The Worst King Day of All Time
It’s been a hell of a week. The whole SOPA thing right now has the internets in a tizzy and when I started this yesterday I had given up productivity since Wikipedia was down (although it has given me the impetus to start a Blackipedia. Kinda like BlackPlanet or BlackPeopleMeet, but with more unsourced facts). The week started with MLK Day, which (kinda predictably) was one of the most ignorant days on Earth, ever. I’m talking more ignorant than the day Oprah gave out all that free chicken. That ignorant. I woke up early Monday morning to go do some community service (read: go donate some money to the church across the street), and the first thing I saw on my twitter timeline was:
Yes, that is a Photoshop picture of the only non-President to have a monument on the National Mall holding hundreds in a strip club. With a stripper in front of him. Advertising Ciroc. And cheap lap dances. Granted, I don’t expect much couth or consideration from strip clubs, who routinely throw college refund parties, but damn. Can we be at least a little reverent?
Is this how crazy stuff has gotten that we use Dr. King to sell strip club parties? This wasn’t his “Dream” at all, although to be completely fair, I would be entirely amenable to a dream where all lap dances and drinks were $5. We need more Black leaders…man.
So after this bit of shock, I almost immediately found another site, The 40 Absolutely Worst People in America. Don’t click on that link if you have a short temper or recently watched Roots. This is a site full of beige folks who at some point on Facebook had a status update wishing a “Happy Nigger Day.” It killed me. It almost infuriated me, but then I realized that most of these folks were just asshole trollers who think that saying something like this makes them “edgy” or “cool” and gets attention. But one thing about this totally threw me off
No…..racial? What the hell does that even mean? How do you write a post saying “happy nigger appreciation day” and try and cover it up with “no racial?” The post was clearly racially influenced. That’s what shocked me about this site. There were a bunch of folks posting about “Nigger Day” and how they thought celebrating a holiday for Dr King was so stupid, but who always claimed “no racist” at the end. What the fuck do you think that racist means? Are only direct lynchings racist to these people? I don’t get it. And I feel like these are the same type of people who always yell that America is “post-racial.” They think that simply because they’re saying some type of crazy racist shit and not actually going out and Emmett Tilling black dudes that they’re somehow not racist by comparison. Crazy.
I’ve never understood why so many white folks are against Martin Luther King day. Especially students, who usually get the day off. It’s not a “Black” holiday, it’s a celebration of a man who gave his life to the simple cause of ensuring equal protection of human rights. I don’t even understand the whole “nigger” day thing. Nobody is forcing you to light harambee candles or whatever it is you think Black people do. Just enjoy the day off and shut up. Goodness.
Of course, the absolute smearing of Dr. King’s legacy couldn’t stop that early. Luckily enough for me I caught the Republican debates. Then I heard one of the most backwards and racist things I may ever have heard from someone in a public forum. During a Republican debate, Newt Gingrich defended his plan to “help” poor (read: poor black) kids understand the value of work by getting rid of child labor laws and making them the janitors in schools. He said that janitors make a lot of money and you could hire 30 kids for one janitor. The average janitor ACTUALLY makes between $20,000 and $30,000 a year.
Then he defended his comments and implied that Dr. King would have endorsed his policies.
What is really going on? In 2012….40+ years after King died and after the height of the Civil Rights Movement how far have we really progressed? This man has a nontrivial shot at being the leader of the entire country and part of his platform is to make kids work as janitors in their own schools for less than what I make in two weeks. 800 fucking dollars. A year. That’s $2 a day. And he wants to do it to make them “value hard work” and learn how to grow up and be productive. There are kids in sweatshops in Asia making way more than that after cost of living and inflation adjustment. This is America. Let’s see…paying kids pretty much nothing to work to clean schools for their wealthier counterparts who will undoubtedly gain more out of the schools. It sounds like
Let’s just think about this a bit shall we? Not only will Gingrich’s solution make the jobs situation much worse, as reducing minimum age labor laws will open up EVERY job to a bigger pool and will take jobs away from hard-working people who have found them, it will not do much to “help” poor Black kids and will probably hurt them a lot. You have a group of kids who already form a sort of socioeconomic underclass being forced to be janitors at that very school for less than lunch money. Kids get picked on for having off-brand CRAYONS in class….can you imagine the type of psychological damage that other kids will do to them if they see them working as janitors? It would be crazy.
Look, let’s see this for what it really is. As my co-blogger OK Kai pointed out a few hours ago, the GOP, and Conservative (White) America as a whole, seems to be bent on vilifying poor Black folks as lazy people who are raised from birth to learn how to game the system and become miscreants. The fact is….this simply isn’t a fact. Most people who are poor are poor IN SPITE of how hard they work and the job(s) they have. Most people getting welfare or food stamps have jobs. I grew up with most of my family being poor. They ALL had jobs and worked their asses off just to provide. The issue with these kids isn’t some inherent laziness that would be “solved” by essentially making them sweatshop workers, it’s that they fall behind almost immediately in reading and teachers and whole systems give up on them pretty much at birth. Essentially, Newt’s plan would be a codification of that giving up. I’m not with it.
And millions of people are voting for this guy.
Anyways, until next King Day.