The Nightmare That’s Become of King’s Dream
Martin Luther King Jr. came to New York in 1958 and was stabbed by a crazy person. He almost died. The legacy of judging people by the content of their character has been treated no more respectfully in the intervening years.
For the sake of argument, let’s agree that the history of the civil rights movement as presented by admirers of Dr. King’s is accurate. (For the most part it is accurate, though with some glaring omissions and assumptions about the proper role of government in society that may not hold up to constitutional scrutiny, but nonetheless.) The state of American society today does not resemble that of 1953 or 1968.
Anyone who thinks we’re all going to join hands in some hip multicultural cuddle party is sorely mistaken. There is plenty of racial strife and an even wider disparity in the fortunes of the wealthy and the poor, both of which we can safely assume King would deplore.
Dr. King’s ultimate legacy is his success in making the moral case to America that racial prejudice is wrong and that every person should be judged as an individual and given a fair chance. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in this country who honestly disagrees with that. But what we’re being asked to do today in Dr. King’s name does not ring true to that argument and in fact runs counter to it.
Activists of today clamor for the days of yore and view any white face that complains about racial preferences or disproportionate violent crime as another George Wallace in the making. People, and whites in particular, have got to stop living by the Ken Burns documentaries that are running in their heads. You’ve been sold a narrative that no longer applies to American society.
Whereas blacks and a shamefully large segment of whites view today’s civil rights activism as a continuation of Dr. King’s work, most whites view today’s activism as a malicious betrayal of that legacy. It’s telling that many of the people asked to play the Jim Crow villain today are people arguing against government rules based on race. Race-based rules and regulations were the crux of the vilified Jim Crow South. And race-based rules and regulations are the go-to tools of the trade for bringing “social justice” to bear in today’s world.
One of the most stunning examples of this was here in New York City recently with the New York Fire Fighters. An activist judge forced the Fire Department of New York to throw out the results of the test because it thought that the composition of people who did well on the test was too white. The courts forcibly created a class of fire fighter cadets based on a racial calculus it thought was more representative of the city rather than who did well on the test. So far the results have been negative with a higher drop-out rate than a typical Fire Academy class.
Examples like these have been continuously generated over the last several decades. The American people in general and whites in particular are being asked to tolerate racial injustice as a way to redress grievances by people who claim to have been injured by racial injustice.
It’s time for people who claim to honor Dr. King’s work to stop using his legacy to promote prejudice and discrimination, and it’s long past time for whites to stop running for cover out of fear of being branded “racist” and speak up for themselves.