Commentary: Air Force training recognizes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

  • Published
  • By David Frazer
  • 482d Fighter Wing

Recent Air Force trainings championing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s lessons on appreciation, diversity, inclusion, and equality came together like a Georges Seurat painting.

Each component itself cannot be appreciated without the others. Standing six inches in front of a Seurat painting, one can only see thousands of different colored dots. You cannot enjoy what it all means, nor the time it took to place them. Only when you step back can you take in how each of the different dots and brushstrokes come together to form something awe-inspiring. It’s the same with people. 

Suppose you focus on the contributions of one group in society or another. In that case, you cannot appreciate how the masterpiece of equality came to be in the United States.

As the son of an Airman, it means for me to continue to be the best version of myself in academics, leadership, and sports—but, I too, must recognize the dots and brushstrokes already placed on the canvas and how they contribute.

As a biracial male who identifies as African American, I have experienced the defiant echoes of the past—name-calling, bullying, and mockery as the “token” African American male in the room. To my friends and family, it sounds horrible. It elicits profound emotions of sadness for me, anger towards the offending individuals, and discussions of how far we’ve not come. But I don’t see it that way.

At the level of the individual, community, or nation, it’s clear we’ve come a long way. Air Force training on diversity and inclusion has significantly aided the progress within and outside the wire. The training become dinner table discussion topics for my and other Airmen’s families.

Not so long ago, I would not have been able to enter the high school I attended, let alone sit in the classroom next to my fellow students of different backgrounds. The changes brought about by Dr. King Jr. and his sacrifices have paved the way for me and countless others.

Our unique demographics and perspectives have demonstrated inherent value across all domains and segments in our society—especially in the Air Force. The military, entertainment, sports, politics, scientific breakthroughs—no area in American society is free from today’s influence of minorities.

Whatever your race, skin color, socioeconomic status, age, or gender we all belong in the Air Force family. Like the painting, we are the individual dots and brushstrokes on many canvases. And like Dr. King Jr.’s greatest masterpiece; the “I Have A Dream” speech, you have to remember sometimes—step back and appreciate.

Editor’s Note: David Frazer is the son of Lt. Col. Troy Frazer, 482d Medical Squadron flight surgeon, at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of the Air Force.