January 15, 2007
How about Equality Day?By Ari Kaufman
I do not deny the tireless and intrepid work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. nor his lofty place in history; to do so would be disingenuous.
However, as others have mused in recent years, why is he the only individual whom the United States currently honors with a national holiday? It surely does not make one racially insensitive to propose that, in lieu of Dr. King Day and in reverence to all the other great individuals of various ethnicities our country has seen (Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Chief Seattle, Hyam Solomon), that we either honor each fairly and separately, or more judiciously, ratify a national Equality Day.
But wait, Equality Day? Maybe it sounds like something a contemporary middle-schooler would come up with, and I can just hear it now: You mean on the other 364 days we're
Still, it remains that MLK Day is the only day of the year that our great nation honors a singular American. Remember Washington' s and Lincoln' s birthdays? They were combined
into one generic Presidents Day, and at universities, they're now basically just dead white men. Classes go on as though it's an ordinary day.
Martin Luther King Jr. essentially had three things going for him: Historical forces converged on him; he was a great orator and natural-born leader; and he was assassinated. If King had lived until 2003, for example, there would likely never have been a day named after him. Napoleon once said, "If Christ was not crucified he would never have been God."
More importantly, as far as today's culture is concerned, his legacy of "content of character over skin color" has been turned on its head. There is more racial animosity now than in the 1960s. This can be attributed to the demagogues who preach that equality isn't good enough. They long to be the more-equal pigs that students used to be allowed to read about in George Orwell's Animal Farm. However, what Jesse Jackson's ilk really want is continued racial schism, lest they find themselves out of jobs.
Last year on the holiday we honor his mentor, the Rev. Jackson, speaking at a Rainbow Coalition breakfast in Chicago, continued to twist King's message to benefit his own political and financial status, stating that blacks are free but not equal in life expectancy, access to education and infant mortality. NAACP President Julian Bond noted,
I can only wonder how this must make at least some Black doctors, lawyers and successful businessmen and women feel. Are they stuck in this same purgatory of a "holding pattern"?
A few months ago, a black caller to Rush Limbaugh' s radio show contended that the Jacksons, Al Sharptons, Louis Farrakhans and even Barack Obama and Spike Lee, via their continued declarations that blacks are being somehow "held down," have assumed the role of slave owner, and that the majority of blacks are psychologically confined to their modern plantation.
That's certainly a harsh statement, but these prominent blacks, as syndicated columnist Larry Elder once claimed, "do not preach what they practiced." A vast majority of successful black politicians, leaders and writers did not benefit from the victim mentality that Jackson and colleagues insist is still holding them down.
As society continues to use the ultimate politically correct term "African-American" in life, it continues to irk me. The shining example of this was when, during the 2005 France riots, CNN anchorwoman Carol Lin called one of the Muslim looters--possibly from North Africa--an "African American." Thus, the term "African-American" is consistently used to hammer home the slavery issue, to unrelentingly remind supposed victims of white imperial racists that we owe them something; even if these whites, like my ancestors, were dying in Stalin's pogroms at the time.
The fact is that Black Americans today are as far away from their African heritage as is possible, but since Africa is where slavery originated (and continued far after the Civil War courtesy of Islam), too many blacks today still see themselves as victims rather than just ordinary Americans. Some even convert to Islam, a religion responsible for much of African slavery's origins. Organizations like the ACLU, the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus will never let them forget this. Financially and in terms of political clout, they have too much to lose if people ever did.
Dr. King was a great man, but the fact that President's Day, Columbus Day and Veteran's Day are no longer celebrated by most public schools, and Dr. King Day is actually the sole holiday with which we honor any ethnic group is, well, unfair and unequal. Martin Luther King would most likely be appalled.
[Editor: for more on the idea of Equality Day, see this article from last year.]
Ari Kaufman regularly writes for the Indianapois Star and the Jewish Post and Opinion. His archived work can be accessed here.