Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr & The Uncomfortable Talk About Civil Rights Violations

Today we celebrate the official "Martin Luther King Jr Day".  It is a federal holiday set aside to recognize the great works of Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr as he struggled to make America a better place for all by having it live up to its Constitution and laws.


Today we will hear fanciful speeches made by many people who have been invited into the pulpit of assorted churches across America.  Most of these churches will have Black Americans filling the church up to its rafters, listening attentively to every word that is spoken by the invited guest.

I have no doubt that most of these orators will tell of how far we have come as a nation and a people since the time that King last walked on this Earth.  President Barack Obama - the Black president who garnered 96% of the votes of the Black people who vote and likely held the symapthies of 99% of the Black people who did not vote for reasons of age or incarceration will be the most frequently used reference of our racial progress.  

Some of these speakers will likely say that 100% of our deceased ancestors would have also voted favorably, thus allowing Obama to win all 50 states - especially those states in the South that Obama lost.  The ghost of our slave past will rattle in the words of these sermons.   No doubt some who listen in attentively will huddle close to their loved ones in the bed this evening, fearing that these ghosts that they were informed about might return if we as a racial group are not vigilant.

Martin Luther King Jr, as an orator, was keen on making people uncomfortable about their present circumstance.  To Dr King - complacency and contentment in the sight of potential that has been suppressed by outsiders or overlooked by those who have the gift of sight were equally unacceptable.  

Today you will not hear the average "Negro Preacher" or "Social Justice Activist" take to the pulpit and focus his or her words on the forces that most dramatically impact Black people today, in line with what Dr King spoke of during his time.   Instead most of these people will model themselves after the ghosts that Dr King saw during his time. Indeed they were the spirits which, in their human form  kicked in the door of the terrorized Black families.  They violently had their way with the target of their angst - the Black male head of the household.  Suppress a Black male and the community collapses - is what the spirit of our enemy has learned over time.

Today's speeches instead will attempt to follow these ghosts where they have traveled to today, having distanced themselves from the Black community in large measure.   The success of Dr King and others made their wanton assaults upon the Negro community of consequence under the law.  In the struggle for limited resources many of them chose to leave the domain of conflict.

Today those of a certain consciousness will tell the crowd of Black people gathered that - the offense today is that in their separation - they have "left us behind" as a people to struggle on our own.  The downtrodden condition of too many Black people today is a condition of abandonment by society - in their view.   There will be no mention of the failed vision by the more proximate leaders who have hijacked the focus of these masses.  This provoked them to cast their eyes where these old ghosts of past torment have departed to. As a result so much of our attention is cast upon where they now reside rather than upon our own issues at hand.

The Civil Rights Violations Of Today Within The Black Community - What Would King Do?

The "Black man shot in the Black" by the police man or the White racist is registered in the annals of our civil rights folklore.  A man who was shot in the back was seeking to evade his gun wielding killer rather than aggressively attack him.   He is the consummate victim.    Aside from the lynching photo - there is no other image that is more powerful in the communication of one's oppressed state.

Sadly in the year 2009, a full 365 days since the last set of MLK Day Speeches, which again lauded the advances that our people have made per their reference to gains in electoral politics by people who 'think in favorable ways' to the Black populace - I can think of several local cases where the proverbial "Black man shot in the back" has transpired.   Unfortunately this did not trigger the same gut wrenching reaction as it did during Dr King's time. The location was the same - Georgia.  The reactions could not have been more different though.   The key different with the episodes in 2009 is that a Black man was the trigger man - shooting his brother down like a dog.  Respecting him as such as well.

We as a people have gotten too comfortable with the thoughts of the basic human disrespect that are expressed as a "civil rights violation" in its violent nature.   This level of comfort is proven by the fact that despite these actions of today having the very same outcomes as during King's day - "A dead Black man, laying lifeless in a pool of blood", few are willing to note that the very same elements that got these past actions labelled as "civil rights violations" are in existence:

  1. The scaffolding upon which hatred toward another is hung (the advancement of group factionalization, the will of racial subjugation, material lust, the passion of intimate relations that have been severed but not accepted)
  2. The void of human connection with this other where his death is an option that exists in the soon-to-be-killers mind
  3. The tool by which to execute upon the murderous action
  4. The decision to excute
  5. and in too many cases - A complicit system of community members and authorities that fail to intervene to destroy the pattern

The labeling of such an offense as a "civil rights violation" requires #1 and #5 to be in alignment per the agenda of the operatives who have the power to distribute these LABELS and advocate for their framing as such to the sympathetic publc.

In #1 there is a list of "poisons" that are accepted as more "injurious" than the next despite all being equally deadly when the pulse of the victim leaves his body.

Today the Black community is conflicted per the realities expressed in #5.   Throughout our history of freedom in America (post "Reconstruction") it was the establishment that had the authority to define for us that which is the "law" and those laws which apply to the "Negro" and as such would be enforced.  The establishment was bent on retaining power and in as much as WE were not a part of it - we were the "odd men out" and received a daily reminder as such.     

Dr King and others righteously fought to include our people under the veil of this protection.   The authority of the US Constitution that was illuminated via the bright light of their Christian God which lead them forward was instrumental in including the American Negro under this cloak of protection.

Today we suffer the deadly effects of exposure and we face an entrenched establishment which provides cover for those who assail us.  The assailants of today are said to be the victims of yesterday's sins and injustice.  As such they receive a measure of immunity from their own actions.  The laws that they are prosecuted under are seen as "THEIR LAWS", they being some force that resides outside of our own interest group.

Today, per the fruits of our long struggle,  Black people are often the faces which now peppered the establishment power in control over the institutions in our community.  These are some of the same institutions  who's benign neglect and immutability imperil us today.   Both of these forces are protected by the absence of stern rebuke from our community when they violate our interest.  We are no less complicit today in the maintenance of the system that suffocates us than were the White bigots of the past.  They feared that in expanding the veil of justice - their own backsides would suffer exposure as they were "short sheeted".  Whereas their exclusivity left us vulnerable - today's dilution of order similarly leave us exposed.  The only difference is the intent.  In the past the forces sought to hammer our people.  Today the forces neglect our intersts out of their willingness to believe that external forces are ultimately to blame.


I realize that few sermons today that are heavy laden with references to Dr King will make such a self-indictment about our key problems.   It is not good practice to insult those who sit before them in the pews.  Further more few of these speakers will outside of their own body and point the finger at the man who stands in the pulpit spouting words.

The difference between "Martin Luther King Jr Day" lapsing into yet another discount sale day for department stores and becoming a salient component of our national dialogue is the boldness and audacity of the speakers to hold up the immutable references of "civil rights and justice" and use its polished sterling sliver surface to have those in earshot of his words to see themselves in the mirrored surface.

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