite. Find more at https://steveqj.substack.com