Monday, January 19, 2015

My Heros Don't Appear on Stamps

It's that day of the year we celebrate that guy who said some radical stuff that can be easily repackaged as milquetoast nice stuff. He's also someone our federal government probably murdered, but now gave a holiday to, so everything's fine.

As always, I feel there is no greater way to honor King than to let him speak for himself. To that end, this year I heartily endorse his rightly-famous Playboy interview from 1964 (sfw link, it's truly just the article you say you read the publication for).

Reading what King had to say is a great reminder that while people often like to claim had they been alive back then they would have been marching with King, they are probably full of shit. Why do I know this? Because all of the same problems are currently happening, and you aren't out there doing anything about. Instead, we get nothing but obnoxious riot shaming from these folks, so I'll let the good Dr. explain why that's an idiotic position to take (emphasis mine):

I mean the white leadership—which I hold as responsible as anyone for the riots, for not removing the conditions that cause them. The deep frustration, the seething desperation of the Negro today is a product of slum housing, chronic poverty, woefully inadequate education and substandard schools. The Negro is trapped in a long and desolate corridor with no exit sign, caught in a vicious socioeconomic vise. And he is ostracized as is no other minority group in America by the evil of oppressive and constricting prejudice based solely upon his color. A righteous man has no alternative but to resist such an evil system. If he does not have the courage to resist nonviolently, then he runs the risk of a violent emotional explosion. As much as I deplore violence, there is one evil that is worse than violence, and that's cowardice. It is still my basic article of faith that social justice can be achieved and democracy advanced only to the degree that there is firm adherence to nonviolent action and resistance in the pursuit of social justice. But America will be faced with the ever-present threat of violence, rioting and senseless crime as long as Negroes by the hundreds of thousands are packed into malodorous, rat-plagued ghettos; as long as Negroes remain smothered by poverty in the midst of an affluent society; as long as Negroes are made to feel like exiles in their own land; as long as Negroes continue to be dehumanized; as long as Negroes see their freedom endlessly delayed and diminished by the head winds of tokenism and small handouts from the white power structure. No nation can suffer any greater tragedy than to cause millions of its citizens to feel that they have no stake in their own society.

 So, you know, either get on solving the problem of America's long-entrenched racism, or shut the fuck up about the tactics of people actually trying to do something about it.

Oh, and no post on Dr. King is complete without an annual proclamation of fuck Arizona, now and forever:

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