In other words: Do what MLK would actually do if he were alive today.
A few months ago I recorded and put this video on You Tube:
…By the way Selma is a good movie to watch today despite being snubbed for awards (which was expected). Anything that rubs someone the wrong way is always worthy of your time.
Moving on, the next two to four years will be very interesting for a variety of reasons. The last few years have seen the revival of a movement not seen on this scale since the 1960s and 1970s. I’m talking about the spirit of protest in the name of civil rights.
The anger in this country is real.
The incoming Trump Administration was voted on to “put a lid on the unrest”. Trump said throughout his campaign he will be “A Law & Order president”. He will “Establish order” in the places where protests occur. The Law Enforcement Community is happy because they know it means they have a boost in funding to look forward to. Weather you agree with the protests or not, you should be concerned by this. More so given this is one campaign promise the GOP has already be moving to keep.
If you truly want to honor the legacy and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, educate yourself on the issues of today first and foremost. Second, raise awareness of what matters to you. Dr. King once said “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.” All you need to do is look at what I have been talking about for most of the last three years to know what has been on my mind alot lately. I have no problem calling the elected officials I support. I have no problem calling the elected officials I didn’t vote for. I have no problem letting policy makers know what matters to me and why.
Do I think Black Lives Matter is the face of the New Civil Rights Movement? Yes and No. Yes, it can be a force for change but No, it’s nowhere near where it could be. While I do support what the BLM Movement brought back to this country–calling on ALL Americans to raise their voices in protest in the streets–they lack clear leadership and focus. Until those two things are addressed, I will not be all in with BLM.
Do I think New York Daily News and Civil Rights activist Shaun King is a strong leader? Yes and No. Yes, he’s a good leader and has demonstrated he can force change but No, he’s not good enough. If he truly wants to come into his own as a Civil Rights Activist, he needs to drop the beef he has with Trump being president, cook it and eat it. This is my biggest problem with what he is trying to do. Not Injustice Boycott (which is already getting results) but his anti-Trump Facebook movement. He needs to focus on Injustice Boycott and let the chips fall where they may.
…There is a media blackout on this but I have been hearing through the grapevine both BLM and the NAACP have scheduled meetings with President Obama after he leaves office. It goes without saying President Obama will no longer be bound by obligation come Friday to restrain himself. Even so, unlike the previous two presidents he will probably need a security detail for at least the next 10 years because he was America’s first African American President. The media hasn’t touched on this but President Obama got more death threats in just first first term than last 6 presidents COMBINED. That should tell you how real the hate many have towards him is.
President Obama is a symbol of what is possible but unlike Dr. King, others have picked up the torch to continue his work. See, unlike Dr. King–and please don’t read into this too much–killing soon to be former President Obama would be pointless: King’s death created a power vaccum within the Civil Rights Movement. The Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam and the remnants of Dr. King’s friends moved to seize the political power and influence he commanded.
The 1970s to 2007 tell the story: The dream died when King died. The War on Drugs (1980s) and Bill Clinton’s Mass Incarceration Policy (1980s) were both a thinly veiled renewal of insitutionalized racism and war against African Americans. Mass Media (Mid 90s to late 2000s) did its job of keeping African Americans distracted with materialism and false realities. Those who pursued and became successful in Music (Specifically Rap/Hip-Hop), Acting and Sports were seen as “The only way for Blacks to be successful. And it worked. Two whole generations of Blacks were brainwashed into believing these areas were the only things they were good for.
Then Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States.
That changed everything. The dream MLK once spoke of was once again in sight only this time, President Obama would live to see the results of his work. The last few years have seen a revival of the aspect of Dr. King’s kids don’t learn about in grade school: Using your voice to bring attention to injustice and demand change. America has always struggled with doing the right thing right away. I’ll speak more to this in regards to The African American Experience next month in a series of blog posts.
Getting back to the main topic, did you know colleges and universities across America are dropping African American Histories and other related courses even as electives? It’s not bad enough Black History is no longer formally taught in most public schools. I’d know having worked for the Boston School system. Keeping people ignorant makes it easier to control them, after all.
…That didn’t stop the rise of what I called The New Civil Rights Era a few years ago. A new generation of protesters and demonstrators stand ready to rise to the challenges of today. Just in time, too: Most of the leaders of the Old Era have passed on or are too old to carry on (except John Lewis, Bernie Sanders and probably Jimmy Carter). A generation ready, willing and able to hold our elected officials accountable is finally ready. It only took 50 years to get there.
I actually showed you mostly images of MLK in color for this reason: History books and posters used in schools depict Dr. King as “tanned” and with “European” facial features. Dr. King had very dark skin. Look at the below picture. Dr. King also has facial features only present in men of African descent: The wide nostrils and flat bridge of his nose are both traits you will only find in someone of African decent. Of course, there are some whites with these and other features. There’s actually a VERY simple reason but that’s a subject for next month.
I’ll close with this:
Ask any grade schooler who Dr. King was and they will give you the generic “He was a black hero who fought against racism. He gave speeches and marched to get people to listen to what he had to say.” Dr. King was much more than that. First and foremost he wasn’t just “a black hero”. He was a true American Patriot. He did not ask for the burden he would bear but he readily accepted it with a grim determination. He did not “ask” for change but he demanded it. Not for himself but for those who would come after him.
Dr. King was no fool. He received death threats on a regular basis. He was arrested several times and survived an assassination attempt before his actual assassination in 1968. The night before he was killed, Dr. King gave this speech:
I want to focus on what he says at 58 seconds: “Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights.” Dr. King was alot of things. One thing he certainly wasn’t was a “friend” of the U.S. Government. The FBI tracked his every move, his phones were wiretapped and J Edgar Hoover labeled him “a trouble maker and an agitator”.
Just like back then, you have Americans literally telling other Americans not to exercise their 1st Amendment rights. “Stop making a fool of yourself and do something with your life.” “You’re wasting your time.” “That’s not the way to get what you want.” “You’re setting a bad example.” I could go on and on.
What I find most disturbing: Those who have the audacity to say “This is not what Dr. King was about.” Quite the opposite. Anyone who personally knew MLK would tell you he would be right there in the streets with the protesters or offering them words of encouragement. So don’t DARE let anyone tell you “Protesting is Un-American”. On the contrary, there is nothing more American than a well-organized resistence movement advocating for and demanding rights for ALL people.