The Myth of Martin Luther King and the Colour Blind Society
In one handy place
I am annoyed to write this. It is unoriginal, obvious, and not really worthy of J’accuse; a journal which where the author is to assume that the reader is a fellow autodidact. Nonetheless, thanks to recent features in certain publications, we have suddenly gained a huge audience from the Intellectual Dark Web . So before all of those free subscribers disappear on account of the right-of-centre opinions that sometimes slip in to the comment pages (very much against the wishes of the soundly Liberal editorial team) I think it wise to make an intervention on a particular niggle of mine. Namely, the assertion that modern racial grievance politics are in some way divergent from the political goals of Martin Luther King. See below for a case-in-point.
I never sneer at people like Douglas Murray because they did not have the same material conditions for intellectual development that I have been blessed with. I first began to use the internet at the age of three, and have been browsing for at least seven hours a day since that moment. I am incredibly blessed to have been born when I have – while Murray’s generation was doomed to waste years reading drivel about Burke written by Charles Moore and Scruton, we had access to the dark corners of the Web from the very second we understood English. I do not come from a position of condescension to Mr Murray and his fellow travellers – how could they have possibly known?
To the point itself: Martin Luther King did not believe in building a Colour Blind Society. He was a ferocious advocate of Affirmative Action. In his book ‘Why we can’t wait’, published a year after his famous speech, Mr Luther King outlines in full his perspectives on what he terms the ‘Negro revolution’, which was, despite the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, incomplete. MLK argued that the historical injustices of slavery entitled African-Americans to compensation in jobs and education. In 1968, in the year of his death, Mr Luther King campaigned explicitly on economic redistributions, stating that ‘when we come to Washington we are coming for our check’. ‘Why we can’t wait’ has been borrowed as a title for a campaign headed up by the National African-American Reparations Commission.
The language used by Ibram Kendi might be different, the proponents of black empowerment may now be fatter and easier to mock – but you cannot really criticise them on political grounds while deifying ‘moderates’ like Martin Luther King and the class of 63’. It all draws from the same basic interpretation; structural inequalities and historic injustices perpetrated by white people must be redressed with punitive redistributions and favourable access to institutions. And even this would not really be enough. As Mr Luther King himself said: ‘All of America’s wealth today could not adequately compensate it’s negroes for his centuries of exploitation and humiliation’. Afro-Marxism comes in different flavours, but whether or not it’s MLK, Mandela, Idi Amin or Nkrumah, it’s direction is the same.