MLK Jr. didn’t ask for rights, he wasn’t pandering or sweet to the forces that oppressed him. He was a threat to whiteness through and through.
MLK Jr. wasn’t violent not because he wanted to gain some brownie points from whitedom but because he KNEW, FIRSTHAND, what violence does to a people, both those who are abusing and those who are being abused.
MLK Jr. didn’t dress in his Sunday best and speak clearly with diction so as to pander or kiss up to white folk. He did it for himself and for his people, to show what form his black identity took. That we in this society read speaking fearlessly and intelligently with passion and power in the face of oppression as “white” is beyond me, because that’s a black attribute through and through.
MLK Jr. didn’t have a problem with individual white people, but with their racism and ignorance on a whole, with their white supremacist society, and with their complacency and willingness to see it perpetuated at the detriment of him and his people. He knew that those who were quiet, who made excuses, who willfully stayed staunch in their ignorance and hatred were just as much a part of the problem as those who were more blatant and aggressive in their hatred. Any compassion coming from him was borne from himself, NOT from anything white people did, not something they at all merited or deserved.
The general way his legacy is portrayed, this whole “Peace & Non-violence” shit is all a ruse to make it about white people. “He was so nice to us, he was polite and peaceful, that is why we chose to give black people rights!”
My fuckin’ ass.
If MLK jr. was so accommodating and nice to whiteness, then why was he was arrested so much and assassinated, huh?
What’s more, white people didn’t give shit. Black people fought for those rights and ripped them from their aggressors’ hands.
That’s how it’s always been. The oppressor is never going to willingly give up power or own up to wrongs and abuse. To destroy oppressive systems you have to be a threat to the way they run, to the privileges and the benefits the people who run it and who get privileged by it gain. Things will get uncomfortable and shitty and you’ll be falsely accused of being violent/aggressive/bitter/stuck in the past/oppressive/over-emotional/uppity, and sometimes, you risk everything for it, but that’s just them trying to silence you, to kill your collective voice by making an example of some of you, to separate you from your justified and righteous rage, the only thing that gives you power and that lends you the voice necessary to hold them accountable.
More importantly than what he was to white people and white supremacy is what he was to black people and people of color. We waste so much fuckin’ time analyzing shit from a white perspective we don’t even talk about how important what he did was for African Americans and other people of color.
That’s the shittiest thing to do to him, to ourselves. Let’s take some time to rethink how we talk about these things.
This post is perfect. I cannot stand constantly hearing people talk of what MLK did for “human rights.” No, MLK did not fight for “all humans.” He fought for Black people. Not “all humans” have always needed someone to remind white people that they are, in fact, human.
”One day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’ And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life’s market place. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question, ‘Who owns the oil?’ You begin to ask the question, ‘Who owns the iron ore?’ You begin to ask the question, ‘Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two thirds water?’ These are questions that must be asked.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“…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.
-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his Letter From A Birmingham Jail
Dr Martin Luther King (via zeitgeistmovement)
His crusade. The KING they wont show.
Ugh, yes. This is the best way to describe what I was talking about. Riots are not meant to educate, they are meant to express. Not every expression has to teach something to be effective. If you’re waiting for a riot to change something, you’ll be waiting for a long time. That’s not to say that every riot doesn’t have any long-lasting outcome, just that the “outcome” should not and usually is not the focus in a riot.
Excellent post from Al Jazeera. In fact, this is quite a common practice in the United States — with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. MLK is revered as a harmless, sweet Christian man who never hurt a fly, while Malcolm X is regarded as an angry black man who hated white people (note: no,…
I hate how the only thing anyone knows from him is the “I have a dream” speech. He said so many important, revolutionary things.