Saturday, January 15, 2011

White Peeps...Stop Trying To Quote Pre-1963 Dr MLK, Jr In Debates With Us About Race

Since today is the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday, I can't think of a better day to have this discussion.   

A few weeks ago I was in a Facebook conversation on a friend's thread when this chick named Darlie tried to throw Dr. MLK, Jr in the mix.   In the process she gave an inaccurate take on what the African-American civil rights movement was about.   Being that I come from a family of historians I called her on it.

@Darlie, Dr King and the leaders of the AA Civil Rights movement were fighting to liberate African-Americans from Jim Crow segregation and oppression. In the process of seeking the constitutional rights we African-Americans deserved, as President John F. Kennedy stated in a June 1963 civil rights speech, we expanded civil rights coverage for others.

We'll, that wasn't enough and she sent me private FB messages with pre 1963 March on Washington MLK quotes that tried to buttress her argument.

When I not only broke it down that the 1950's-1960's civil rights movement was primarily a FUBU affair and also pulled out post-1963 MLK quotes that blew up that whitewashed version of Dr. King that she and most whites have of him, she got even more belligerent and finally aimed the 'you're a racist' comment at me..

Time to introduce the TransGriot Race Debate Law. 

If you are debating an African American or any POC and you call them a 'racist' or accuse them of 'playing the race card' in the midst of that debate, you lose.

It's also past time for y'all to realize that Dr. King wrote essays, gave speeches and had interviews after August 28, 1963.   Some of the things he had to say are going to make you uncomfortable like the 1965 Playboy interview or his comment in the wake of the 1965 Watts Riots.

Let us say it boldly, that if the total sum violations of law by the white man over the years were calculated and were compared with the lawbreaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man.

The post 1963 Dr. King was more radical than you've been led to believe.    When he was assassinated in 1968 he had a popularity rating below 30%.   As he opposed the Vietnam War and increased his focus on economic empowerment issues he became less popular with whites, especially the ones who benefited from the jacked up status quo.

So when you start quoting pre-1963 Dr. King speeches or essays in order to buttress your 'colorblind' race arguments, especially when we are discussing how whiteness and white supremacy negatively impacts our lives, it pisses us off

First it tells us that you don't have anything but a superficial knowledge of the man.  Secondly you're quoting one of the greatest American and world leaders our people have ever produced out of context.

If you're looking for something to do in the spirit of the upcoming King Day holiday, one project I'd like to suggest is some of you peeps familiarize yourself with Dr. King's essays and speeches that happened after August 28, 1963

And stop misappropriating and quoting the 'I Have A Dream' speech out of context ad nauseum.

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