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[A Response to Jeffrey McNeil’s “Black Liberal Matters”]

Jeff, I have all the due respect I can muster for you. But you, sir, may not speak for Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. King was a champion for inclusion and unity.

You say “today people are screaming ‘injustice’ although there is no moral witness to any of these events.”

To which of today’s events do you refer? You are not specific, so, I don’t know what you are talking about.

You say: “I see a new age race leader. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were humble, Martin Luther King would never set a stage on Capitol Hill with a VIP section for celebrity race speakers, nor would he allow protesters to sell T-shirts and memorabilia for marches in Selma and Birmingham. However, while Al Sharpton wants to invoke civil rights, he also pimps the social movement to elevate himself. The black masses he claims to love are suffering and devoid of moral leadership.”

As a hue-man (man of color), you certainly cannot be MY spokesman and should NOT speak for my “aggressive” (not “humble,” as you put it) heroes, Malcolm and Martin.

Rev. Al Sharpton is a race leader only in the perception of the misled, such as those who qualify him in that capacity. He is celebrated, vocal and prominent. So is Yosemite Sam. But that does not qualify Sharpton as MY leader any more than you or Sam.

Malcolm X, humble?

Bro., Malcolm was about as humble as a HOWITZER. Martin was nonviolent, but as outspoken as any man in world history. Not at all humble, and not the shrinking violet that you imply. His words made J. Edgar Hoover cringe.

Both Malcolm and Martin, in their individual ways, took on the United States political establishment in an era when hanging black men was as routine a pastime as playing canasta. How would that be considered humble?

As for Dr. King setting a stage on Capitol Hill with a VIP section of speakers, what were Harry Belafonte (his benefactor), Sidney Poitier, Eartha Kitt, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee but celebrity race speakers? I’d say James Baldwin, James Farmer, Nikki Giovanni, John Lewis and Adam Clayton Powell would qualify as race spokespeople.

I don’t think you can accurately speak either to Dr. King’s fundraising / marketing strategies or his entrepreneurial vision. I can recall many forms of memorabilia from the Civil Rights Movement – buttons, postcards, posters and more. All this was prior to 1968. I was there. Where were you?

“When did our country go astray?” you asked. When we began to listen to the misinterpretations of those who read about the civil rights movement because they weren’t old enough to experience the need for it or participate in the required action.

You write: “By feeling sorry for African Americans they [Democrats] don’t know they are hampering their full potential and fundamentally destroying them.” I doubt anyone feels sorry for anyone these days. This is a most selfish American “civilization,” in which very few care about the plight of “Blacks.” If people, liberal or conservative, were genuinely concerned, partisan politics would have died before Martin or Malcolm.

You say “Liberalism is destructive.” So is conservatism, many would argue. I say pigeonholing is destructive. As the human race, we ought to be mature enough to stop thinking we should be “thousanduplets.” We should remain cognizant that we are unique with our individual gifts and talents. We need to stop trying to think (and speak) for everybody and think and do for ourselves, according to the circumstances and situations given us and our children.

You stated: “Liberalism is not about helping the poor and oppressed but about a few egos who think they are the enlightened and anointed.” I say conservatives are not about helping the poor and oppressed but about a LOT of egos that feel they are superior. By the way, I’m neither liberal nor conservative. I am ME.