MEMO # 916 TO WHITE AMERICA
SUBJECT: DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. ...
America is approaching the celebration of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In fact, his birthday was yesterday, January 15. Go to a Dr. Martin Luther King Breakfast and observance by all means, but do not go to the breakfast or observance with an, "I know all about Dr. King" or “Dr. King was a Great American” attitude. Your typical, "I am an expert on all things Black."
Let me remind you that you never wanted his birthday as a national holiday. In fact, your so-called great communicator president, Ronald Reagan, initially refused to sign legislation declaring the holiday, citing “costs”-which is our code word for your “White American Racism.” Go because you need to listen and maybe even learn.
J. Edgar Hoover called Dr. King “the most dangerous Negro in America” and proceeded to persecute him his entire life. Let me also remind you that the state of Arizona lost the Super Bowl because the citizens of that God-fearing state defeated a ballot issue to declare Dr. King’s birthday, a national holiday.
As long as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked about civil rights, he was all right. When Dr. King ventured outside the civil rights bubble and started talking about the immorality of the Vietnam War and the plight of poor people, he became one of White America’s larger targets, and he became a pariah. The Poor People’s March was designed to highlight the lack of quality of life for the poor, many of whom were Black, and the have-nots, and the vast majority of whom were Black. That lack of quality of life still exists.
I tire of hearing the much overused and overworked and mischaracterized quote by Dr. King: “I judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.” Those words have become a crutch for many of you in White America as you try to justify your racism and your so-called color blindness. America did not believe those words when Dr. King spoke them, and America certainly does not believe them now. In fact many of you do not even understand what Dr. King was saying. donald trump is evidence of that.
White America in the 1960s considered Dr. King a wretched “villain” for calling out America’s racism. Seventy-five percent of White Americans disapproved of Dr. King when he was killed. Yet today, many of you walk around invoking Dr. King’s name and repeating his quotes as if he was your favorite philosopher and your man of the cloth.
You, White America, identified Dr. King, who lives in your guilty conscious, as an idealistic dreamer. You have tried to sanitize, homogenize, and whiten his image. And why you ask? Because you would like to soften the image of this great man for yourselves as you continue to revise, or try to anyway, civil rights history and Black history.
You refuse to acknowledge Racism because you are not the targets of the Racism you created. Yet you are the first to howl when we accuse you of being a Racist; and then you try to absolve yourselves by giving your interpretation of what is not Racism. And in the process, you call us Racists for pointing out your abhorrent Racism. Better yet, you often proclaim, "Whites are more discriminated against than Black." You do not get a chance to affect and infect me with your Core Racist Attitudes and then tell me how I should respond. When Blacks fight for their freedom as American citizens, they will not accept freedom on your terms. Dr. King was willing to give his life for those freedoms, and he paid that Ultimate Price.
And that White America, is the Struggle for Black Human Dignity and Respect.
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.