Thursday, January 05, 2006

A disgrace to King's legacy?

Ok Snoop in his quest to probe the most mysterious aspects of life............
Aw hell, I’m bored, and what do you do when you are bored? You think and ponder all kinds of stuff. Thankfully I have my little blog.

Now this topic is something I know some of you white people may have pondered at one time or another. Why are there so many streets named after the great Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr?
BUT the more important question is, why are these streets, named after such an icon in this countries history, tend to be the most fucked up streets in Anytown, USA?
As we are close to celebrating King's birthday, more than 650 streets in the United States bear the civil rights leader's name. No other American enjoys such a distinction.
Soon after King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Blacks began a campaign to get a holiday named in his honor and to get streets and buildings named for him.
In fact, a school in Arequipa, Peru, has been named for the Nobel Peace Prize winner, and so has a library in Lusaka, Zambia. City governments and other organizations are still considering ways to memorialize King by using his name.
However, few address the ugly side of the King-name phenomenon and is generally ignored.

Chris Rock tells a joke that goes something like this: When a white friend told Chris Rock that he was on a street called Martin Luther King and asked what he should do, Chris Rock answered, "Run!" At another time and on a more serious note, Rock said: "I don't care where you live in America, if you're on Martin Luther King Boulevard, there's some violence going on."

Trust me folks, particularly you white people out there. I am not aware of any such MLK Boulevard where I would be comfortable walking at night, hell DURING THE DAY!
But in the zeal to honor King, folks forget to ask a few fundamental question. Does most of the streets, boulevards and avenues named for King actually disgrace his great legacy?
I am from Oakland California. I remember reading some time ago about the street that was San Pablo Boulevard was being renamed MLK.
The street I remember was the center of prostitution, drugs, gang violence. I would be willing to bet that it is still a corridor of broad dilapidation, abandoned structures, vacant lots with junked vehicles and trash and debris, black-on-black beat downs, public drinking, ect. And yes even worse, perhaps, most of the viable businesses on this stretch of MLK are owned by people other than blacks a glaring testament to black powerlessness.
The reasons for this state of affairs are many and complex. From the beginning, streets named for King (at least significant segments of them) were in poor black neighborhoods. From the beginning, these streets were themselves symbols of segregation and decay. From the beginning, streets named for King were a "black thing." Black folks happily settled for streets in these places because this was all they were going to get from whites who were under fire from fellow whites to resist change.

Martin Luther King III, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization his father co-founded: uttered the following typical (anti-whitey rant)
"Most of the streets are still located in areas where they have been neglected. Their (white leaders') intentions were honorable, but, unfortunately, what they didn't do in most cases was to create the kind of street or area that would be an appropriate tribute."
On the surface, King's words are correct. But he fails to see the real source of the "neglect." The fault does not lie with white people. It lies with black people.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born and reared on a clean, quiet, middle-class street in Atlanta, that he grew up with strict conservative values, values such as serving your community, protecting and respecting your neighbors, hard work, thrift, sobriety, cleanliness?
You won’t find that on any MLK Boulevard.
We should resolve to transform all King roadways into clean, well-lighted places that will attract businesses of all stripes, that will entice residents and tourists alike to spend time and money.
Simply naming a street after someone is not a tribute to King's legacy. It is an outrage. It disgraces the memory of one of the greatest figures of the last century.
Neither is it symbolic of a transformation of racial solidarity in our society.
Remember James Byrd, Jasper, Texas, where you can find the MLK street that James Byrd was walking on in 1998 when he accepted a ride from a group of white men who murdered him and dragged his body three miles with a pick-up truck.
Many of these street tributes are phony attempts to appease ignorant black folks into thinking that all is well, whitey cares.
Here in Lawrence I wonder if changing our beloved main downtown Street, “Massachusetts” to Martin Luther King Street would go over with the liberals here?
Sounds like a letter to the editor. “To the Residents of Lawrence, its time we name some streets after black folks and not these damm states.”

Sincerely, Snoop

P.S. I use to be a Republican, does that help?


Anonymous TMJ said...

See, another post I agree with! It does anger me that every MLK is a scene of Black disenfranchisement, and that we accept it. I hate seeing the smarmy looks and hearing the snide remarks of white folks about MLK streets...and yes, san pablo/MLK in Oakland still sucks. It's dirty and lined with liquor stores and unemployed Black men and women. But I still love Oakland, MLK Boulevard and the whole Bay, because alongside that destruction I see perserverance and hope...there are still some good things happening. Just not on MLK Boulevard!

Anonymous Snoop said...

I still love Oakland too T.

It has its issues, but its still Oaktown baby!

This issue is just one example of black folks “accepting” crumbs for white folks.
The thing that pisses me off about this is the black folks who puch a lobby for these naming issues are proud to have these streets named for MLK.
There is one quote from some dude (I will try to find) where he actually says (naming these broken streets after MLK is a good thing because it will inspire hope in the people who travel along them) something like that.
I’m thinking that is the most fucked up thing I ever heard of!!
Down in Bama, a small town where I use to live, they named a street after a former city council dude. This motherfucker was a damm crook! In addition he had someone forge my signature and had me registered to vote and somehow had me voting for him in several elections.
Yes he was a Democrat (BIG TYME). This is why I am a big proponent of the Voter I.D. law, but I digress MAN DON’T GET ME STARTED! LOL!

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