The King is Dead

By Patrick Hall

I believe I had skipped out of track practice that April day and was listening to WBBF on the front porch when regular music programming was interrupted to announce that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. My mom and one of my sisters had just walked home from the local Star Market carrying bags of groceries. We did not have a family car at that time since my father passed in 1963. So, it was a typical evening when my mother arrived home, and I followed her into the kitchen and told her that Dr. King had been killed. I can remember my mom throwing the bag of groceries onto the kitchen floor, and my sister just stood there, somewhat comatose. But despite the tragedy of that day, I recall that I had never seen my mother so shaken and overcome with anger. Also, it was one of the few times that I ever saw my mother cry. But after a few minutes, she regained her composure and tried to explain to my sister and me what Martin Luther King Jr. believed and gave his life. It was a difficult message to want to take in at that moment. But Doctor King was about healing this nations’ horrible track record on race and replacing it with hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation. That our country, despite its flaws, could overcome the ugly spectrum of racism that still existed in some parts of the nation. Once again, my heart at the time wasn’t in the mood for forgiveness because of what some racist did to Dr. King.

But my mother, born in a segregated America at the turn of the century, had gone through a lot more than I had ever experienced at the time. She and my dad, along with some of my older siblings born in the 1930s and 40s, had a front-role-seat to a lot of “real racist behavior” under the auspices of unfettered racial segregation and Jim Crow. However, because of Dr. King’s movement for Civil Rights, mother had a confidence, a God-center belief, that this nation was more than what one disturbed individual or group could affect.

The Abrogation

When we hear the familiar words uttered by Dr. King during the March on Washington in August of1963, that one day we would live in an America, where the Negro and all Americans would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. It was more than inspiring. It was at the heart or very core of the Civil Rights Movement. King sought a colorblind society, but not through the distorted lens that many of today’s race-industry-entrepreneurs interpret. Colorblindness has little or nothing to do with not being aware that I am black or you are white, Asian, or Latino. Race industry quacks deliberately confuse “awareness” with obsession, mania, phobia or preoccupation with outside appearances. "When King spoke of a colorblind society, it was a cultural inculcation or mindset that one’s external appearance becomes the least important thing about a person.

My wife is a native-born German who grew up as a little girl in the bombed-out rubble of Post-War II Germany. Her upbringing and what she experienced couldn’t have been more different than mine as a semi-washed little Negro-boy, who came to maturation in a stable urban environment. We seldom obsess about, hey, you're white, and I'm black. It just isn't the focal point of who we are.  

Listening to the idiocy of today’s influential race profiteers, you would think that when my wife and I got into one of our misunderstandings, the first words out of her mouth would be to call me a nigger. Meine Güte…

 Alas, somewhere along the line, the groups and individuals who have supposedly taken up King’s legacy have, for the most part, completely abolished the spirit or nature of the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the BLM Global Foundation, Antifa, the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, White Fragility acolytes, and other race-obsessed constituencies have taken the nation in the opposite direction. A direction where everything is now about race, gender, or class. Beginning primarily in the late 1970s, the push for multiculturalism and diversity took center stage. Focusing on one’s race, ethnicity, gender became paramount. Later, the antecedents for Critical Race Theory (CRT) were spun, and the black community has pretty-much forgotten King’s creed about judging by character and not the ephemerals of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Multiculturalism and diversity have turned out to be little more than neo-tribalism, balkanization, or the new segregation, all dressed up as congeniality. They are, in fact, little more than racism with a smiling face. It’s racism under new management. It has encouraged many Americans to sit in their little hyphenated, racial, gender-specific, ethnic, and/or identitarian enclaves, waiting to be offended by God knows what. We as a nation have become incredibly humorless.

 We quickly categorize our fellow Americans as racist, sexist, homophobe, Islamophobe, climate and science deniers, anti-vaccers, transphobic, etc. We have cadres of individuals who believe that America is intrinsically racist or just plain wrong.

Each year we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. But do we, as Americans, really believe any of what Doctor King was about. Quite honestly, I don't know the answer to that anymore.

There is a profound pathology or cultural sickness afoot. It is a mass formational psychosis. I frequently refer to this as the “America is Bad” catechesis. I want to keep hope alive and live out the philosophy of Dr. King’s Civil Rights Movement, but I'm not sure how to confront this growing cultural anomie.

______________________
1.See.,  Colorblind - Part I  and Colorblind -Part II
 2. See., Offend me, please!

[Patrick Hall is a retired university library director. He is a graduate of Canisius College and the University of Washington, where he received three advance degrees. He has published in Freedom's Journal Magazine, America, Commonweal, Headway, Journal of Academic Librarianship, American Libraries and others. He currently volunteers at a local VA hospital in the town of Erie, Pa.]

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