Friday, April 04, 2008


Juan Williams, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece entitled "Obama and King":

King ... did not paint black people as victims. To the contrary, he spoke about black people as American patriots who believed in the democratic ideals of the country, in nonviolence and the Judeo-Christian ethic, even as they overcame slavery, discrimination and disadvantage.

Martin Luther King, "I Have a Dream" speech, August 28, 1963:

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., Chapter 25, "Malcolm X":

But I think one must understand that Malcolm X was a victim of the despair that came into being as a result of a society that gives so many Negroes the nagging sense of "nobody-ness." Just as one condemns the philosophy, which I did constantly, one must be as vigorous in condemning the continued existence in our society of the conditions of racist injustice, depression, and man's inhumanity to man.

Martin Luther King, "Speech at the Great March on Detroit," June 23, 1963:

We've been pushed around so long; we've been the victims of lynching mobs so long; we've been the victims of economic injustice so long -- still the last hired and the first fired all over this nation. And I know the temptation. I can understand from a psychological point of view why some caught up in the clutches of the injustices surrounding them almost respond with bitterness and come to the conclusion that the problem can't be solved within, and they talk about getting away from it in terms of racial separation. But even though I can understand it psychologically, I must say to you this afternoon that this isn't the way. Black supremacy is as dangerous as white supremacy.

To Williams, it's not enough that King encouraged blacks to resist succumbing to a sense of injustice -- King (or, rather, Williams's fantasy version of King) had to leave that recognition of injustice out of his speeches and writings completely.

This isn't aimed at King, of course. This is aimed at Barack Obama and any African American who (unlike Juan Williams) dares to talk about this society in ways that would be inappropriate for a paid commentator on Fox News. So it's not enough that Obama speaks of working to transcend racial divisions -- Obama can't even have entertained the notion that blacks have ever been victims of anything in this country. And if King ever entertained such notions, Williams has to write it out of the historical record.

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