JC Hayward and Andrew Young
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The events marking the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington culminate Wednesday. President Obama will deliver a speech from the same spot where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the nation.
Former UN ambassador and mayor Andrew Young joined us on Monday. At the time of the March on Washington, Young was working with the SLCC.
A recent Quinnipac Poll found that 45% of people today think they are judged mainly on the color of their skin, 44% believe people are judged mainly on the content of their character and 60% say their children will live in a nation where they are judged mainly on their character.
"About that survey, I think they are probably all right. For many people, the judgment is, first of all, on color. But the same people, once your character and personality shows through, they forget the color and they relate to your character and that is the reason I always say it doesn't matter what people think of you. It is what you think of people. And you are a good example of that," said Young to WUSA 9's JC Hayward.
He told her, "You project your personality over the air, all over the world, and ... who cares what color you are? You are a beautiful, intelligent woman and you make everybody feel good."
About the continued existence of racism, Young said, "All men fall short of the glory of God, and women do, too. We are not a nation of saints, we are not a world of saints. We are a world of sinners, struggling to understand the beauty of God's handy work. Some people make it easier than others. Some people, usually when somebody doesn't like me, it is because they have had a previous experience with somebody, maybe their own parents have taught them not to like people of color.
"I had to deal with that going up in New Orleans 75 years ago, 80 years ago, that my neighbors, who are Irish and Italian and German, were not supposed to play with colored children. Except we had the basketball goal in your yard."
Asked what Dr. King would he say if he were here today, Young replied, "I think Martin was a visionary, but he was not an optimist. He knew the weakness and the frailty of humanity. He knew that, he hoped that his children would be judged by the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin."
He continued, "But I don't think he had any illusions that we would become a raceless nation, in our lifetime. In fact, he did say that he expected to see a black president before long. So he would not have been surprised. He probably would have been surprised if I had said I was going to be a congressman from Georgia. He would say on the road from Selma to Montgomery, he would say, 'you have been in the sun too long, sit down in the shade and get you a drink of water, it is not going to happen that fast.'"