Welcome to the “I Have a Dream”-speech-anniversary edition of This Week in Racism. I’ll be ranking news stories on a scale of 1 to RACIST, with “1” being the least racist and “RACIST” being the most racist.
- Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, which was cause for celebration for some, somber reflection for others, and for a select few, a very good reason to advance a political agenda or say something vaguely racist.
It's been less than a week since Miley Cyrus changed the face of race relations in America with her bold full-body dry heave at the MTV Video Music Awards. Plenty has already been said on the subject, most of it by people who think a "ratchet" is something you use to fix a car.
The Guardian's writer Hadley Freeman regurgitated the standard righteous indignation and even invoked Dr. King's memory in chastizing Miley for her display of gluteal dexterity. Freeman writes:
"Sadly, King omitted to say whether he also dreamed of 'little white girls from Tennessee mimicking anilingus on little black girls wearing giant animals on their backs', so it's impossible to know how he would have reacted to Miley Cyrus' performance at the VMAs on Sunday. But it seems likely that not even he could have foreseen how the American celebrity world would manage to twist his image into something quite so, if not actually racist, then certainly race-ish."
I googled "race-ish" and the top of my search results read, "Did you mean 'radish'?" Maybe Hadley Freeman meant "radish." We'll probably never know, just like we'll never know if MLK would have been "down as fuck" with Miley, which is why there's no point in speculating. The bizarre fascination with ascribing modern opinions to historical figures is the reason why American religious zealots invoke famously skeptical people like Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin to justify their insanity. You actually will never know what any dead person would think about a current news story. Sure, I sometimes wonder what Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees would think about the effects of global warming should he have survived to see the year 2013, but I'll never really know. It's a goddamn shame, but let's allow our icons to live in their time and not in ours.
That said, if I had to guess (like, I had a legally obtained firearm pressed to my temple and George Zimmerman was holding it there), I'd say Martin Luther King Jr. would totally be into Miley Cyrus. It's common knowledge that MLK had a sweet tooth for the ladies. Plus, I bet somewhere in that dream of his was a white girl who actually had rhythm. 3
- English people aren't the only ones who felt the need to use Martin Luther King's dream for their own benefit. One-term congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) took the opportunity to offer his own series of dreams on his radio show:
- I have a dream that all black parents will have the right to choose where their kids attend school.
- I have a dream that all black boys and girls will grow up with a father.
- I have a dream that young black men will stop shooting other young black men.
- I have a dream that all young black men will say "no" to gangs and to drugs.
- I have a dream that all black young people will graduate from high school.
- I have a dream that young black men won't become fathers until after they're married and they have a job.
- I have a dream that young unmarried black women will say "no" to young black men who want to have sex.
- I have a dream that today's black leadership will quit blaming racism and "the system" for what ails black America.
- I have a dream that black America will take responsibility for improving their own lives.
- I have a dream that one day black America will cease their dependency on the government plantation, which has enslaved them to lives of poverty, and instead depend on themselves, their families, their churches, and their communities.
Some of these “dreams” are pretty reasonable. Graduating from high school, having a father present, not joining a gang, and taking personal responsibility for your own life are all acceptable goals for any person, regardless of their race. Maybe the ones about parents having the "right to choose where their kids attend school" (a thinly veiled reference to private-school vouchers) and their reference to the "government plantation" and "blaming racism for what ails black America" just might be not-so-clever ways to advance a partisan agenda while gloming onto a dead guy's memory. He could have added a dream about all African Americans having access to affordable health care, but that's some fucking "Commie shit." This isn't necessarily racist, it's just tacky. 2
- People like Joe Walsh have it in their best interest to make it seem like racism doesn't exist by saying things like African Americans should "quit blaming racism" for their problems. Maybe we can stop blaming racism for our problems when racism is dealt with openly. If we pretend it doesn't exist, and let it fester in the dark corners of the internet, we'll never truly achieve King's dream. It wasn't hard to find the following photos:
This isn't just racist—it's also a really bad Photoshop job.
Frosty the Snowman is a real fucking dick now.
ET phone... the Southern Poverty Law Center!
We've come a long way since King's speech, but racism isn't dead. It's just hiding in a bunker in Idaho, hoarding guns, eating canned baked beans, and farting. Like, a ton.
The Ten Most Racist Tweets of the Week [all grammar sic]:
10. @jamie_geeee: I'mnot being racist, but you don't know why you're being stopped & frisked? really, how bout you pick your pants up and stop being rowdy
9. @Mattypbebe: I'mnot racist but black on white crime is exponentially higher than white on black. Why is this?
8. @DrewLamle: Lol I look like a ch*nk eye in my year book picture haha it is so bad
7. @JonFreund: Mexicanscan turn a perfectly good truck into a lowrider piece of shit.
6. @Rachelllll_D: I'm not being racist but why do black people not tip? Like I know some white people don't buy it's like 50 % of my black customers don't tip
5. @misbah_nawaz: Just a flipped off some fuckin be*ner who didnt know how to drive
4. @FTALEPRiNCESSS: N*gger loving dick fucker.
3. @NOOOIT: That group of 4 mexicans at the gym reeking of cologne and wearing jeans collard shirts and hats while working out
2. @Kriegsson: White people are the first in history to give up their countries without any fight at all and also pay for their invaders' toilet paper.
1. @WVGirlLife: Some black guy just walked up to me in the mall and said "dayum shawty you like older guys? Black dick?" Uh no I don't. Fuckin n*gger.
Last Week in Racism: “Paula Deen” is Going to Kill “Trayvon Martin” on TV