You Can Help Yourself, But Don’t Take Too Much

Donald Douglas looks at the coverage of the 40th anniverary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and asks, “Will the Real MLK Please Stand Up?”

If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, what would he be like? How would we treat his message and accomplishments?

Would we admire him as America’s most important civil rights leader? Would his message of America’s unrealized goodness be honored, or would his later days of personal turmoil be evidence for the radical set which sees America – despite 40 years of progress after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1964, and decades of affirmative action – as an unmitigated evil, an irredeemable enormity, the greatest stain on human progress in world history?

Unfortuntely [sic], the revisionists are pressing the latter case. As I noted yesterday, to hear it now, Jeremiah Wright was speaking truth to power, just restating the case on America’s evil that was established unimpeachably by Martin Luther King on the eve of his death.

Apparently that’s the message of Dr. King’s assassination, that the civil rights leader had to be silenced, because the reactionary white establishment risked losing authoritarian control amid the window dressing of change the rights revolution of the 1960s now apparently represents. For example, see the embrace of King’s later uncertainties by Kai Wright over at American Prospect, “Dr. King, Forgotten Radical“:

Generations after the man’s murder, our efforts to look back on his life too often say more about our own racial fantasies and avoidances than they do about his much-discussed dream. And they obscure a deeply radical worldview that remains urgently important to Americans’ lives. Today, I don’t mourn King’s death so much as I do his abandoned ideas.

We’ve all got reason to avoid the uncomfortable truths King shoved in the nation’s face. It’s a lot easier for African Americans to pine for his leadership than it is to accept our own responsibility for creating the radicalized community he urged upon us. And it’s more comfortable for white America to reduce King’s goals to an idyllic meeting of little black boys and little white girls than it is to consider his analysis of how white supremacy keeps that from becoming reality.

What I see when I read essays like this is the left’s project to reduce the successes of the civil rights movement to a footnote, to a few pieces of legislation that put a happy face on America’s essential banality of hegemonic state oppression and violence.

I know that bit about “essential banality of hegemonic state oppression and violence” is a bit murky, but Douglas quickly gets down to the nitty-gritty:

The changes of the 1960s were, of course, revolutionary. This is not objectively in doubt. What’s now happening in activism and scholarship is to argue for an “incomplete revolution,” which puts the onus back on the system of an alleged structural white supremacy to expand even further the legislative and policy regime of racial reparations that’s been in place since Dr. King’s early successes in forcing the nation to live up to the moral promise of the creed.

It’s never enough, though. As long as there are dividends to be paid, racial victimization will be the modus operandi of the hardline forces of the radical left.

Shorter Douglas: Isn’t it enough that we gave in to the blacks about the back of the bus? Don’t they know how revolutionary upsetting catastrophically devastating that was for us to have to sit next to them? Now they want us to give up even more of our white privilege! Pretty soon, there won’t be any advantage to being white at all!

2 Responses to “You Can Help Yourself, But Don’t Take Too Much”

  1. courtneyme109 says:

    Yawn. Weak try to read something in Am Pow’s bit. A more accurate ‘Shorter Douglas’ might well be a re vamped, up graded MLKism like being judged by the content of character sans anything else.

    Am Pow’s ‘Will the real MLK stand up” puts the burden on misery merchants who cannot admit Great Satan’s relentless march towards tolerance and egalitarianism lest their very raison d’ etre becomes raison de retarde’.

  2. Anonymous says:

    *Post deleted.

    AGAIN! I will not tolerate outright hate speech! It’s that simple.

    You will also have your email posted in the hopes that some of our readers not exactly fond of racist rants will kindly tell you what they think:


  1. Martin Luther King, Jr.: January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968 « Liberty Street - [...] example of this is in a post I wrote at CFLF. Another is [...]

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