In His Entirety: Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

by Vince

Tim Wise bemoans the sanitized honoring of MLKjr that ushers in a charity-esque response to American problems instead of a truly transformative response:

Operating on a charity model, rather than one of solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed, these service projects, while perhaps worthwhile in and of themselves, serve to reinforce the illusion that the society is basically a just one, requiring no substantial transformation, but rather, just a little more “helping out,” in order to attain perfection.

I am heading downtown today to help out with some cleaning and moving at a community center, so I guess I fall under the category of “charity actions” on this holiday. Standing up to housing, job, and food discrimination the way MLKjr did took entire towns marching many miles, taking many beatings, and sacrificing entire self for at the time little to any tangible results. The continual slow speed of results is what turned much of the civil rights movement from the non-violent approach to the “by any means necessary” with guns approach. Even at MLKjr’s funeral, a radical member of this new civil rights wave said King would have used a gun to get what he wanted.

Just as Barack Obama has been criticized by Wise for avoiding race in fear of being demonized, the CIA under J. Edgar Hoover adamantly and clandestinely worked to connect the civil rights movement to the smear of the time: communism.

It must sure take a special group of people to rise up against the status quo.

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