WASHINGTON—The nation breathed a sigh of relief today as tens of thousands of Americans of all races disbanded and went their separate ways following a brief gathering in the nation’s capital to celebrate the March on Washington.
For an America tired of bearing the heavy weight of its history of racial strife, the 50th anniversary commemoration of Martin Luther King’s momentous “I Have a Dream” speech signaled an end to the era of caring about racial problems.
“Because they marched, America became more free and more fair,” President Obama proclaimed from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, before adding decisively over resounding applause, “End of story.”
Thousands of proud citizens exited the National Mall on a rainy Wednesday afternoon to embrace apathy and denial in regards to the nation’s ongoing racial issues. Some held signs emblazoned with the question “Trayvon Who?” while others gathered to sing songs such as “We Shall Not Be Moved to Care.”
“For me, this day marks the end of racism,” said Randy Stevens, 56, who regretted that he was too young to attend King’s original march. “If I recall, wasn’t it known as the ‘March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom’? Well, I have a lot of black friends. Most of them have jobs, and all of them are free. So we’re good, right?”
Even as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is being shredded, prisons are overflowing with black men, and shootings rage on Chicago’s south side, many Americans say they are ready to put the issue of race behind them once and for all.
“It was a great speech, but it’s time to move on,” said Angelyn Mitchell, the director of Georgetown’s University’s African American Studies program. “It’s my job to understand race, but even I think it’s getting old. Some people are black; some people are white. Big deal. Does anybody even use water fountains anymore?”
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only African American serving in the U.S. Senate, was not invited to speak at the event, but said through a spokesman that the fact that an African American man can hold office in South Carolina is proof that the nation’s race problem has been solved, adding that Scott was not invited “because he’s member of the GOP, which Democrats feel is a bigger issue than being black.”