An Open Letter to the White People Commemorating Dr. King.

On this day, every single year, I always see you.

I see you post pieces about the transformative work of Dr. King and how others can best honor his legacy, even though all you’ve ever done is post 3 quotes of his a year. 2 today. 1 in a tirade about how today’s activists are a disappointment to Dr. King.

I see you post photos of him speaking to the estimated 250,000 who turned out  on August 28, 1963, with “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” captioned underneath. The same quote you did not hesitate to whip out in support of your argument that Dr. King would be against the Black Lives Matter movement and when you stated that the “war on white people in 2016” is not what Dr. King worked for.

I see those of you who actively vote in favor of policies that disproportionately disadvantage people of color and who advocate against the very causes Dr. King spent the entirety of his life advocating for, now speaking about how much his words inspire you everyday.

I see those of you who wear the title of passive activist [1] as if it is a coveted medal, post long-winded social media posts about how much Dr. King has influenced you to become the great ally you (think) you are.

I see each statement accrediting America’s greatness to men like Dr. King. They usually all start the same. I usually just scroll to the middle of the post to see which of the quotes from Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech, is the most popular this year.

It’s noteworthy that there is no one quote that is the most popular this year, but rather a phrase. “_____ is not what Dr. King dreamed”, which is usually followed by a condemnation of the protests in D.C. in just a few days and the growing list of congresspeople boycotting the inauguration.” Y’know, as if when Dr. King said “I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls”, he actually meant “I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls as their illegitimately elected president, whose hands are as little as theirs, attempts to undo everything I’ve worked for”.

I see each and every one of you.

I wish you could, too.

I wish you could see how insulting and infuriating it is that you all believe that these posts reflect a comprehensive understanding of who Dr. King and his dream was.

I wish you could see how nauseating it is that you all believe that you have such a deep understanding of his ideology that you can tell the world what his dream was better than he did himself.

I wish I knew how to make you see that the Dr. King you subscribe to, the one whose ideologies were bathed in bleach and hollowed out so they’d sound sweet to your ears, the one whose blackness was partially chiseled away so that you could have an easier time picking the parts of him that we’d hear about and the ones you’d hide, the one whose heart you say was filled with more love for his oppressor than his people when in reality his heart was under so much stress from working to dismantle the same system pimping him out it aged twenty years faster than he did, is closer to a minstrel show character than the man in the photographs you post.

More than that, I wish you really did know the Dr. King that I do because maybe if you did, Donald Trump wouldn’t have even made it to the general election. Maybe Donald Trump wouldn’t have dared to run because it’d be a foregone conclusion that the United States of America would never legitimize a racism, sexism, ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and sexually predatory behavior, never mind carry it to the highest political office in the nation. Maybe in the same week we honor this man, we wouldn’t be inaugurating his polar opposite.

Maybe Mike Pence would be an advocate for the LGBTQ community and fight each day to ensure that their rights are protected instead of advocating for their torture. Maybe it’d be his life mission to see that trans+ folks would live to be able to have children and to even live to see their grandchildren instead of being a source of validation to the evil in the world that prevents that.

Maybe when Speaker Ryan released his statement this morning I’d retweet his like I retweeted Representative Lewis’ because Speaker Ryan wouldn’t be championing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the defunding of Planned Parenthood, repeatedly voting against legislation to protect LGBT Americans, and instead of making it his mission to eliminate government assistance programs he’d make it his mission to eliminate the factors that make so many people dependent on these programs.

Maybe instead of the leaders of the Republican Party commemorating Dr. King through polished statements they probably didn’t even glance at before their staff posted them, they’d be commemorating him through the legislation they vote in favor of and instead be releasing polished statements about how it was their honor to restore one of the most important pieces of legislation Dr. King fought for, the right for all of us to vote.

Maybe little black boys and little black girls wouldn’t still be the murder victims of the parents of the little white boys and white girls they’re supposed to be holding hands with.

Maybe the richest 1% of the world would not hold more than half of the wealth of the entire planet [2].

Maybe the United States would finally stop sending its military into other nations because as Dr. King said, “War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow”.

Maybe when the painful day comes when there are no living speakers from the March on Washington left, John Lewis will have something good to tell Dr. King and everyone else who wasn’t able to get to the promise land with us.

Maybe the greatest nation in the world, theoretically, would be the greatest nation in the world, literally.

Maybe Dr. King’s vision for this nation and for the world, wouldn’t be just a dream.


Another little black girl who didn’t get her chance to live Dr. King’s dream.


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