Martin Luther King day is a strange holiday to me. It is one of those holidays where, if someone refuses to recognize it I should take issue, get offended, become belligerent, and become this activist for civil rights. Yet celebration of the holiday is out of the question, because I am obsessed with my rights that I supposedly have as a Black person which do nothing to edify, and everything to ensure that I remain ignorant (you know, just because I can, because you told me that I cannot). Most like to do those ignorant things, but no one wants to celebrate the opportunity to do something positive that we our forefathers had to die for. It used to be that we were sick of having to digress now we are willing to kill someone for the right to digress, it is interesting how times have changed.
In the early days everyone did their part to celebrate the holiday, and we actually recognized the contribution that Martin Luther King made to society, America, and the civil rights movement. We also celebrated Kwanzaa, but over time as we were assimilated into mainstream America we lost sight of the significance and importance of celebrating the holiday, and it has turned into another reason to get off of work. So I took off of work; after all my employer is still going to pay me as though I was there in the office, plus I’m sick of work and need that day off for my own peace of mind. Yet for Martin Luther King, it was not about peace of mind; the civil rights struggle was a struggle for the right to be human, as our people were still living a life that by definition, was inhumane.
Back in the day you might pop “Roots” into the VCR. These days I will probably watch another rerun of The Real Housewives. In fact I would rather be entertained by White people that are very good at making me laugh. It makes me feel better about being Black and is consolation that as ignorant as most of us are, it is okay to be ignorant, it is simply a matter of context. Everything will be Black and White for a day, and I might get angry at old Black and White footage from the civil rights of someone being attacked by a police dog or sprayed with a fire hose. What a waste of good resources, just to keep someone in their place.
The entire movement was the result of a strange time. A waste of a lot of good resources, for terror and to ensure that Blacks stayed in the confines and within the lines both mentally, physically and spiritually. So we said that we weren’t going to take it anymore, and a lot of us were killed on the spot. Of course our government washed their hands of both the White people that were terrorizing us and the Blacks that remained in the South that dealt with the treatment. It is easier to give up what you worked for and start over somewhere new, as many in the North did, than to deal with those that wished you were not there, even though you were in your own neighborhood. Ten years later Northerners would destroy their own neighborhoods in response to injustices that were happening there, and no one rebuilt those neighborhoods until hipsters wanted a cool place to live, recognizing a historical importance, and legacy, that affluent Blacks had fled to the suburbs from. In those neighborhoods were Northerners did not riot, crack cocaine was responsible for their demise.
Look at Detroit; Blacks fought for the right to run their own city, and they won that battle and Whites fled to the suburbs. Now all of the resources are in those suburbs, the suburbs are densely populated and have their own urban look and feel and the actual city of Detroit is being turned over to green-space and urban farming. The city is in the suburbs, and the city is an experiment and a tragic lesson in liberal politics. The day will come when you leave the suburbs, drive through farms and then arrive in downtown Detroit, as though you were leaving a city and going to another one. They may as well take down the street signs and designate certain roads as State routes. If you have the resources to protect your land and keep the homeless at bay, you too can own a mansion for $15,000.
It is interesting how times have changed, and what we had to deal with fifty years ago. At least during slavery a system was in place to ensure free labor and commerce; after that time, it was just hate for the sake of it. I think for some, Martin Luther King day is a good excuse for everything to be racial again; yes we need to know what happened and how we got to where we are, but one is also in the mindset to watch all of Spike Lee’s movies, you know before he started making movies for White people, and be angry and hostile for the rest of the day. Ironic how most of the Black artists that were trying to liberate us have to play to all White audiences because your average Black person can no longer relate. Ironic how you have to learn about your own history from a White professor because he is the only one that actually cares about it these days. A lot of what we are supposed to be doing for each other, someone has to go outside of their race to enjoy.
Not that it is a bad thing; after all this is part of what Martin Luther King and those in the civil rights era were fighting for, the right to assimilate and options where none would be realized otherwise. But I doubt that it is the way they thought that life would turn out. Instead there is self-separatism, when it is convenient for us, and assimilation, when we are trying to get ahead, and when other Blacks will not listen to us or give us the time of day. Many of subscribe to a school of thought that encourages a monolithic culture when there are no practical, pragmatic, or economic reasons for us to want to be different. We are not interested in our own history, our own legacy, and the integrity that we used to have at one time. Instead we are in line for the same tripe that the rest of America is in line for. A Jewish woman told me that she told the boss she was not coming into work for one of her religious holidays that was not nationally recognized. Somehow I think she was actually going to observe that day and attend religious services …