50 years after MLK march, many feel we're not there yet - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

50 years after MLK march, many feel we're not there yet

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Meet Torin Archbold and Nelson Linder.

The color of their skin may be similar but their views on race relations in America are very different.

Archbold is a board member for the Austin Tea Party Patriots...while Linder is the spokesperson for the Austin NAACP.

With Martin Luther King's famous march now 5 decades in the rearview mirror, I asked them how they think race relations are going in society.

"We went very far in race relations.  Figure most of your biggest sports athletes right now are black.  Most endorsements are black.  You've got Lebron James in basketball, you had Michael Vick until you had the unfortunate dog incident.  But you've got so much that is happened positive with blacks...individual blacks that have gone out there and succeeded and done incredible things," Archbold said.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Linder feels that if MLK were alive today he would give the status of civil rights a '7.'  He says we've still got a ways to go.

"Rate of poverty has fallen by 14%.  We've had increased grad rates in high school.  We have more college graduates.  Medium income has doubled.  That's the good news.  Bad news is that today in 2013, our unemployment rate is quite a bit higher and there's still a huge gap between the white median income and the black median income so there are challenges that remain and most of them I think are systemic and institutional," Linder said.

Both men realize there are still some problems.  It seems like there is more racial tension popping up all the time...like the Trayvon Martin situation and last week's killing of a white Australian baseball player by 3 teens...2 of them black and one white -- they told police they did it out of boredom.

Some conservative pundits are saying that a "race war" is coming.  Neither Archbold or Linder believe that.

"Trayvon Martin should be a cautionary tale.  And not a folk hero.  How do you not get killed?  What do you not do?  And in that sense, Trayvon Martin can actually bring something into the black community," Archbold said.

Archbold had a direct question for Linder.

"How is Trayvon Martin racist and this not?  And if white people have to explain George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, why don't black people have to explain this kid killing the Australian baseball player?  Accountability needs to happen, there needs to be accountability," Archbold said.

Linder responds by saying last week's killing is tragic and it is worthy of discussion.

"How do we stop that problem?  It's not a political issue.  It's a moral issue.  We should condemn it as much as possible and encourage people to respect all human beings.  These young people nowadays, many of them are on a different planet.  And when you see crime sprees like that it tells me that they're not connecting at all in our society," Linder said.

My last question to both gentlemen...how can we solve racial issues?

"We have the voting rights act, civil rights act, but now we have institutions today that are still racist.  So the question becomes how does this generation serve it's purpose?  How do we dismantle institutions that still perpetuate racism?  I think we have to be involved.  Also we have to build new institutions that embrace everybody," Linder said.

"They need to look at themselves.  Stop looking at white people.  Look at themselves as a family and individual and fix their own problems within themselves and society will take care of itself from that point," Archbold said.

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