DORI MONSON

Dori: Kent MLK Jr. Day video features kids demanding apologies

Jan 26, 2022, 1:29 PM | Updated: Jan 27, 2022, 9:09 am
Kent students...
(Kent School District)
(Kent School District)

Success or failure? Many leaders believe the choice starts with attitude.

This was in my head when a listener sent me a link to this month’s Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day video from the Kent School District, featuring students.

Disclaimer: He may be old and dead, but I agree with successful businessman and industrialist Henry Ford, in that what all kids need to learn is that we all have the power of self-determination. Meanwhile, it’s also true that a lot of people have far fewer challenges; many have more.

But it really bothers me when I hear schools promote students saying they “can’t” succeed, when we should be telling all kids that they “can” achieve.

During this video – produced in partnership with Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre – there are some uplifting and healing messages. But there is also a montage of Kent students telling viewers: “I want an apology.”

“Sometimes I can’t help but feel like I need an apology, too,” one student says. “I need an apology for everything that was taken away, opportunities lost, promises unfulfilled. Deferred dreams, deferred again and again. I want an apology for the consequences of decisions made without my permission. My heart aches for an apology that I will never hear.”

Does this reflect the message of Martin Luther King Jr.? Dr. King reminds students in the video, “Each of you is in the process of building the structure of your lives. The question is: Do you have a proper, and a solid and a sound blueprint?”

Another student’s statement about her mixed-race identity follows.

“I want an apology for my dad for making me Black,” the student says. “I want an apology for my dad for making me Black but marrying a white woman so I’m not quite Black. I want an apology for my dad for making me Black but not quite Black but teaching me about Black culture but not enough for me to be Black.”

“I want an apology for my mom for making me white,” the same student continues. “I want an apology for my mom for making me white but for marrying a Black man so I’m not quite white.”

She goes on: “I want an apology for my mom but not quite white for giving me education, and good housing and vocabulary but not enough for me to be white.”

This same student also wants an apology from the world “for making me mixed, but not quite mixed because according to the world, my skin color means I’m Black. I’m gangster, and Jordans and rough neighborhood. But because of my voice, I’m white. I’m a college degree, a doctor or a lawyer.”

“I want an apology but still I apologize for acting white around my Black friends and family. I apologize for acting Black around my white friends and family. I apologize.”

These poor kids. This is what happens when our schools make everybody a victim. These kids are so lost.

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Kent MLK Jr. Day video features kids demanding apologies