Sometimes less is more. So, I’m just gonna leave this right here:
“The largest part of white America is still poisoned by racism, which is as native to our soil as pine trees, sagebrush and buffalo grass.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr., “A Testament of Hope,” (his last essay, published, January, 1969, after his death)
And yes, it’s an actual quote. It comes from an essay King wrote before his assassination, which Playboy magazine published nine months after his death. You can read the full article here.
He also said the following in a speech six months before he was killed. It, too, demonstrates King’s awareness of the source of the nation’s racial crisis as well as its depths.
“White America needs to understand that it is poisoned to its soul by racism… the philosophy and morals of the dominant white society are not holy or sacred but in all too many respects are degenerate and profane.”
— Martin Luther King Jr., address to the American Psychological Association, September, 1967
It would do us well to recall these words when right-wing liars and charlatans seek to hijack MLK in the name of drab colorblindness and uncritical ecumenism. Because King was clear:
- Racism had been ingrained in the nation from the beginning;
- It was systemic; and
- It was perpetrated by white Americans who were “more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than justice and humanity.”
Conservatives deny these truths and believe those who espouse them deserve to be canceled from our nation’s school curriculum, meaning the right would cancel MLK if they get their way.
Conservatives hate the real Dr. King. They hated him then. They hate him now. They only like the fictional, facile Dr. King of their imaginations.
It is time for those of us on the left to make sure conservatives know, when it comes to quoting Black folks, they’ll have to make do with Candace Owens.
Dr. King was one of us.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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