Yesterday was the usual Martin Luther King Day grotesquerie from conservatives. One would think the good Reverend were an adman best known for inventing the “content of their character” tagline, renowned because you could use it on practically any product — whether good, bad, or even poisonous! Here’s a passage from Virginia’s new ban on critical race theory — defined as “inherently divisive concepts,” and you can just imagine how your average white snowflake will interpret that — executive-ordered by Baby Trump governor Glenn Youngkin this weekend:
…we must provide our students with the facts and context necessary to understand these important events. Only then will we realize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream that our children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
How guys like this must laugh their asses off in private about using King as an excuse to further bury the truth of American racism! For them I imagine it’s even sweeter than their traditional misuse of “freedom of speech,” since that one came from a white man.
Dan McLaughlin, aka “Baseball Crank,” at National Review does the rightwing version of edgeplay by acknowledging something his comrades usually strenuously avoid acknowledging: That King actually said other, less Hallmark-card things about injustice, war, and poverty:
On the other hand, calling Dr. King a national hero does not mean he was faultless, saintly, or always in the right. Most historians agree that he was serially unfaithful to his wife. A 1991 Boston University panel found that he plagiarized portions of his doctoral thesis. But our national heroes are often flawed men.
Likewise, Dr. King was a man of the political Left and a man of his time.
He had affairs, plagiarized, and thought poor people should live decently. Nobody’s perfect! McLaughlin’s essay is such shit that I can’t stand to spelunk the whole parfait, but I will note 1.) “even the modern Left would not embrace all of Dr. King’s ideas… he embraced an orthodox Christian view of homosexuality,” from a strategy known as The Wingnut Turnaround or Oh, You Like Margaret Sanger Well SHE WAS A BIG RACIST; and 2.) “Perhaps some progressives and Democratic politicians truly believe that John C. Calhoun was right about the American Founding, and that both Dr. King and Lincoln were wrong” — Calhoun said we should be racist, see, and the 1619 project said he were racist, so you libs and Calhoun are the same and You’re The Real Racist™.
But this year some of the brethren weren’t going passive-aggressive. The Washington Times gives us Jeffery T. Kuhner’s “Martin Luther King Jr.’s mixed legacy,” which is rather a misnomer as Kuhner has only one paragraph of good MLK (“He spearheaded a noble movement that eventually achieved true justice and individual freedoms for blacks in the segregated South”), and devotes the whole rest of his essay to a straight-up hit job:
At home, he called for heavy public spending, urban renewal and a cradle-to-grave nanny state. He was critical of the Great Society for not going far enough: White America’s collective racist sins could only be expiated through big-government liberalism. King called for racial quotas in government contracts, affirmative action and billions in welfare assistance. In short, he helped lay the groundwork for the modern Democratic Party - anti-war, favoring the redistribution of wealth and obsessed with identity politics…
King’s socialism also convinced many blacks to adopt welfare liberalism. It transformed them into a permanent Democratic constituency. The results have been disastrous…
If you think using one’s MLK Day platform to push a T-Bone Steaks and Cadillacs picture of black life is a bit rich, get a load of this from popular rightwing podcaster Steven Crowder:
MLK’s “language of the unheard” comment blows Crowder’s mind — even though he runs enough of the speech for an intelligent person to see the context for it. “See, and that’s the problem,” says Crowder, “it’s the open-endedness to it, because what is justice, because right now people are saying injustice is too many Asians at Stanford so let’s burn down a Walgreen’s.”
What? It doesn’t have to make sense, because God knows Crowder’s fans don’t expect that. The rest is at least as weird — there’s a lot of talk about King’s “crack whores,” as if he were Darryl Strawberry, and one of Crowder’s white sidekicks goes, “Look, I get it, there was so much injustice, I have no idea how I would feel, but I probably wouldn’t burn down or rob a local store owned by other black people in my community.” You don’t say.
It appears we have bred a sub-species of honky that thinks saying stuff like this in public is brave politically-incorrect truth-telling rather than plain racist horseshit — through in truth it’s not so much a new strain as a throwback, like something rising out of a melted arctic tundra in a horror movie. Tell you something else, too — guys like Baseball Crank, with their winking subterfuges that reveal a tiny bit of embarrassment at what the racism of their audiences forces them to do, are on their way out, and guys like this are on their way in.
As I've observed elsewhere, one of the hallmarks of a stone racist is their presumed expertise on the race in question even when they actually don't know anyone from that race. This presumption applies both individually (as in knowing exactly what MLK was all about and why they should condemn him) and collectively (as in welfare queens driving Cadillacs).
“And also, did you know that Democrats were the party of slavery? It’s true! Just watch the movie Lincoln!”
This horseshit gets recycled, repackaged, stripped down, and buffed up, but it never, ever changes.