My husband told me this morning he is surprised, given my passion for social justice and my love of the District of Columbia, that I did not go to the MLK dedication this weekend. I told him I want to go to the monument one of these days, but I would not participate in the pretend honoring of MLK represented by a statue.
If this country wanted to honor Dr. King they would be making way more progress towards ending racism, discrimination, xenophobia, homophobia, ethnic intimidation, poverty and all forms of oppression. Instead they carve a rock.
Median household income, adjusted for inflation, fell by $1,860 from 2007 to 2008. But look under the hood and you’ll find great disparity among American families. White family income stands at a median of $55,530, while the African-American family median is at $34,218. Hispanic families are faring only a little better, at $37,913. ( NPR). If America wanted to honor Dr. King it would not abandon its quest to stop income disparities and wipe out poverty. Instead we have become a society that looks down on the poor rather than realizing that their situation is an indictment of our society. In a land of plenty, only a few have plenty.
In 2009 5.2% of whites dropped out of high school ( this is going to be heavily populated by poor, male, whites by the way), 9.3% of blacks dropped out ( ditto on poor and male),17.6% of Hispanics dropped out ( same demographic) and 13.2% American Indians dropped out ( male and poor mainly.) If America wanted to honor Dr King it would be working to see that almost twice as many blacks and three times as many Hispanics and Indians did not find it necessary to drop out of high school.
One third of the children born last year in America were born to women who were not married. I have said before, I do not care who you have sex with–not my husband please, but otherwise help yourself. I do not care if you try to bed everyone on the Eastern seaboard, but having babies you cannot afford is unfair to yourself, your child, your fellow citizens ( or residents) and your country. If America wanted to honor Dr. King it would spend more time making sure young people understood the economics of early births to people who had not yet established themselves in virtually any way, economically, emotionally, psychologically , educationally or career wise.
In other words, honoring Dr. King with a statue is like building a church to Jesus or to God or to Allah or to Buddha or to whoever and then ignoring what the said deity was about.
You want to honor Dr. KIng? Wipe out racism and prejudice, wipe out poverty, wipe out injustice of all kinds, wipe out privilege based on undeserved categories, wipe out apathy, wipe out hatred, wipe out war.
Rocks are for climbing, they are not sentient, and over time even the strongest one will wear down to nothing, social change endures, people matter, not rocks.