Had an uncle once who used to hit me in the head using my own hand. Bigger and stronger, he would keep it up way past funny, with a smirk and a “stop hitting yourself,” refrain. I never liked that uncle much. that’s how I’m feeling today about the way the media observes the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King jr. holiday. Let me explain.
When there was first a discussion about a federal holiday dedicated to Dr. King the complaint was that it wasn’t necessary, and didn’t we already have enough holidays. Critics argued that it would either be too expensive, or that the US shouldn’t honor private citizens, but oops, the country already had a Columbus Day, and he never held office either. After it was a done deal, designated by Ronald Reagan, by the way, and facing stiff opposition from his own Republican party, republicans attempted to paint King as a Marxist.
In truth, Reagan opposed the holiday, but signed it nonetheless. at the state level…well, look what is happening currently with marriage equality. Arizona voters, pressured at the loss of the super bowl being played there that year, passed the measure.
Fast forward, to a media consumed by just a hand full of mega-corporations, that Rush Limbaugh can be heard on 900 major and mid-size stations nationally, not including hundreds of other stations carrying exclusively rightwing programming, but progressive, or at least oppositional hosts and on fewer than 100 nationally, mostly on small and low-power stations. Now the rhetoric is no longer about MLK, but rather attacking any attempt at Black pride and power, and in making the field in politics, justice, society, economics, education and the workplace. BlackLivesMatter, a desperate effort to showcase the disparity in police shootings along racial lines, is mocked or belittled, usually with the obtuse and cruel reply of “Well, don’t all lives matter?” but the answer to that is no, because we have seen that this society still places a far lesser value on the lives of Black men.
This morning on a local station, Amy Jacobsen used a discussion about the holiday to defend the police shooting of Laquan McDonald. Another station belittled Jessie Jackson, despite a low profile today. Dennis Prager, one of those I refer to as an intellectual racist, because they site statistics and data to support their racism, started his show with MLK’s quote about judging a person by their character rather than color of their skin.
The quote, first of all is mischaracterized. That is not what King was talking about. He was talking bout the white community and the system of national apartheid, and that he dreamed of such a day, but that we had a long road to travel before we arrived there. People like Prager, instead, use it as a bludgeon to attempt to dismantle any little bit of progress we have made in equality and justice since this nation lost Dr. King. To be fair, they do that everyday, but this day allows them a new weapon, which they employ with all the perverse glee of that uncle I was talking about. They are, essentially beating the Black community using their own hand…
WC Turck is the author of more than a dozen books. He is an artist, critically acclaimed playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His latest book “<em><strong>A Tragic Fate:</strong> is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17</em>.” His first novel, “<strong>Broken</strong>” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “<strong>Everything for Love</strong>,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “<strong>Occupy my Heart</strong>” and “<strong>The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden</strong>.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He hosts “<strong>Helter Skelter</strong>” a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics on Que4 radio in Chicago. he is also an organizing board member of Chicago’s only community radio station dedicated to supporting diversity in media. Turck also hosted Revolution and Beer, with co-host Brian Murray, a weekly TV and radio show. He has been featured on radio, television and newspapers across the country, including The Thom Hartmann Show, WLS, WCPT, Grant Cardone’s The Cardone Zone, NPR, the Chicago Tribune and more. Turck also has nearly two decades experience in the airline industry, working for both Lufthansa and United Airlines. He is also an expert in Balkan and European History, Nationalism, PTSD and Issues of Genocide and Racism. For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit http://www.wcturckhelterskelter.wordpress.com</em>