MLKs Dream or Nightmare?
Leonard Pitts Jr is an idiot.
If you could somehow magically bring [Martin Luther King] here, that tomorrow would likely seem miraculous to him, faced as he was with a time when segregation, police brutality, employment discrimination and voter suppression were widely and openly practiced.
Here in tomorrow, after all, the president is black. The business mogul is black. The movie star is black. The sports icon is black. The reporter, the scholar, the lawyer, the teacher, the doctor, all of them are black. And King might think for a moment that he was wrong about tomorrow and its troubles.
It would not take long for him to see the grimy truth beneath the shiny surface, to learn that the perpetual suspect is also black. As are the indigent woman, the dropout, the fatherless child, the suppressed voter, and the boy lying dead in the grass with candy and iced tea in his pocket.
The indigent woman – women are more likely to be poor if they have a baby out of wedlock, before the age of 21.
Dropping out of school is a CHOICE. A poor choice, which society continually attempt to sway them from.
The fatherless child? That is the fault of white racists how?
The boy lying dead in the grass? Yes, that was a tragedy but how about this boy lying dead in the grass; Jerean Blake was a 17-year-old African American who was killed by another African American when he ‘looked at’ him wrong. But that murder doesn’t matter. Doesn’t fit into the narrative.
And how about this baby who was shot in the face by two teenage black boys?
What would MLK think of all this? The low literacy rates. The dependence on federal aid (39.8% of welfare recipients are black, but they are only 13% of the population)? What would MLK think of how the welfare state has destroyed his people?
During the nine decades between the Emancipation Proclamation and the 1950s, the black family remained a strong, stable institution. Its cataclysmic destruction was subsequently set in motion by such policies as the anti-marriage incentives that are built into the welfare system have served only to exacerbate the problem. As George Mason University professor Walter E. Williams puts it: “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do, what Jim Crow couldn’t do, what the harshest racism couldn’t do. And that is to destroy the black family.” Hoover Institution Fellow Thomas Sowell concurs: “The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”
What would Martin Luther King think of the gangster rap, the debasement of sexuality, and the celebration of non-standard English among blacks in America?
But none of this matters to Leonard Pitts who only sees white racism as the core of all the problems in black society. And it’s a subtle racism that requires recognition of the dog whistles because, you see, now it’s invisible.
When he was under fire for questioning the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for instance, Sen. Rand Paul wanted it known that he’d have marched with King had he been of age. And he probably believes that.
But what people like Paul fail to grasp is that the issues against which African-Americans railed in 1963 were just as invisible to some of us back then as the issues of 2013 are to some of us right now. They did not see the evil of police brutality in ’63 any more than some of us can see the evil of mass incarceration now. They did not see how poll taxes rigged democracy against black people then any more than some of us can see how Voter ID laws do the same thing now.
The evil of mass incarceration, but not the evil of mass crime? Crime, I will add, that mostly affects other black folks. Rape. theft. Murder. But no – it’s the “incarceration” that is an evil.
I’d like to ask Pitts WHICH black criminals should be released. Released, I assume, back into the communities from which they sprang? The drug dealer? The rapist? How about the guy who only killed ONE person?
And, voter ID laws are not equal to poll taxes. There is nothing “racist” about requiring an ID to vote- since there is absolutely no racial component about obtaining an valid ID. If there were, then the government is complicit in this racism.
Ids are required for: driving, boarding an airplane, doctors visits, pharmacy purchases, bank transactions, job applications, applying for school, registering a car, medicare/medicaid, blood donation, social security serives, writing a check, buy train tickets, writing a check, to buy a house, to buy cigarettes and liquor … the list goes on.
We live in King’s “tomorrow” and what he preached in that great rolling baritone at the temple of Lincoln 50 summers ago ought to inspire us anew in this post-Trayvon, post-Jena 6, post-Voting Rights Act, post-birther nonsense era. It ought to make us organize, agitate, educate and work with fresh determination. It ought to challenge you to ask yourself: What have you chosen not to see? And now, having seen it, what will you do to make it right?
I could ask Pitts the same question. What has he chosen not to see? And what will he do to make it right?