The Tragically Warped Legacy Of Martin Luther King, Jr.


Ethics Alarms has posted several paeans to the iconic civil rights leader on his “day” is the past, but it is time—past time, really—for a more rueful and honest assessment of his legacy. No one can (or should, anyway) deny King’s crucial role in eliminating segregation in the United States, killing Jim Crow, and prompting long-overdue legal and cultural reforms, epitomized by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. King’s words have continued to inspire while serving as guideposts for the nation’s journey, still infuriatingly incomplete, to a society where citizens are judged “by the content of their character” rather than the color of their skin. But in 2021, a celebration of King and his legacy seem particularly hypocritical. His alleged followers have transitioned to a cynical strategy of encouraging a national mentality that accepts that the color of an American’s skin defines the content of their character, or to put it another way, that race is the most important feature, factor and consideration in American life.

This is a perversion of what Dr. King stood for, but that is the status of his legacy today. Most of what I mention in this post is old news that we have discussed before, but there are, as there now are virtually every day, additional examples of this corrosive use of race to divide and corrupt society. In this morning’s New York Times Arts section, for example, an article headlined “Bringing on New Leaders For Diversity In The Arts” told us that “cultural institutions around the country are hiring their own diversity officers to increase the number of people of color on the staff and board, broaden their programming and address a widely acknowledged pattern of systemic racism.” Translated, all this statement means is that, cowed by routine accusations of racism, arts groups are substituting one undeniable system of racism for an unproven one. People are being hired and appointed because of their skin color alone, or certainly over all other reasons. This is not, of course, restricted to the arts. The idea that skin-shade equals talent and virtue has been embodied at the very top of our government. The soon-to-be official Vice-President of the United States is in that position solely because she is “of color” as well as female. Her character, ability, experience and accomplishments have nothing to do with the responsibility and high office handed to her: she was roundly rejected by the members of the public who belong to her party when running on the basis of those factors. “Diversity” is a cover-word for discrimination. Dr. King was not asking for quotas in his protests, speeches and marches: he was demanding that blacks like him be given the opportunity to succeed on the same basis as whites, judged, rewarded and advanced without regard to their race.

“Diversity”—Full disclosure: I’ve taught diversity training sessions, and then finally stopped after deciding that it was a destructive, hypocritical con—has become a tool of acquiring power, and an effective one. It is also a justification for discriminating against better qualified, more talented, more deserving candidates for jobs, appointments and elite educational opportunities if they happen to be…the “wrong” color. Last week, it was revealed that NFL’s Los Angeles Rams will get an extra draft pick in each of the next two NFL drafts under a new rule. In November, the league’s 32 owners approved a resolution that called for teams to be rewarded any time a minority member of their organization was hired away by another team to be either a head coach or a general manager . The idea behind the new rule was to encourage teams to hire more minority coaches and executives and develop them to the point that they become desirable for other teams to recruit. This incentive obviously is a special impediment to the careers of white members of the organization, embodying the unethical principle of punishing innocent human beings for misconduct they had no hand in. The rationalization for this is “white privilege,” the racist presumption, convenient for advocates of “diversity,” that all members of the white race benefit from the evils of racism, and thus have earned such roadblocks and penalties.

While Dr. King was fighting actual racism, his current legacy is built on the presumption of racism, false narratives, rhetorical tricks and double standards. In the same article linked above, we are told about a “heightened sense of urgency amid the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.” Black Lives Matter was launched on the twin lies that black teen Trayvon Martin was stalked and murdered because of his race, and that Michael Brown was assassinated by a racist cop. Both episodes proved to be falsely reported, but never mind: these were lies that activists wanted to believe, so they spread them still. After devising a clever name that doubles as a slogan that no one could safely deny (“Of COURSE black lives matter!”) the group used the presumption of racism to turn every example of a black citizen being shot or killed while resisting arrest as proof of systemic racism, racist cops, and universal white animus against minorities.

The “rise” of Black Lives Matter has been a matter of political expediency, institutional cowardice, and passive tolerance of intimidation and hypocrisy. “Black Lives Matter” is anointed as aspirational and just, though it presumes the racism of white society and white individuals—race libel—while equivalent sentiments like “All Lives Matter,’ White Lives Matter” and “It’s OK To be White” have been condemned as racist and redolent of white supremacy. San Francisco’s KPIX-TV reported that police in Union City, near Oakland,took down a banner over the weekend that read “White Lives Matter.” Law enforcement conducted an investigation into the banner, but concluded that no crime had been committed, the report said. Gee, they figured that out all by themselves! In D.C., the mayor directed that “Black Lives Matter” be painted in huge block letters on a public street. That’s a screaming double standard, and one that exacerbates racial distrust and division.

“The city is disgusted by this despicable act of vandalism that has occurred on the heels of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week and on the weekend of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday that celebrates the life and achievements of this important civil rights leader,” the Union’s officials said, and promised to “remain on heightened alert to make sure racist incidences like this do not happen again in our community.” Wait, white lives don’t matter? Why doesn’t the same trick BLM use to justify their race-based slogan work for whites?

“The killing of George Floyd” is also a presumed racism myth that I see repeated in multiple news stories every day. There is no evidence that George Floyd was killed because of his race, and the news media has been searching hard. The brutality of Officer Chauvin is being attributed to racism because Floyd was black. The same is true of the shooting of Jacob Blake, and the death of Breonna Taylor. The content of the character of each of these victims was far from sterling: their criminal activities are the reason they were in conflict with law enforcement. But contrary to King’s dream, all that matters to his civil rights activist successors is the color of their skin. George Floyd is a particularly weak case, for it is not at all certain that he was “killed” by the knee on his neck. But at this time, on this Martin Luther King Day, facts don’t matter.

The legacy of Dr. King on this Martin Luther King Day is the use of Critical Race Theory to create racial hate in schools and in workplace trainings. It is the active discrimination against Asian American (and white) students by colleges and universities. It is the refusal of news organizations to fire incompetent, unprofessional and racially biased African-American pundits and reporters, like Charles M. Blow, Don Lemon, Joy Reid, and Al Sharpton. It is the direct and open racial discrimination in public policy, as signaled by this recent tweet by the President Elect:

Biden tw

The markers of the black community’s character content are not encouraging. A disproportionate number of crimes are committed by blacks, though it has been pronounced racist to say so. The disproportionate number of U.S. prisoners that are also African-American is now also explained by the presumption of racism, though a the rate of more than 70% black births occurring without the benefit of two-parent families would seem to be relevant as well. The impulse to blame all failures, disappointments and misfortunes on white racism has been an ideal way for black Americans to avoid personal responsibility while demanding constant and apparently eternal special treatment: this is directly counter to what Dr. King sought as the way to equality. Though King said “It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of high maturity, to rise to the level of self-criticism,” his race in the U.S. has gone backwards in that respect. Self-criticism is virtually unheard of, and criticism from outside the race is invariably decried as racist.

Racial division is arguably as severe now as it was when King started his crusade. I don’t see where the nation goes from here, but I don’t see the leadership to reverse the trend, and Black Lives Matter certainly isn’t the solution. Neither is grovelling to Black Lives Matter, the current gutless and unprincipled fad.

Happy Martin Luther King Day.

30 thoughts on “The Tragically Warped Legacy Of Martin Luther King, Jr.

      • One of my longtime Usenet allies, Christopher Charles Morton, grew up in Chicago during the Civil Rights movement.

        I learned much from him.

        He told me that in Chicago, mainland Italians hate Sicilians, Mexicans hate Puerto Ricans, and Lithuanians hate Poles.

        He also wrote that if there were real aliens, Rumulans would hate Vulcans.

        No wonder he believes the King’s dream failed in Chicago.

  1. Boy, Jesse Jackson must be ready to cut BLM’s nuts off. Their corporate shakedown has made Jesse’s look like child’s play. Come to think of it, where is Jesse these days?

  2. Has anyone ever raised the issue of how much has to paid to the King Estate. The city where I live named a bridge after Dr. King and had to pay an exorbitant amount of money to his estate to use his name.

    • My longtime Usenet ally, Christopher Charles Morton, wrote this about Chicago.

      I’ll give you three reasons, having lived there until I joined the Army:
      1. The city “government” is as corrupt as any you’ll find in the third world. Members of the city council are in bed with the major gangs.
      2. The police department is as corrupt as the “government”, considering itself wholly outside the law. Until relatively recently, there was a home invasion, burglary and kidnapping ring operating INSIDE the most “elite” unit in the department.
      3. The population obviously LIKES these things, since they’ve been voting for them since before my grandmother moved there from Nashville… BEFORE WWI.

      Black Chicagoans elected and reelected Richard M. Daley for something like twenty+ years, DESPITE the fact that he profited politically from an organized torture ring operating INSIDE the Chicago PD. Most of the known victims of said ring were NOT Norwegian…

      Chicago is what it is because the Chicagoans WANT it that way. Sucks to be them.

    • Great writeup. The more of this I read, the more I come to believe that it is time for the various tribes and the two liberal and conservative halves of this nation to arrange to separate on peaceful terms.

      In 1923 the Allied powers, weary of war, arranged for the diplomatic settlement of the Greco-Turkish War and the end of those religio-ethnic persecutions. As a result, it was arranged that the ethnic Greek and Turkish populations in Greece and Turkey would be exchanged. It was also arranged that Turkey would give up all claims to the remainder of the Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately it came too late for the other victims of Ottoman brutality, and actually included a secret annex granting immunity to the perpetrators of those actions. It was an imperfect result, but it did end a lot of the ethnic violence.

      2 years earlier the United Kingdom arranged for the partition of Ireland, to end the brutal guerrilla war of independence by those loyal to Michael to Collins and others like him. The vast majority of the Protestants remained in the six counties that then formed Northern Ireland. I wish I could say that ended the religious violence, however, all it did was confine it to a smaller area, where it would only end (mostly) in 1998.

      Finally, in 1947, as the world struggled to recover from WW2, it was determined that the United Kingdom would withdraw from India. However, to prevent religious violence and mistreatment, the former imperial state would separate into a Muslim nation (Pakistan) and a Hindu nation (India). There was still plenty of religious violence as the two communities that couldn’t stand each other separated, but things finally settled into a two and later three state solution.

      The Bible tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand. I’ve said a few times here that a nation where half the population hates the other half can’t stay together. Half the nation here considers the other half to be tyrants and the other half considers the first half to be racists, and now traitors to boot (the assault on the Capitol is something the left will NEVER let go of). That second half now controls most of the levers of power, and has made it clear they intend to use that power to destroy the first half. The first half can either accept abuse and and this attempt to reduce it to permanent inferior status or it can fight back. Increasingly it looks like that fight is going to have to be a violent one. The first half’s confidence in the ballot box and the jury box has been shaken, and it is increasingly looking like the soap box is about to be taken away from them as a few internet moguls that the other side has in its pocket deplatform them and close them off from communication. That leaves the cartridge box as the last box available.

      Rather than a second civil war, I’d propose the following separation. We’ll draw one imaginary line along the border of California and further north, until we reach the Canadian border. We’ll draw another line along the southern border of Virginia, then detour along the western border of West Virginia, then continue up along the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania. Everything west of the first line and east and north of the second one will become the Commonwealth of the Coastal States of America. Everything else will become the New Republic of the South and West States of America. Washington D.C. will be split between Maryland and Virginia. The new capitals of the two nations will be established at New York and Nashville respectively. The fate of the historical buildings and public art in Washington D.C. will be worked out between the two nations. The fate of the various military assets will also be worked out between the two. New flags will be established for each nation, each of which will be empowered to write its own new constitution to replace the 1787 one, which will be dissolved. All registered Democrats must move to the Commonwealth within a year, all registered Republicans must move to the New Republic within a year. I think it’s the only way to peacefully settle this.

  3. Jack wrote: “The brutality of Officer Chauvin is being attributed to racism because Floyd was black.”

    Is it a fait accompli that Chauvin’s actions constitutes police brutality? From what I saw, he pressed his knee to Floyd’s lower back. There were three other officers holding him down and he was in the throes of a drug overdose. Bad Facts Matter!

    On the bigger of King’s legacy, I was discussing what Dr. King had done and how he moved the culture forward. King was motivated by integration. He wanted the American Dream to apply to, and be available to, all peoples regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, etc. Dr. King, though flawed (he was only human, after all) did great things at a very difficult time. He didn’t have “enemies”, only those whose hearts hadn’t been opened to the truth of what is essentially the Golden Rule. He wanted those who disagreed with to learn and understand why their positions were wrong. For that, he should be honored.

    I fully suspect in 2021, though, that remembrances will include homages to George Floyd. There is a restaurant at the southwesternish end of Houston that serves soul food. Long lines and people say it is tasty. I haven’t tried it yet. That is because there is a massive mural on the side of the building with St. George and his famous last words. Why would I want to patronize someplace that has promoted a lie and essentially tells me :I am not welcome?

    Oh, and Jason Blake? Did anyone see his interview on Good Morning America? Here is a video link to the interview:

    What a prince of a guy. I noticed that the interviewer spoon fed Blake questions and promoted the narrative that Blake “walked away” from the officers. He ignores that Blake violated a restraining order, fought with officers (who taized him twice), had a knife, and resisted arrest. Based on that interview alone, the man should be cleared for the first hurdle for sainthood, right up there with St. George the Breather.


    • I have not been able to find images or video of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s lower back, although I have seen plenty of both with his knee on Floyd’s neck.
      I agree with your assessment of King. Promoting his legacy by focusing on content of character is not easy, given the pervasiveness of racial identity politics, but we still should make the effort.

      • “Integration.” What a quaint concept. Black people would be integrated into and become a part of the majority (white) culture. Whatever happened to that notion? All that remains is either black separatism or black supremacy, take your pick.

        • It isn’t limited to black separatism or black supremacy either. Nobody who isn’t white or Oriental wants to be part of the majority culture. The Hispanics, the Muslims, the American Indians, they all despise the majority culture. “Why shouldn’t they?” goes the reasoning, after all, what did the majority culture ever do for them? They’re looking for revenge on the majority culture now.

          The Bible says that each shall seek his own kind. Maybe it’s time not only for the left and right to separate, but for the races that make up this country to separate.

  4. What was “Dr.” King doing in Memphis in April 1968? Agitating that people should be given jobs based on the color of their skin and not the content of their character. It’s almost as if he didn’t even believe the shit that came out of his mouth. At least he still burns in hell today.


    Last month, Thuy from Canada was out feeding community cats when she noticed a new face — a little gray kitten who showed up by herself, hoping to get a share of the food.

    “I kept an eye out on the cats and realized she was alone and had no mother,” Thuy told Love Meow.

    The kitten tried to join the other cats but was quickly chased away. “She was chased from the back yard to the front porch by the other cats. That eventing, we heard crying at our front door, and it was her.”

    If you understand why feral cats would chase a kitten away, you will understand why racism persists in the USA.

  6. As if on cue, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (2nd largest performing arts organization and LORT theatre with the greatest endowment in the USA) recently created the new position of Executive Director of Equity and Organization Culture. Thus creating and manufacturing a diversity problem where none had existed. I can only imagine how much damage will be done by an executive director with that large amount of free time on their hands trying to justify their existence. Unlike most non-profit arts organization, I do believe they have more money than sense.

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