I spent eight hours today amongst thousands at the March on Washington, and the people present were some of the most remarkable, resilient people I have ever had the privilege to be around. The number-one face on T-shirts, placards, and even homemade drawings was not President Obama or even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was Trayvon Martin. I also witnessed homemade signs calling for jobs programs, speaking out against the school closures and in solidarity with those overseas victimized by US militarism. The people at this march are the face of resistance to what Dr. King called the “evil triplets of militarism, materialism and racism.”
The main speakers at the march, however, did not match the politics and urgency of those who gathered in the Saturday heat. Even more frustrating is that few tried. I expect to get all kinds of hate mail for what I’m about to write, but not to write it would be an act of duplicity based on what I saw and what I heard. I saw the great Julian Bond get only two minutes to say his piece before being shuttled from the stage. I saw Reverend Jesse Jackson, who has done remarkable work in recent years against the banks and predatory lending, also get less time than a pop song. I saw Reverend Lennox Yearwood, who is doing some of the most important work in the country connecting climate change to racism, get ninety seconds before being cut off. There was one speaker at the 8 am pre-rally who said the word “drones,” and that was it for any discussion of US foreign policy.
Based upon the speeches during the main portion of today’s events there can be little doubt that the Dr. King who was murdered in Memphis in 1968 would not have been allowed to speak at this fiftieth-anniversary commemoration of his life. There was no discussion of the “evil triplets.” Instead, we had far too many speakers pay homage to the narrowest possible liberal agenda in broad abstractions with none of the searing material truths that make Dr. King’s speeches so bracing even today.
– Seeing ‘New Jim Crow’ Placards Seized by Police & More From The March On Washington, by Dave Zirin via The Nation.
Hosted by Tami Winfrey Harris and Andrea Plaid
Well, Mad Men fans and critics wondered how the show would handle the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Hosts Tami Winfrey Harris, along with Renee Martin from Womanist Musings and Fangs for the Fantasy and Racialicious staffer Joe Lamour, chat about how Weiner and Co. does, as well as how plaids mark a character and why white hipsters wouldn’t live in Brooklyn yet–”yet” being the operative word.
You know the drill: spoilers. And here we go…
Tami: Before we get into this Mad Men episode that deals with MLK, Jr.’s assassination and the racial unrest of the late 1960s, I have to ask: Where does the group stand on Matt Weiner’s treatment of race in Mad Men up until now?
I’m on record as thinking he has done well, despite the absence of many characters of color in the show. I know at the very least Renee disagrees with me. What say you, roundtablers?
By Andrea Plaid
Like White Dog that came after it, certain zeitgeist-capturing movies like King: A Filmed Record From Montgomery To Memphis simply disappear. Unlike White Dog, King disappeared on purpose.
By Andrea Plaid
Harry Belafonte’s music moves in my mind and life like a childhood memory: I know he’s there and smile or dance when I hear one of his songs just for the little-kid joy it brings to me. (My personal cut: “Jump in the Line,” made famous again by Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice.)
But he moves through my own political consciousness (budding back in the 80s) as one of the first celebrities to organize efforts to aid and stand in solidarity with African countries, from speaking out against apartheid in South Africa and co-organizing the musical benefit record “We Are the World” to now, where he’s harshly criticized former president George W. Bush’s policies about Iraq.
However, Ms. Owner/Editrix, Latoya Peterson, who saw Belafonte’s documentary not too long ago, breathlessly said at a recent Racialicious editorial meeting, “He is Racialicious.”
My urge to scream is rooted in our common cultural practice of remembering Parks only as a demure and delicate old seamstress who sparked the civil rights movement. The common assertion is that Parks’ moment in history began in December 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Ala. But we must confront this assertion, because each time we confine her memory to that moment we erase part of her admirable character, strategic intellect and indomitable spirit.
To be clear, Rosa Parks left us a deliberate legacy of activism, not an accidental activist moment. Furthermore, she, like many other Black women, should not be remembered in the shadows of Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. or any other Black male civil rights activist, but rather right alongside of them. We must realize and teach that when Rosa Parks was helping lay the foundation for the civil rights movement, Dr. King was still in high school.
- From “Black Herstory: Rosa Parks Did Much More than Sit on a Bus,” in Ms. Magazine
Over at the Click the Toad Blog, the Chief Toad explains how the MLK Jr. official legacy site was outranked by white supremacists with a good grasp of SEO:
My hands are shaking with anger as I type this. A sick, cowardly, and racist website (hereafter referred to in insult-laced bold type) that trashes the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr is outranking the official Martin Luther King Jr website on Google. I will not provide a link to the racist site, as I will not directly contribute a single visit to them. However, I will show exactly how the official Martin Luther King website (found at http://www.thekingcenter.org) got beaten in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) battle. My dream to improve The King Center‘s SEO and Google Rank may not be as lofty and inspirational as Martin Luther King Jr’s, but I do have a dream. [...]
One of the best ways to beat a web competitor is to look at their metadata and their successful keywords… and then outdo them at their own game. So here is what The Racist Pukes have going on for their SEO (and the official Martin Luther King Jr website could simply borrow and improve upon all of these):
Racist Pukes’ Homepage Title: Martin Luther King Jr. – A True Historical Examination
Racist Pukes’ Meta Description: The truth about Martin Luther King: Includes historical trivia, articles and pictures. A valuable resource for teachers and students alike.
Racist Pukes’ Meta Keywords: Martin Luther King Jr, Civil Rights, Black History, Slavery, Reparations, Kwanzaa, Anti-Defamation League, ADL, anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry, hatred, prejudice, bias, Holocaust, Israel, democracy, terrorism, militia, Jews, Jewish, diversity, anti-Semitic incident, racist, discrimination, Holocaust denial, neo-Nazi, Nazi, Nazis, tolerance, civil rights, Black, extremism, extremist, hate crimes, skinheads, Middle East, Islamic Extremist, education, White supremacy, minority, bias, religious freedom, tolerance, religious right, Martin Luther King Jr., free speech, MLK, school prayer, religion, justice
We often talk about the legacy of civil rights being hijacked to suit the needs of those who would undo those gains in a heartbeat – this is a literal manifestation.
Activists need to up our tech game. Because this is just ridiculous.
(Spotted on Chris Rabb‘s facebook wall)
These are the live quotes from last week’s MLK Memorial Dedication service.
By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid
I guess I’m not the only one who found the solemnity-yet-randomness of the Black History Month Minutes in my youth a tad ridiculous. I understood why the segments were needed and learned a lot from them–and still found my hand in front of my giggling mouth. The comic troupe Elite Delta Force 3 may have felt the same way.