The Misappropriation of MLK’s Quotes & Legacy: Part II
Sometimes a message needs to be heard or read multiple times for it to ring through to the person on the other end. Last week was another celebration of the birthday and life of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Yet, there was something unsettling about this iteration of his birthday. Something that undoubtedly occurred in the past but was extra disgusting on January 18, 2021. The continued misuse of MLK’s quotes and legacies by those who stand directly opposed to the message and purpose he lived up until his life was tragically cut short.
In a previous post, GWI discussed the misappropriation of MLK’s quotes. Yet, in 2021, just weeks after armed domestic terrorists rampaged at the US Capitol to overturn a free and fair election, there is something exceptionally disturbing to watch as individuals like Ivanka Trump, Ted Cruz, and Lauren Boebert, Mitch McConnell and others use MLK’s words to attempt to silence the exact reason why he fought. Each one of these individuals, and others like them, continually use their public platforms and elected positions to assault the civil liberties of marginalized people. But on 1/18/21 they thought so highly of themselves that they used their platforms to throw out words from MLK, completing missing the whole point of who the man was and his place in American history.
With that in mind, here are some MLK quotes that will show just how diametrically opposed he would not only be to these individuals, but the growing alt-right narrative that is surging as the United States continues to show the world it is not the country it claims itself to be.
- A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death – A Time to Break the Silence: April 4, 1967
- But ever since the Founding Fathers of our nation dreamed this dream, America has been something of a schizophrenic personality; tragically divided against herself – The American Dream: July 4, 1965
- White society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity. – Grosse Pointe High School: March 14, 1968
- I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic – Letter to Coretta Scott King: July 19, 1952
- The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. – A Time to Break the Silence: April 4, 1967
- The price that America must pay for the continued oppression of the Negro and other minority groups is the price of its own destruction. – The American Dream: July 4, 1965
- White Americans must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society. – Where Do We Go from Here? 1967
- Many of our white brothers feel deep down in their hearts that the struggle for racial justice is right. Yet they remain silent, because they are afraid that the majority will criticize them, and they will suffer social ostracism. – Non-Conformist Sunday: January 16, 1966
- All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. We in the West must support these revolutions. – A Time to Break the Silence: April 4, 1967
Read those lines again and ask yourself whether MLK would have stood beside any politician that openly supports Donald Trump and the continued marginalization of people of color. The answer is a resounding no. MLK was not a perfect man by any sense of the word and his flaws are known. But he was a man who fought for the people that were unable to fight for themselves. Its important to learn more about MLK as these talking heads and corporations attempt to whitewash their misdoings by using his legacy and words.
List of quotes collected by @dasgupz on Twitter