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LTE on Martin Luther King holiday


Martin-Luther-King-ComunistA Music major, with balls of steel, wrote a letter to his Universities student paper criticizing the Martin Luther King holiday. It is titled “Historical man not worth vast attention.”

From Michigan State University Student Paper (LTE)…

Martin Luther King Jr. was a plagiarist, an adulterer, socialist and power-hungry blasphemer, which I only mention because he claimed to be a reverend.

Some deny the charges, others say that it doesn’t matter whether they are true or not because the movement he led was so great that we should ignore his personal failings.

I’m inclined to disagree for two reasons. The first is: I reject the idea that we should judge our leaders’ personal actions less harshly because they are our leaders. If King were to have been a murderer, would he still be beyond reproach? I have no reason to think he committed any such crime, but where do you draw the line?

For many people, King’s known indiscretions are bad enough. Citizens should not be forced to go without mail, or miss one day of work to “celebrate” his life and “follow his example.” If you are not bothered by any of King’s actions or don’t believe that he committed any offense and genuinely feel indebted to him, that’s your business.

You’re free to mark the occasion in any way you see fit, but don’t think others are obligated to do the same.

The second reason I reject the argument that King is beyond reproach is because I do not presuppose that King’s movement (assuming that the civil rights movement is one movement owing to one man) is beyond criticism.

In Yvette Lanier’s column titled “Segregation still prominent” (SN 1/13) and the editorial titled “More than day off” (SN 1/17) mention is made of self-segregation. The point is made that even without Jim Crow laws people still group themselves according to superficial traits.

Although I would agree that balkanization can lead to serious problems, I am more worried about what solutions the civil rights movement, King’s movement, would suggest.

Maybe the school should mandate where people are allowed to sit, live and party. Perhaps the entire freshmen curriculum should be oriented toward rooting out the wickedness of sitting next to your friends. Perhaps the government should decide who your friends are, to ensure the right mix of gay, black and Jewish friends.