My dad called Martin Luther King an “agitator.” I bet a lot of white dads did. Seems like every time Dr. King showed up somewhere, things got torn up or burned up.
So we killed him. Not me, of course. I’m not a racist. But who thinks he is?
So we tried to fix it. Made his birthday a national holiday. Put him on a pedestal. Where we can honor him. And he can’t poke us in the eye.
Plus, now we’ve squared everything. The Civil Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act. Come on, we’ve even elected a black president! That’s why people who look like me have a hard time understanding why so many black people are still angry while others have given up on America altogether.
I’ll let Ta-Nehisi Coates boil it down for you. White society was not achieved through “wine tastings and ice cream socials, but rather through the pillaging of life, liberty, labor and land.” In short, through three centuries of kidnapping, torture, murder and rape. Broken teeth, broken bones and broken spirits. Families ripped apart. Children taken from their parents.