King For A Day

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New at Reason: Live up the March On Washington's ruby anniversary while you can, all you wallowing baby boomers—the fortieth anniversary of That Day In November is right around the corner! Meanwhile, Ron Bailey takes a look at how much of Martin Luther King's dream has come true.

NEXT: Wesley Willis, R.I.P.

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  1. Nice thoughts, and interesting information
    on intermarriage through the link. In the
    end, the solution to the race “problem” in
    the US, like the solution to the Irish
    “problem” in the US in the last century,
    will come when intermarriage and assimilation
    into middle class culture turn sharp boundaries
    into a blurred continuum. It takes painfully
    long, but I am optimistic about the outcome.
    Even during the seven years I spent in
    Canada, things got noticeably better in the
    US. I noticed a difference when I got back.

    Jeff

  2. Jeff,

    Why are your post always so narrow?

    Er…space-wise that is, not content-wise!

  3. Stickler/Rex:

    I’ve previously heard that King supported racial quotas, so Stickler is probably right. But I think the more significant point is that the tone of his most famous line SEEMED to imply otherwise and to merely embrace equality of opportunity, which I think contributed mightily to his stature outside the civil rights community, the true nature of his views notwithstanding.

  4. What fyodor said.

    I was talking about Dr. King’s stated “dream”, not his actual dream, that as Stickler suggests, might not really support “race-blindness”, or perhaps intends to achieve it “eventually” after a period of race quotas to make up for past discrimination. If the latter was King’s true dream, why did he not state that on the Mall instead? Putting aside the question of “when will the corrective action of “racial quotas” or “race-based preferential treatment” be uneccessary?” for a moment, Is it possible that the modern day civil rights leaders who advocate these policies understand Dr. King just fine, and that race-blindness isn’t the goal, just racism that is more favorable to their race, at the expense of whites or asians or anyone in a different racial group? Was he misrepresenting himself to gain support for a covert racist agenda?

    Maybe I don’t really understand Dr. King’s work or his philosophy, but I can’t help thinking that “race-based preferential treatment” wasn’t what he was talking about 40 years ago in the famous speech that touched all who heard it so deeply. And I can’t believe that his racist opponents were no better or worse than he himself. But I suppose now I must consider the possibility, sadly.

  5. fyodor –

    I just use the room I am given, without pushing
    too close to the margin. I think I have a
    lingering memory of tying extra early on and
    having it look really ugly with wrap-arounds.

    Jean –

    Have seen Patterson cited in discussions of
    slavery in the U.S. My girlfriend in graduate
    school wrote her dissertation under Bob Fogel
    so I learned a lot about slavery (and read
    Without Consent or Contract). Is there a
    particularly Patterson book you would recommend
    that gives the global perspective?

    Jeff

  6. It seems so strange to me that Dr. King wanted a man to be judged “not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character”, but all the civil rights activists today want racial quotas and “diversity” that is determined purely by skin color. Isn’t it ironic that the people who consider themselves Dr. King’s successors are doing the most to actively thwart his dream?

  7. Jeff Smith,

    Well, my favorite is _Slavery and Social Death,_ where Patterson argues against much of what had been up to time of that writing (1982 as I recall) had been conventional wisdom. Importantly Patterson, instead of looking merely at the laws which effected slaves, looked at slaves as the fulfilled social roles – at their social station in other words. In this way he comes to the conclusion that slaves were “socially dead” – this is particularly evident in the lack of power over their lives.

    There is also _Rituals of Blood_ (where he argues that the good fight against racism by black Americans has come with a heavy price – dysfunctional male and female relationships for example – in other words, violence, racism, etc. against black Americans continues to haunt their social lives even thought these have significant ebbed) and _The Ordeal of Integration_ (where Patterson argues that black America is not in a crisis and that prosperity has come to black America – yet he argues that this is not the general impression one would get from the rhetoric of politcians on either side of the political spectrum or the news media).

  8. Rex: If your readings of King extended past one famous quote, you’d know that he actually supported racial quotas.

  9. Jeff Smith,

    Orlando Patterson, a noted historian of slavery (as a global phenomenon) describes in several of his works how the passage from slavery to freedom was a tumultuous inter-generational affair in almost every society where such has occurred (going back to the ancient world). This was the case whether the individuals freed were of the same racial or ethnic group or not. Which in a way is rather heartening.

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