While some would rather call it Great Americans Day (looking at you City of Biloxi) instead of the FEDERAL holiday name, we celebrate the life of American hero and icon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This MLK weekend I’d like to ask you to remember what he fought for. I’d like to ask you not to use MLK to silence or tone police activists. I’d ask that you sit this one out if you don’t truly believe in racial equality. If you don’t believe in the justice Dr. King fought and died for, sit down and come back when you get it. I’d ask that you don’t use social media to say things like: “He never looted, rioted, blah, blah or [insert ridiculousness here]” Or “MLK would want….[insert kumbaya about something that doesn’t affect their privilege].” This is something I’ve seen on social media this weekend. It’s a revisionist history. Do you think Dr. King decided jail was a nice place to vacation? Wanted to be beaten? You really think white America loved his brand of activism? And if Dr. King did everything right according to your standards, why was he STILL assassinated?
Activists don’t have to make their fight against injustice palatable to you. That’s not how it works. I know this incoming administration has embolden so many to be overtly racist in “post-racial America” (HA! Like that ever was thing), but I hope he hasn’t embolden y’all to rewrite history or pretend either. Take a moment to read Letter from a Birmingham Jail. You’ll find statements like: “Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.” AND “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” AND “We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
I hope you’ll stop using him as a weapon to silence others. I hope you’ll stop telling people of color what MLK would want. Do you know what he wanted? May we do better. May we not only acknowledge him, but continue his fight for justice and equality. Happy birthday, Dr. King.