I wrote something this weekend I was really proud of and it is much meatier (?) than today’s entry in terms of race and white privilege so feel free to read that instead of this. But, I didn’t want MLK to go without recognition of it here.
I lettered a few of my favorite lines from MLK’s Letter From A Birmingham Jail this weekend. If you’ve never read it, I encourage you to do so.
He focuses much on the white authority who arrested him and this failure of the “white moderate” to focus more on HOW the black protesters protested, instead of WHY.
Here is another great quote:
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.”
and here is another:
You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.
These are not the quotes most of us will share today, but I encourage you to read it and soak it in. And if you’re still unsure about the privilege racist systems give white people, I encourage you to read Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”
I also encourage you to watch “Mudbound” which came out this year or “Moonlight” that came out last year. Two movies show a lot of the world through the eyes of black characters and these are perspectives we – as white people – need to see periodically in our entertainment.
Or read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas or Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson. These are two YA books written in present day from the perspective of black girls living in the aftermath of the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Do not discount them because they are Young Adult novels, they are real perspectives we need to think about no matter what our age.
That’s all I have for today. I will meditate on my role in the racist systems around me and I will continue to use my voice to spotlight them so that we can target them for destruction.