Sunday, August 29, 2010

Problems with the Acronym, MLK: "Misinformed, Libelous, Know-Nothing"

No, this isn't about anything Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did or did not do in his lifetime. He's not the historical giant I most related to, but that's mostly because I'm more of an Ella Barker fan. Suffice it to say, though, I do admire him, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

That's his name, right? So then, who, or what, is MLK?

MLK is more than a shorthand. MLK is a mythical figure, like Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny, who asked only that one day, the world might judge his children, and everybody, not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. (Ironic, then, that people of my hue and darker are maligned for voting so consistantly Democratic. Hmm . . . But I digress.) MLK is storybook character, like Peter Cottontai or Curius George, who led marches only to fight for integration. MLK has become an acronym for anything white Americans, and their enablers of color, including but not limited to his niece, want to believe about him, like "Military, Low Taxes, and Kind." Or, "free Market, Liberty, Kegs."

But we know that wasn't the totality of who Dr. King was or what he stood for. That's one problem

Here's the other: apparently, MLK orchestrated the Movement from beginning to end, prior to his involvement and after his death. But the truth is Dr. King wasn't the only leader, muchless participant, in the Civil Rights Movement. You can't just dismiss ideas you disagree with by crying, "King would've never blah, blah, blah!" If Ralph Abernathy or John Lewis or Ella Baker or Fannie Lou Hamer or Baynard Rustin promoted reparations or gay marriage or reproductive rights or government intervention to protect the rights of an oppressed group, then you should disabuse yourself of any notion that you're the right inheritor of the Civil Rights Movement.

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This isn't too complicated. If you disagree with me, I'm more than happy to have an honest discussion. I'm quite open to learning new facts and ideas. I'm dying for a conservative to explain their ideas in a sensible way.

But, I do have rules, and they also apply to those who agree with me. They just get the benefit of my already knowing the fact they'll be referring to.

So, here're the comment thread rules:

1 - Use facts.
2 - Refer to policy.
3 - Don't rely on theories and conjectures. Show me how, for example, a public health insurance option will lead to "rationing" of health care.
4 - No unfounded attacks on any entity.

If you break those rules, I will edit your comment to my own whimsical satisfaction.

Lastly, perhaps most importantly, I'm not going to entertain too much pro-white/racism-denying discussion. I want this to be a space to discuss strategies to fight racism, not space where I have to fight racism. I want anti-racists to be able to come here for a mental respite. If what you're interested in doing is attempting to demonstrate the fallacy of anti-racism by repeating the same ole comments and questions and accusations we hear all the time, please do that somewhere else.

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But Don't Jack My Genuis