If Martin Luther King Jr. were still alive today

What do you think the civil rights leader would think of today's anti-racist radicals?

What does critical race theory mean to Martin Luther King Jr.?

He could be angered by the current trendy tactic of pushing nonbelievers to word games, deceiving them into not being able to "define" CRT so they can't oppose it. The disadvantage is that the believers' own definitions are squirmy. The simplest explanation is that slavery is to blame for everything good that has occurred to white Americans and everything terrible that has happened to black Americans since 1619.

People want more black comedy characters with the same passion that they demand Thomas Jefferson's name be removed from high schools, and they believe both activities achieve anything. But as historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad put it, “The Dr. King we choose to remember was indeed the symbolic beacon of the civil rights movement. But the Dr. King we forget worked within institutions to transform broken systems.”

The majority of CRT believers sidestep the practical questions that recognition could elicit. It's about blind faith, or belief in the absence of evidence. They just know it is true, as do all zealots—sometimes because things haven't worked out in their own lives and they can't be held accountable, and they believe we should remake the entire society based on their interpretation of lived experiences.

Regardless of definitions, CRT members usually basically wait for something horrible to happen to black Americans, or resurrect some old bad incident (how many times does Emmett Till have to die?) on dry days. "There, that's it, institutional racism," they remark. If someone objects, they are shouted down, deplatformed, or cancelled. That is all a long way from what King wrote to us all from his jail cell in sweltering Birmingham, saying “the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.” King played the long game, not the one for daily clicks.

Playing for the "systemic racism" team entails a deliberate exclusion of any discussion that would lead to unfavorable findings. As a result, you must disregard stories of black Americans succeeding and situations of white Americans failing. You must also include Hasidic Jews, illiterate Irish immigrants from the nineteenth century, and Louis C.K. into the "white" group.

You must not wonder why racist whites have "allowed" Asians, Hispanics, Persian real estate brokers, and Ghanaians to prosper as "systemic racism" supporters. You don't want to discuss how various groups have succeeded in America. (If we're a white supremacist country, we're terrible at it.) Playing for the "systemic racism" team entails a deliberate exclusion of any discussion that would lead to unfavorable findings. As a result, you must disregard stories of black Americans succeeding and situations of white Americans failing. You must also include Hasidic Jews, illiterate Irish immigrants from the nineteenth century, and Louis C.K. into the "white" group.

You must not wonder why racist whites have "allowed" Asians, Hispanics, Persian real estate brokers, and Ghanaians to prosper as "systemic racism" supporters. You don't want to discuss how various groups have succeeded in America. (If we're a white supremacist country, we're terrible at it.)

You have to think there is a widespread movement dedicated to avoid teaching about racism, when we learnt about Little Rock (the iconic photo of the army carrying the little black girl to school is famous because we've all seen it) and Brown at my own awful public high school 40 years ago. You must feel at ease portraying George Floyd as a hero while neglecting George Floyd the drug user. You must think of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, as simply another oppressor.

Martin Luther King, on the other hand, had a strong understanding of the Founders—men of their time—as well as the extent of advancement on a Biblical (rather than digital) time frame. In his August 1963 address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King said, “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.” It's probable that King sees himself as Jefferson's intellectual heir rather than Nikole Hannah-Jones'.

Adherents of critical race theory must deny that black Americans achieved great economic growth after WWII, reducing the pay gap dramatically even while segregation was still prevalent. And don’t ask why this progress stopped even though racial animus declined over the years. No talking about how immigrants from the West Indies and Africa, descended from slaves, fare better than U.S.-born black citizens, even better than many white Americans. (The median income for American households of Nigerian ancestry is $68k, compared with $61k for U.S. households overall.)

Fixing systemic racism also entails feeling that it is someone else's responsibility. There was no mention of black voters' poor turnout or the fact that the majority of shootings in our cities are black-on-black and not by cops. Individual responsibility, single parent families with fleeing fathers, fetal alcohol syndrome and underage mothers, and the horror of inner city gangs and drug usage are all topics that should be avoided. No, such things are created by systemic racism, we must think, and they are not the fault or responsibility of any person.

We must dismiss the lack of action on this supposed systemic racism by a two-term black president with two black attorneys general, and later by a black vice president, because somehow that was not their job or their responsibility—never mind the fact that they were the system in systemic, literally running the government.

We might remember Obama’s Department of Justice described failures throughout the Chicago Police Department, the city then run by Obama stooge Rahm Emanuel, saying excessive force was chiefly aimed at black people. There was little action, and Biden, another Obama apologist, went on to pick Rahm as ambassador to Japan. It was under Obama’s black attorney general in 2013 that key provisions of the Voting Rights Act were dismantled.

Because King saw that charlatans came in all hues, he asked that we assess individuals based on their character rather than their skin color. He, too, believed in the obligation to act, and it was in this that he discovered the heart of his movement. “If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us,” he once said, “the opposition we now face will surely fail.”

It may be unjust to put words in the lips of the dead, and some readers may question the ethics of a Caucasian penning a critical article about Martin Luther King. So, here's how we'll do it: What will happen when those who still understand King (forget the oh-so-intelligent undergrads with purple hair and lily-white skin) learn that his heirs, the critical race theorists, have built their message on a foundation of lies, hatred, hypocrisy, violence, and plain carny talk?

On this day, honoring MLK, there's a lot to ponder about.

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