Rise, resist racist rantings with our sword of truth

Let’s get real. As far as the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. coming true, from all that has happened since the anniversary of his Jan. 15 birthday last year, it’s pretty clear we’re not there yet.

In fact, in reviewing all the racism-related news both locally and nationally, even to this day, Martin Luther King Day, it looks like this counry has slipped some steps back on the road to the dream.

That doesn’t mean we quit, and the dream is dead. Just the opposite. Now is the time to rise against racism.

As we’ve learned this past year, there is a widespread movement of racists that had been hiding underground, waiting for a time to emerge, which is what they did in 2017, when the political climate in Washington, D.C., seemed to turn in their favor.

While that attitude might temporarily prevail in our nation’s capital, it is certainly not ruling the day where the true American patriots live — not here, not ever.

Through his words and actions, King taught us to speak up and speak the truth, which is the power behind the nonviolent movement toward civil rights he led.

In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he said speaking out against racism creates a positive form of tension.

“We see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood,” he wrote.

We might not be able to immediately fix the racist dysfunction in Washington right now, we can send local racists scurrying back into their holes. Here’s how:

•For white people, if you see or hear someone make racial slurs or comments, say something. Let them know you find that comment offensive.

•For minorities, if someone confronts you with a racial slur or comment, that is a crime. Legally, it meets the definition of an assault, since it puts you in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. Intent to cause physical injury is not required for an assault to be committed, and physical injury does not need to result.

What is a person’s obligation when a crime is committed? They need to report it to the police. Document the crime by filing a report with the local police department by, among other information, a description of the offender and description and plate number of any vehicles involved.

What happens if the police won’t report it to the public? Bring the report to us, and we’ll report it.

All reports filed at police departments are public records, yet police in Michigan don’t allow public review of public crime records. But if you file a report, you can get a copy and send it to us (online at our website link “Submit News,” or bringing it to the office in person and allowing us to copy it), and we’ll make sure it gets into the paper. You can, and should, also write a letter to the editor describing the incident.

If you get backlash for reporting racism, wherever or whomever it comes from, we will print that in the paper via a letter to the editor as well. Victims of racist crimes are protected here by documenting and reporting the truth.

In the memory of King, now is the time for resistance against racism, to drive this scourage back into the shadows — at least in our own back yard.