The Real MLK.

ari has a fantastic post up outlining King’s rhetorical evolution and the events that led to the national holiday and the soft-focus whitewashing of his memory.  

 

Counterpoised against the ostensibly violent Malcolm X, who supposedly would have forced America to change its ways by using “any means necessary,” King comes off as a cuddly moderate — a figure who loved everyone, enemies included, even whites who subjugated black people. Although there’s some truth lurking behind this myth, there was more (about both X and King) to the story: complexities and nuances that escape most popular recollections. Martin Luther King, no matter how people remember him now, was not nearly so safe as most of us believe. …

I wonder what Martin Luther King would think of his eponymous day. Of the MLK lesson plan — long on heroism, patriotism, and feel-good rhetoric but short on violence, non- or otherwise — in my son’s classroom. Of the fact that his holiday’s roots in organized labor have been completely forgotten. Of the painful irony that corporate sponsorship proved key in passing the law marking his birthday.

 

One thought on “The Real MLK.

  1. shani-o January 19, 2009 at 10:40 am Reply

    As always, Ari ftw.

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