Turn King's Dream Into A Nightmare
by Jerry Brooks
Every third Monday in January,
our nation celebrates the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King's struggle for civil
rights and equality are certainly worthy of recognition and emulation.
Events will honor his life and achievements. Amidst all the music
and fanfare, however, some black leaders will take the opportunity
to make political statements. When they do so, black Americans
will once again receive a heaping helping of liberal divisiveness
and the toxic gospel of victimology contributing to black America's
Not long ago, I watched a replay
of a past King Day celebration at a predominantly black church
in Seattle. The keynote speaker was Dr. Carl Livingston, a professor
at a local community college.
Livingston's speech started
out well enough, but it devolved into a diatribe against the
"conservative movement." Livingston presumed that conservatives
in the 1980s did nothing for black Americans except try to drag
us back to the South of the 1950s. He said the only way that
black America can prosper is for the government to give us what
we are due.
While he mixed in a touch of
personal responsibility to his rhetoric, he, sadly, failed to
take into consideration that numerous black Americans achieved
economic success during the 80s, moving from the ranks of the
poor to the middle class and higher. Minority entrepreneurship
also increased substantially. So much for oppression.
Livingston's rhetoric is exactly
what King Day celebrations don't need. Livingston should have
saved his political diatribe for one of his classes or wrote
a column. This nonsense doesn't belong in the pulpit of a church.
I could only imagine what would have happened if a conservative
spoke like that in a church. But I digress.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
never encouraged victimhood. Instead, he sought equality and
justice for all people. His message was about unity, not the
divisiveness spewing out of the mouths of many of today's black
leaders. His vision was of a world where people of all colors,
creeds, backgrounds and faiths could work together for a brighter
future. It wasn't one where political correctness, social programs
and government quotas achieved a perverse sense of equality.
He eloquently spoke of the content of a person's character as
the key to being successful in life, not the color of one's skin.
For 40 years, many black Americans
have unknowingly participated in their own cultural deterioration.
Out of wedlock births among black Americans are at a level of
nearly 70 percent. The hip-hop music culture has severely distorted
the true definition of manhood as well as denigrated women to
the level of animals. Gangsta rap has encouraged violence, rebellion
and disrespect for authority - especially law enforcement. If
black children desire academic excellence and to be articulate,
they're automatically and cruelly labeled as not being "authentically
Worst of all, conservative
blacks such as Clarence Thomas and Condeleezza Rice are treated
like pariahs rather than role models. I don't think Snoop Dogg,
Ludacris, and 50 Cent are the type of people minority kids (or
any kids for that matter) should emulate. The latter are mere
flashes in our history while the former are key figures.
Far too many black Americans
still place their faith in people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton,
who are more than willing to lead them down a primrose path of
self-destruction for the sole purpose of keeping their stranglehold
of political power on the black community at large.
Dr. King's birthday should
be more than just a day off or a chance for black leaders to
take cheap potshots at conservatives. It should be a tribute
to a man who literally risked it all to make America a better
place. It's also a reminder that, even though we still have problems,
we still have made tremendous strides in terms of equality -
not just for black Americans, but for all Americans.
We can forget the true lessons
of Martin Luther King's life, but we do so at our own peril.
Jerry Brooks is a member of
the black leadership network Project 21 and a political consultant
in Spokane, Washington. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org.
Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research.
Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries
reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those
of Project 21.
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