I was perusing Fox news when I came across this article, “Controversy Erupts Over Selection of Chinese Sculptor for Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial” It seems that the self proclaimed followers of Dr. King’s principals have failed to learn his lessons. King’s reputation may have some rough edges such as plagiarism and womanizing, but few are the men who are of ideal character when they ascend to greatness and Martin Luther King was a very great man despite his flaws.
His greatness did not come from dividing the nation, but from attempting to heal and unite his homeland. He had a dream where a man would not be judged by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character and while we have made progress toward that dream, we still have a long way to go. What I mean by that statement is that racism has reared its head once again upon the American landscape and it is not white America who is the culprit, but African Americans who resent that the artist chosen to sculpt Dr. King’s likeness is Chinese and not black.
To illustrate my point, consider this taken from the Fox article, “They keep saying King was for everyone. I keep telling people, 'No, King wasn't for everyone. King was for fairness and justice,"' said Gilbert Young, a black painter from
Mr. Young goes on to state, "I believe that black artists have the right to interpret ourselves first, if nobody steps up to the plate to do that, then certainly pass it along to someone else.", in the Fox article. I honestly don’t understand this logic. Black artists have been interpreting themselves for hundreds of years in song, paint, literature, and sculpture. I don’t believe that Mr. Young is as concerned about the interpretation of blacks by blacks as he would have us believe. I think that Mr. Young is interested in the money and that he believes that only a black should receive the commission for the sculpture.
If this nation is ever to achieve Dr. King’s dream of unity and equality we must face unpleasant facts about ourselves. Racism does exist in the black community as it does in all the communities of men, but it is regarded as dirty little secret that nobody speaks about in an attempt to maintain the illusion that only whites suffer from this affliction. Unless and until we acknowledge this truth and combat it, the dream of Martin Luther King will never come to pass. We humans are a strange breed. We espouse a belief in Dr. King’s cause while we secretly work to corrupt it.
We corrupt it when we say only a black can interpret Dr. King. We corrupt it when we reject an innocent man in order to make a statement regarding a foreign government we do not like. I think that those opposed to the sculptor would be wise to seriously examine their opposition and to determine the origin of their motivations. I don’t believe that they will like what they find. Martin Luther King was a great American and he had a dream of a united and color blind