Does the fact that America has selected its first African American president mean Dr. King's dream has been fulfilled?  See below. Please respond to the following statement either supporting it...

Does the fact that America has selected its first African American president mean Dr. King's dream has been fulfilled?  See below.

Please respond to the following statement either supporting it or refuting it.

Now that America has selected its first African American president, one can now make the claim that Dr. King’s dream has now been fulfilled

The fulfillment of this dream negates the need therefore of any and all organizations such as the NAACP and programs such as affirmative action. America has finally proven that we have arrived as  a nation at least in the area of race and all distinctions on the basis of race should be eliminated This includes the eradication of race based scholarships, race based college admissions, the celebration of race based events such as black history month.

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do believe that the election of Pres. Obama means that the US is much more of a racially equal society than it once was.  However, the simple fact that one African American (especially one whose black parent was African, not African American) does not mean that King's dream has been fulfilled.

The exploits of any one individual do not tell us much about social conditions in general.  One person, through a combination of luck, talent, and hard work, can rise much higher than would be expected.  This does not mean that society no longer discriminates against people like Pres. Obama.  It just means that this particular individual happened to make it to the presidency.

I think that the statement that you give us goes too far.  It conflates the accomplishments of one individual with the situation that faces an entire "race" of people.  We should be looking at the average outcomes for African Americans, not at what is accomplished by a select few.

(Just a note... one way to look at this is to say that the fact that some people rise from the ghetto to make millions in the NBA means that there is no need for educational programs that will help disadvantaged kids in the ghettos.  It just doesn't follow that one person "making it" means that everyone has that same chance.)

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I recently heard a famous Black scholar state that racism was a conversation still in process in this country; but that this is a good thing, because in the past, it was a conversation we could not have. I heartily agree. The election of our first Black President was a milestone. As a white southerner who grew up in a racially charged South, I voted for Mr. Obama partially because I agreed with his policies but also partially as a statement of how far this nation has come. We have made gargantuan progress in race relations, but we are not there yet. Racial discrimination developed over a period of 350 years; it cannot disappear in a matter of days. My personal opinion is that we need to see the passing of an entire generation before we are even close to fulfilling Dr. King's dream.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

mwestwood makes an excellent point, and her quote from A Separate Peace is quite appropriate. Americans do not have a patent on racial discrimination; even the ancient Greeks and Romans practiced it to an uncomfortable degree. So she is correct that we will never do away with it. However, I do believe that with the passing of the generation which grew up believing in the rightness of segregation at a time when it was legally sanctioned, we will have moved closer to achieving that ideal; although the ideal itself is probably unattainable. As Hamlet commented, "tis a consummation devoutly to be wished," but perhaps only aimed for, not attained.  An "impossible dream," but still a worthy aim.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since there exists discrimination even within races, it is doubtful that any utopian effect can ever be achieved regarding race or socio-economic equality either. And, it is questionable that the "passing of a generation" will cure things because as Gene declared in A Separate Peace, there is "something ignorant in the heart" that does not want everyone to share equally in any dream.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dr. King wanted equality for everyone, not just African Americans. I do not believe that his "dream" has been entirely fulfilled because there is still a great deal of prejudice and discrimination in the United States. I do feel that having an African American president is a step in the right direction. Because of this we are closer to his "dream" than we have ever been before.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Yes and no. It is a huge step forward for our country as a whole. However the way he has been treated by many, such as the monkey cartoons. There are also still racists in our country. So while we have made a step forward, we are not there yet.
ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, it does not mean this at all. While I am proud of a nation that set aside discrimination enough to elect an African American president, racial inequity still exists especially when you factor in socio/economic factors.

ali001 | Student

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