We need to talk about Martin Luther King
There’s much to admire about the slain Civil Rights icon — but we don’t help anyone by glossing over history.
You may have heard the phrase “history repeats itself.” Well, that’s true. And it’s true in ways that are often hard to believe.
I was doing a little venture capital “shop talk” the other day with a friend of mine who is a real fierce bitch. She gets shit done. Her latest product is an app called Menstru-Track. It aids women with self-care by tracking every detail of their periods and providing users with inspirational quotes from authors of color.
It will change the world.
Or, it should. Funding has fallen off. Since the election, investors are more interested in masculinist apps that celebrate racism.
(FULL DISCLOSURE: I was an initial investor in the Zyklonic app. It was presented to investors as a product that was only of interest to the agricultural industry; once I learned of its roots, I sold off the majority of my shares).
“It’s a shame,” my friend said, “that Russians didn’t want my app to launch. That is at least part of the reason why they taught Bernie how to hypnotize young people with his charisma and lies.”
My blood began to boil. I had not wanted to mention it for fear of triggering my friend, but of course the Bernie Bros would have hated her app.
Looking to provide support, I told my friend to think of herself as Martin Luther King in Birmingham Jail. Things may seem down, but sooner or later you’ll be free again, you can continue to innovate.
“Do not even,” she said. “Martin Luther King was straight CIS male. His heart was in the right place, but nearly everything he did after ‘I have a dream’ actually stifled innovation! In many ways, MLK and Bernie were the same — too vain and self-centered, and unable to listen to women!”
This surprised me, but I kept my mouth shut. When faced with upsetting facts from women or PoC, it’s important to just listen. That’s how you get educated.
And have I ever been educated!
My friend forwarded me this piece, from a bipartisan organization called “Accuracy in Media.” The author makes the shocking, but true, accusation that Dr. King was influenced by Russians:
“The sad truth about Martin Luther King, Jr. is that his original mission of equal rights for black Americans changed later in life when he was surrounded by pro-Moscow communist advisers who turned him against the Vietnam War. A noble effort to save South Vietnam from communism was eventually defeated, not by the communist enemy on the military battlefield but by a Democratic Party-controlled Congress which terminated assistance to the government in Saigon. Vietnam became, and remains, a communist dictatorship.”
History backs this up. It happened.
Suddenly, all the pieces began falling into place. Like Sanders, MLK resisted all war, because he did not realize that war is an inescapable inevitability and that wars waged by Democrats are good. How did such a wonderful man reach such an incorrect conclusion? Because, like Sanders, MLK was hypnotized by Russian lies.
Thankfully the brave men and women of the US military were able to overcome King’s opposition, and the US remained in Vietnam for over another decade (which was still not long enough to win outright, but every day we were there, the country became a little safer and more free).
But this got me thinking about even more similarities between King and Sanders. Unlike Sanders — who is an active Russian agent — King’s heart was in the right place. He was a good man and he accomplished some great things, but he was duped.
But both men suffer from the same tendency: the foolhardy preference for sweeping reform over incremental change.
King wanted to pull out of Vietnam. Sanders was likewise critical of Hillary’s stellar record of humanitarian intervention. No one is saying that the military is perfect — war is heck, after all. But notice that the two men don’t even consider sensible reforms, such as promoting more women to higher ranking positions within the military, or only using napalm if there is a less than 50% chance that the strike will kill more than 5 children.
Nope. Instead, these men take a selfish moral high ground, insisting on purity tests such as “refusing to commit war crimes.” That gets nothing done.
But you know what does get things done? Bitches. Like Hillary. While MLK and BRONIE Sanders were doing their Russian-influenced protests against Vietnam, Hillary took an incremental approach. She volunteered for the centrist campaign of Barry Goldwater — one of the few politicians brave enough to stand up to the masculinist overreach of the civil rights movement, preferring instead a more inclusive and market-based approach to social justice.
(Of course, Bernie Bros would attempt to use Hillary’s activism against her in 2016. Some things never change).
King was a magical, amazing man. We should celebrate his life and his accomplishments. But nothing is gained by taking an uncritical view. And so I offer up a few modest suggestions:
- Get Rid of Martin Luther King Day
This might ruffle some feathers, but it’s a necessary first step to begin healing. In spite of all of his good deeds, King was a straight, CIS man. His deeds will therefore never be as important or as beautiful as those of a pansexual transperson.
Intersectionality teaches us that there exists a hierarchy of oppressions. The more oppressed someone is, the more righteous their life. Instead of celebrating the life of a straight, CIS male, let us celebrate the beauty and fierceness of someone who has actually suffered.
Laverne Cox Day, anyone?
2. Spell his name “martin luther king” with no capitals
Sometimes, the smallest gestures suggest the deepest humility. By removing the capital letters from king’s name, we remind readers that in spite of his greatness he was also susceptible to Russian influence.
3. Erase and destroy all pictures of king
This suggestion is inspired by the brave artists who have demanded the removal — and destruction — of a painting they don’t like. That painting is of the body of Emmett Till, a young PoC street harasser who was unjustly beaten to death, when a simple fine or jailtime would have been a more appropriate punishment for his crime.
Till’s death was a horrible tragedy, a crime committed by white people against black bodies. It is therefore wrong for white people to talk about it, hear about it, or even know about it.
In representing violence, we perpetuate violence, taking it for ourselves when it is actually the property of those who have suffered it. White colonizers do not simply inflict violence; they steal it, as well.
In order to stop the colonizing of Till’s tragic death, artists have demanded that it not be discussed. The same basic logic should be applied to king. For as powerful as his “I have a dream” speech is, his death is the event that truly marks his legacy. No one can listen to that speech, or even see a picture of king, without invoking his violent end.
If we wish to cease the colonization of the violence of the erasure of black hearts, black minds, fierce black bodies, we must strive for absolute segregation of representation. We must therefore not allow any whites to even glance a picture of king.
This is a severe solution, I will admit. But it is being made to solve a severe problem. And while it may not have been possible just a few short years ago, advances in internet technology have made righteous censorship an achievable goal.
And, who knows, maybe yours truly is making an app for that…