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Our Opinion: Reaching toward the dream

January 15, 2001

Generally, race relations are good in the Imperial Valley.

Sure, there are racists in the Valley, and they come in all colors and hues. Some even rise to prominence in our Valley, but when the majority of the people here get a firm indication a person is a racist, that person is quickly removed from the lofty position.

In a majority minority county such as ours, racism simply isn't countenanced in most circles. And in our majority minority county, those traditionally described as minorities are slowly but surely taking the majority of positions of power. For some it may be happening too slowly, but the change in the face of our leadership can't be denied.

So in many ways, Imperial County is a good example as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day today in our country.

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King wanted a world where people of all colors and creeds worked together and worshipped together and played together. We have that in Imperial County. He envisioned a nation where brown, black and white children would walk down the street hand in hand without anyone thinking twice about it. We have that in Imperial County. He looked toward a nation where a person was judged on his or her merits, not on the color of his or her skin. We have that here in Imperial County, at least for the most part.

In racial/ethnic ways, Imperial County is a microcosm of what California is becoming. Our Hispanic population is ascending in so many ways. Our African-American population is well-established and many in it are starting to prosper. Our Native American population in eastern Imperial County is prospering as it never has before, at least materially, thanks to Indian gaming. Our Asian population is growing and prospering, too. And our "Anglo" population, which ranges from dirt poor to filthy rich, is getting more and more comfortable with being the minority.

That is the world to which the rest of California, and much of the rest of the nation, is going to have get accustomed. Those who do not subscribe to King's dream of judging people on their character and not on their skin color are going to be left behind in this country in this millennium.

Most of us have that message here in the Imperial Valley. Those of us who don't need to start opening our eyes and our hearts to it, because Rev. King was right, ever so right.

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