On this Martin Luther King, Jr. day, what better way to spend it besides educating ones self in the works of Dr King? Today I read an essay by Harry Belafonte that agitated my thoughts of Dr King’s methodology:
“I’ve come upon something that disturbs me deeply,” he said. “We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know that we will win. But I’ve come to believe we’re integrating into a burning house.”
“I’m afraid that America may be losing what moral vision she may have had,” he answered. “And I’m afraid that even as we integrate, we are walking into a place that does not understand that this nation needs to be deeply concerned with the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Until we commit ourselves to ensuring that the underclass is given justice and opportunity, we will continue to perpetuate the anger and violence that tears at the soul of this nation.”
This can be seen many ways. One is through the lense of Malcolm X’s Speech “The House Negro and the Field Negro”
“If the master’s house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would…. But that field Negro — remember, they were in the majority, and they hated the master. When the house caught on fire, he didn’t try and put it out; that field Negro prayed for a wind, for a breeze.”
Are we still house negroes (or token blacks if that is a better term) content with helping the master put out the blaze not thinking about the poor field negroes who lack justice and opportunity?
Too often we talk about Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr. Failing to link the two and find a middle passage. Isn’t that what the two were getting close to at the time of their death? Malcolm X was becoming less of an extremist when he was assassinated. That is when people become dangerous, when people become closer to the truth, that is when they must be killed. I could see that being the case with Malcolm X and MLK.
This quote from MLK shows that we were so focused on getting integrated we did not realize the full extent of the where the people we wanted to sit next to where headed.
We were too busy fighting to get on a train without knowing the destination.. Maybe its time to get off and build our own? Extreme, maybe a bit but unless you know the destination is it smart to stay on the path? How else can we ensure the under served are treated equal and given opportunities?