Mike Kueber's Blog

January 21, 2014

San Antonio’s MLK March

Filed under: Culture,Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 10:13 am

Yesterday, I attended San Antonio’s MLK March along with 175,000 other people.  Inexplicably, San Antonio has one of the smallest African-American populations of any major American city (7%), but its MLK March is one of the largest.  I was prompted to attend by my best friend, a northeastern liberal who likes to bring his daughter and grand-daughter to this event to show his historical interest in the advancement of civil rights.

We arrived at the terminus of the march, Pittman-Sullivan Park in east SA, around noon, and most of the light-skinned marchers were already lined up to catch their buses home while most of the dark-skinned people stayed to listen to the speeches.  About 80% of the people who stayed for the speeches were African-American.  Most of the speeches were by white politicians and came off as lame, while the black speakers and musicians were inspirational.

What does this participation pattern mean?  I suspect that light-skinned people, like my best friend, are showing their respect for the accomplishments of MLK, but that the current political coalition is like the Platte River in Nebraska – a mile wide and an inch deep.


p.s., one of Mayor Castro’s assistants posted an entry on Facebook about the success of the March, and I commented as follows:

Mike Kueber I wonder if the effectiveness of the march is diminished because so few of them stick around for the speeches at Pittman Park.  My estimate is that 80% of those who stayed are African-American.

Jeanne Russell  Why would that be? I know that I go – with my children – every year – so that we can celebrate the life and teaching of Martin Luther King Jr. We talk about it, we revel in the fact that all types of people from our community come together on this day, and we spend that one day remembering his words and his actions, often reading from them. We listen to some of the speeches, but I do not see that one needs to listen to the speeches to fully participate in this amazing march.
Mike Kueber I’m just thinking that those who march, but go home without hearing the speeches, are missing something important; kind of like going to a Catholic mass without hearing the homily.