It’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which means that today’s Internet is already full of white people using quotes from the groundbreaking civil rights leader to justify a lot of stupid shit. As many Black writers have pointed out, MLK occupies a challenging space in cultural consciousness. His quotes have been deeply edited, condensed, twisted around, and doctored to reflect a much rosier, less revolutionary politic than the man himself stood and fought for.
Perhaps the best we can do to honor his legacy is to point out the many ways in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words have been sanitized, erased, amended, and dumbed down to make Republicans somehow feel totally fine and not at all hypocritical when they use his quotes to justify being against Critical Race Theory.
As you honor my father today, please remember and honor my mother, as well.
She was the architect of the King Legacy and founder of @TheKingCenter, which she founded two months after Daddy was assassinated.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) January 17, 2022
I have a somewhat standard annual #MLK post, a reminder that he was not a Social Justice character created for select quotes and cosplay, but let me first start with HIS birthday song, now that I’ve learned we failed to keep the backstory of the song alive. https://t.co/wxbLCbk4M5
— Naima Cochrane (Original Recipe) (@naima) January 18, 2021
This one feels right today:
“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
— Mara Gay (@MaraGay) January 17, 2022
“I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress with a Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting.”#MartinLutherKing , 1963https://t.co/zhmctWHj7x pic.twitter.com/NEnLhVvtE3
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) January 17, 2022
This is the Dr. King you don’t often hear about. The anti-war, anti-poverty socialist radical who was denounced by newspapers, pundits, & politicians of all stripes.
It was only after he was gone, when they could sanitize his message, that the powerful began to invoke his name. pic.twitter.com/aA2GoZZtdx
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 17, 2022
No matter what qoutes are used today, never forget that 75% of Americans disapproved of MLK as he spoke out against the Vietnam War and economic disparity right before his assasination
— Anthony V. Clark (@anthonyvclark20) January 17, 2022
on this MLK day remember the radical, socialist, anti-imperialist MLK that liberals and conservatives erased from history pic.twitter.com/ZNalgk4XnG
— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel) January 17, 2022
If there is one MLK JR quote you should note, it is this. pic.twitter.com/26NJn097aV
— Low skilled Sam O (he/him) #GetVax (@ThaRealSamO) January 17, 2022
Ok, I’ll say it — If you’re a Republican who’s against teaching Black/Native history in public schools — you don’t get to quote MLK today.
— Lakota Man (@LakotaMan1) January 17, 2022
I grew up surrounded by white people who selectively quoted King to prove that they weren’t racist even as they accused me of sounding white b/c I spoke better than them.
I hated MLK Day back then b/c I thought it existed to excuse their shittiness. Now I’m claiming it for me.
— Juan Michael Porter II (@juanmichaelii) January 17, 2022
I don’t want to see any MLK quotes today from Republicans who tried to overturn 2020 election & throw out millions of Black & Brown votes, passed wave of new voter suppression laws to continue insurrection through other means & now blocking critical voting rights legislation
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) January 17, 2022
Bracing myself for a slew of MLK quotes Monday from folks who have spent nearly every other day of the past year fighting against CRT …
— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) January 17, 2022
Being Black on days like today is…rough.
Don’t quote MLK one day a year and think you’ve done enough. Actually listen to and read his words, and actually be supportive of Black people during the other 364 days of the year.
— Heather Barmore (@HeatherBarmore) January 17, 2022
“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance,” MLK Jr. wrote in 1967. “It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.” https://t.co/J9iiwgCpTa
— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) January 17, 2022
— The Root (@TheRoot) January 17, 2022
EXCLUSIVE: In an exclusive interview with theGrio’s @AprilDRyan, Dr. King’s daughter Bernice King, CEO of The King Center, reflected on her father’s legacy on what would’ve been his 93rd birthday if he were alive today. https://t.co/4USlH0QUzl
— theGrio.com (@theGrio) January 17, 2022
On the night before he was assassinated, Dr. King gave a speech in support of the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike. Directly challenging the systemic oppression of racist capitalism, this is the MLK we should be quotinghttps://t.co/ZQLqPVAb1p
— Zaron Burnett III (@Zaron3) January 17, 2022
And a parting note:
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