Stop Quoting Dr. King Please
This is advice that some of you should surely pay attention to. I was watching television the other day when a White female conservative decided to debate Roland Martin and she decided to make the same mistake that Joe Walsh, Tucker Carlson, and other people tend to do; quote Dr. King badly.
If you listen to these pundits, you would only believe that everything that Dr. King said can be summed up in saying, “not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Conservative airhead pundits such as Meaghan McCain and Ann Coulter has posited this to mean that we need more diversity of thought instead of diversity of skin color, culture, and different races. That’s not what Dr. King meant when he made this statement.
During the Ferguson and Baltimore riots, pundits on Fox News made comments about Dr. King and how he would “be embarassed by Black people today”. Conserviatives on Twitter are now stating that Dr. King would be a Donald Trump supporter without any evidence whatsoever. They never met Dr. King and yet they feel comfortable speaking for him. They never seem to quote Dr. King when he stated…
“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I’ve seen this in the comments section of every article like this. It isn’t so much those on the Right that have an issue. It’s those on the Left that believe that they know everything about racism, have already checked themselves, and get very upset when someone points out certain problems or issues they may have. They believe that they don’t have any work to do when we ALL have work to do in the areas of race relations. However, since they consider themselves “woke”, they flinch at articles that don’t differentiate between “all” and “some”.
Sometimes these Americans like telling Black people that they need to follow the law and then they won’t be gunned down in the streets. That if they just do as they are told, then everything will be alright. Well Dr. King had a quote for that too…
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
Or the things that Dr. King said about the West and Capitalism…
“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. … A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.”
“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own Government, I can not be Silent.”
“Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles;
Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.
Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it.
Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?
Expediency ask the question, is it politic?
Vanity asks the question, is it popular?
But conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
This is a favorite of conservatives…to tell people how to pick themselves up from poverty but do all that they can to keep people in poverty. This is what Dr. King said about bootstraps and poverty...
“It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.”
Poverty isn’t racist. It affects both White and Black and Dr. King saw how race was used to divide us. We could fight each other in Vietnam side by side and kill other groups of people together, but won’t live side by side in Detroit or Chicago. Dr. King knew that this was done deliberately and was incredibly insidious.
What did Dr. King say about Native Americans?
“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations.”
This is what Dr. King said about the law and how the need for the Federal government to step in and protect Black people. Something that the Right in this country was always against….some groups need protection as minorities but the Right has always been against this. This is something that Dr. King was always for. However, when you hear conservatives talk, this quote is left out…
“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
Or when Black people kneel at football games or don’t stand for the pledge for personal reasons….
“First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
Ask yourself why are these quotes ignored but the only quote that conservatives seem to know is “not the color of their skin but the content of their character”. They’ve bastardized that comment to where they believe that it means that we’ve reached a point where race no longer matters. Only the content of one’s character is important. To them, it means that Black people have been making a big fuss over racism all this time when that was never the issue. It’s your character that we don’t like, said white people. It was never about your race!
For those on the Left who claim to know more about racism, white privilege, and prejudice, they seem to be stuck on telling Black people when and where they should do something and how outraged they should be. They make excuses for those who engage in despicable behavior and state, “well I didn’t see that as racist!”. They’ll engage in debates with people online and call them racist, but won’t confront their racist father, brother, or cousins in person. Bewildering.
And we’re supposed to believe the insidious belief that White America loved Dr. King all the time. However the hate mail that this man recieved when he walked the Earth was incredible. Over sixty percent of White Americans thought that Dr. King was annoying and wished that he would go away. They had an unfavorable belief of Dr. King, which is in stark contrast to how they felt about him in 1987, where over eighty percent of Whites had a favorable belief of him.
What did Dr. King say about riots?
…I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.
This is important. Many pundits got on television and said that Dr. King would be horrified to see Black people on television rioting, but again, this isn’t accurate. Sure, he spoke for non-violence, but he spoke about non violence for all people. That included Whites who continued to shoot, murder, firebomb churches with children in them, and perpetrate other violent acts against Black people for merely existing.
So why did this happen? White people ‘whitewashed’ Dr. King to make him more palatable to them. They had to forget about all of the other things that Dr. King said about racism, rioting, and poverty. Dr. King only made one speech in their mind, spoke only about the content of ones character, and then was murdered by some “whackjob” that had nothing to do with racism. Insert sarcastic eye roll here.
Don’t pay attention to anyone who says that they can speak for Dr. King or that they know who he would support. It’s not true. Dr. King was assassinated and with it, his voice was stilled. Anyone saying that they can speak for him should be promptly ignored. Why? Because it should be remembered that his life was ended by someone who believed that he should never speak again. When there are people around that state that they can speak for Dr. King, they are destroying that memory of him. Dr. King spoke the words that he wanted to speak. When others today state that they can speak for him definitively are destroying that legacy of his. He never let others put words in his mouth when he was alive, so why allow that in his death? They dishonor King when they make comments like, “Dr. King would be ashamed today if he saw the way Black people live and act…”. This is a disgrace to even type. Dr. King’s voice was stilled by an assassin’s bullet. His voice was stilled on today back in 1968. No one can speak for him because we lost the privilege of ever hearing him again when an assassin decided to take him from us.
Remember that every time you see someone speaking for him or claiming that he was such an influence on their lives. Remember that Dr. King’s legacy has been whitewashed and reduced down to just a few events. A man who spoke so much, lived so few years, and did many things has been reduced to just a few words, a speech, and a bullet.
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”