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MLK day in Trump’s America: Open thread

By David Futrelle

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. day here in the US. Our racist president “honored” King today by making an exceedingly brief visit to the MLK Memorial, where he told reporters, with his usual eloquence, that

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#gamergate a new woman to hate a voice for men antifeminism antifeminist women attention seeking bullying creepy doubling down doxing edmonton entitled babies harassment hate judgybitch lying liars men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny MRA not-quite-explicit threats not-quite-plausible deniability paul elam playing the victim racism taking pleasure in women's pain the poster revolution has begun YouTube

Paul Elam, you're no MLK: A Voice for Men offers a $100 bounty for a clear photo of its latest feminist foe

Cartoon by Sage Gerard. aka "Victor Zen," AVFM's golen boy of campus activism
Cartoon by Sage Gerard, AVFM’s golden boy of campus activism

Today I’d like to share with you two quotations. One is from Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader whose legacy we honor today. The other is from someone who considers himself the leader of a human rights movement that follows in the footsteps of King.

The first quote:

Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

The second:

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all about the menz are these guys 12 years old? citation needed entitled babies facepalm hundreds of upvotes irony alert literal nazis men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny MRA narcissism oppressed white men playing the victim racism reddit warren farrell

Men’s Rightsers honor Martin Luther King by talking about how women totally suck at being “warriors of peace.”

Mugshots of Freedom Riders. Click on image for more info, and more pictures.
Mugshots of Freedom Riders arrested for protesting segregation. The Freedom Riders were often attacked by white mobs, with the complicity of the police. Click on image for more info, and more pictures.

On Monday, Martin Luther King Day here in the United States, this was posted in the Men’s Rights subreddit, where, as you can see, it was quite popular with the assembled Men’s Rightsers:

(quote from Warren Farrell) "Men are likely to be not only the warriors of war but also the warriors of peace. Almost all those who risk their lives, are put in jail, or are killed for peace are men." Happy MLK Day!!

How wrong  is this? Let me count the ways.

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harassment hate inspiring literal nazis racism violence

Remembering Martin Luther King’s courage

Martin Luther King after being hit by a rock during a demonstration in Chicago, 1966
Martin Luther King after being hit by a rock during a demonstration in Chicago, 1966

Today is Martin Luther King day here in the United States. In remembering Dr. King’s legacy, alas, his story is sometimes reduced to a few simplistic soundbites, and we forget how much of a struggle his famous struggle really was.

The one thing no one seems to want to remember is how much opposition there was to King and his message, and how ugly and violent and hateful this opposition was.

King and his family faced real threats and real harassment on a daily basis. He was subject to real violence, yet continued to preach a message of nonviolence.

As a reminder of the courage it took to be Martin Luther King, here’s an account of a march he led in Chicago in 1966, taken from Rick Perlstein’s book Nixonland. (Content warning: Racist language, violence.)

August 5. Six hundred open-housing activists, ten thousand counterdemonstrators. Some wore Nazi helmets. Others waved Confederate battle flags, carried George Wallace banners, swastika placards that helpfully explained THE SYMBOL OF WHITE POWER.

Martin Luther King, Mahalia Jackson by his side, led his legions forth: “We are bound for the promised land!”

“Kill those niggers!”

“We want Martin Luther Coon!”

Police trying to keep the two sides apart were screamed at: “Nigger-loving cops!” “God, I hate niggers and nigger-lovers,” a reporter overheard an old lady say.

Martin Luther King walked past.

“Kill him! Kill him!”

“Roses are red, violets are black, King would look good with a knife in his back.”

Instead he got a baseball-size rock above his ear. He slumped to the ground—the Gandhian moment of truth. … King got up and kept on marching. We shall overcome.

The racist mob continued to pelt the demonstrators with rocks and bottles, many of them aimed at King. Some 30 others were injured.

Why did King put himself at such risk? “I have to do this–to expose myself–to bring this hate into the open,” he later explained.

He also, as a result of his activism in Chicago, got local real estate agents to agree to abide by the city’s fair housing ordinance. Not a dramatic concession, but a meaningful one, and one that illustrated the kind of everyday discrimination that blacks faced in America.

This is what a real civil rights hero looks like.

EDIT: Here’s some footage of one of King’s marches in Chicago, and a Chicago Tribune video about King’s Chicago activism. The footage here is supposedly of King’s march in Gage Park; the march described above took place in Marquette Park, where he got an even more hostile reception.