Monday, January 18, 2016
Martin Luther King Day
From Salon, an interesting comparison between Dr. King and President Obama and the racial hatred directed at them by their own countrymen and women:
They’ll never escape white rage: The world embraced Obama and MLK — their countrymen would not
by Jason Sokol
"...a comparison of the anti-King rhetoric of 1968 with the anti-Obama rhetoric in 2016 makes for some chilling parallels.
Then as now, a deep racial animus underpinned much of the white hatred. It was rarely discussed yet always lurking. Even in 1968, whites understood that they had to frame their malice toward King as something other than racism. They did not oppose King because he struggled for black freedom and equality, said many whites. They detested him because he was a “rabble-rouser,” a Communist, and a law-breaker.
It might be harder to label as simple racism today, but the opposition to Obama is often entangled with racial fear. White men account for the vast majority of Obama haters. Some are ideological conservatives who simply reject his policies. Some think that he wants their guns. For many others, a corrosive and convoluted fear drives it all: a fear of racial minorities, a fear of religions other than Christianity, a fear of immigrants with brown skins. Trump stokes these fears and plays to the idea that white workers have lost their cherished place in American life. Obama stands as the ultimate symbol of a changing nation.
In 1964, Ralph McGill wrote that Atlanta citizens had become “befogged by emotions and prejudices” in their attitudes toward Martin Luther King. Europeans who awarded him the Nobel prize could see more clearly – indeed, Europeans anticipated how history would remember King. In the last five decades, Americans have witnessed a stunning transformation. Martin Luther King has changed from an outlaw to a saint, from the target of enmity to the subject of a monument on the Washington Mall. He now occupies a cherished place among the nation’s heroes. We celebrate a national holiday in King’s honor, yet the controversy that dogged him is part of the not-so-distant past. It was not until the year 2000 that the state of New Hampshire finally recognized Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday.
Today, Americans have forgotten the hatred for King. Which begs the question: How will Americans remember Obama? As a divisive leader? Or as one who broke the greatest barrier in American politics, and who left a long list of accomplishments – who rescued the economy, provided health care for the underinsured, and helped pave the way for same-sex marriage?
Before foaming at the mouth at the mention of Obama, today’s haters might consider how we now view those who scorned Martin Luther King."
"Foaming at the mouth" is an apt description of the anti-Obama haters. In their cramped and racist minds, Mr. Obama represents all that is evil and anti-American. And why has his presidency caused them to think in such terms? Read the entire Salon piece and discover the depressing similar attitudes their distractors held against these two men.
Thankfully, those who hold such animus toward Mr. Obama and his family, and who did so toward Dr. King as well, will be in the minority very soon.
Dr. King's dream that the American people will judge men and women on the content of their character, not the color of their skin, will ultimately prevail.