Erika Johnsen

In honor of the day celebrating the inspiring dream that Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned for our country, Congressman Allen West has published a powerful message on his Facebook page, asking that the President refrain from playing race-card politics in 2012. In order to truly accomplish MLK's dream, it's absolutely crucial to distinguish genuine racism from legitimate disagreements between people who happen to be of different skin colors, instead of carelessly throwing around accusations of racism for political gain.

I was born in the inner city of Atlanta in 1961, when segregation was still rife, at a time when I would have been barred from visiting the very beaches that make up part of the congressional district I so proudly represent.

Just two years after my birth, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. momentously described his dream that one day his children would “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.”

How proud he would have been on that November Tuesday in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States. Clearly, Dr. King’s dream had come true. White voters across America had judged our President by the content of his character, not the color of his skin, and elected a man of color, whose very lineage with a black African father and white American mother, was a literal manifestation of the figurative melting pot of these United States. ...

With all of this progress, why is it that we continue to hear charges of racism emanating from the left, and most disturbingly, from the White House itself? It seems anytime there is criticism of the President or any of his black members of his administration, such as Attorney General Eric Holder, that criticism is decried as racist. ...

All Americans, black or white – and every shade in between – must be allowed to voice their opinions, level their criticisms and engage in candid discussion without fear of being labeled “racist” simply because of the color of their skin. This is precisely what Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of so eloquently, and what we celebrate today.


Erika Johnsen

Erika Johnsen is a Web Editor for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @erikajohnsen.