Your Thoughts: If Dr. King Were Alive Today

In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I decided to drum up a sci-fi scenario. Picture this: On April 4th 1968, Martin Luther King disappeared. What happened? It turns out that he was transported into the future. He reappears in modern times seeing a new world. However, America’s problems remain. Racism, materialism and militarism are still prevalent today. Violence and hatred are both still around, but he also sees great accomplishments, one being the election of a Black President.

You do think his reactions would be to the world of the future? For instances, what would he say about America electing its first Black President twice? What he say about America’s involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What would he think about the entertainment and news media, especially the likes of Fox News? What would he say about the ongoing struggles of poverty and violence?

What are the social and political issues that effect you and how do you think Dr. King would respond to such issues? Sound off the comment section.


17 thoughts on “Your Thoughts: If Dr. King Were Alive Today

  1. Have you ever watched “The Boondocks”? They had an episode that dealt with the premise your proposing, it was very interesting because he had to deal with right wing pundits, discrimination, and so many other things.

    Great questions!

    I think that that he would be so proud to see a man like Barack Obama be president, I’m sure he never would have imagined this would happen. But I don’t think he would have fallen complacent. No white racist could quote him whenever they felt like it because he would be there to refute them and their appropriation of his hard work. The government couldn’t get away with so much anti-black rhetoric, because this pillar of Civil Rights would be there. And no one would have been willing to hear the Affirmative Action and Voting Rights Act cases being brought to the Supreme Court. They’d have known better. And lord help the people who would attempt to disenfranchise voters like they did before. I think he would have seen this as an opportunity for further advancement for all. He would have fought for economic equality, and probably would have organized a much better version of an Occupy Movement. He likely would have organized a bigger protest for Trayvon, Rekia Boyd, and other victims of institutional racism, and we probably could get some real results. He might see the fight against Arizona’s SB1070 as the fight against a modern version of Jim Crow against Latinos. He would agree with an assault weapons ban, because he knows that gun violence disproportionately hurts people of color. I know he would refuse to be happy with an illusion of equality that still hurts PoC to the benefit of white people. He would be against the widespread idea that blacks must be doormats in order to be valuable. That they should be erased from history, that the South should be able to celebrate a legacy of oppression.

    The issues that affect me are lgbtq rights, womanism, anti-racism, and religious freedom. I am especially sensitive to the treatment of PoC, especially black, brown, and indigenous people, because they are the ones who face the brunt of so many racist ideas and policies. Even classism affects I am a centrist who actually can appreciate a gun.

    I feel that he would make me proud; he would recognize that lgtbq people are people, first and foremost, and they shouldn’t be kept from pursuing the freedom supposedly assured to all citizens. He would likely support the idea of equality for women, not just the elite white women at the top, but the poor latina mother trying to make ends meet in a world that keeps her on the bottom. He’d likely be against the tickle-down ideas that make up feminism today. Anti-racism is a give in of course. I that he would support religious freedom in the name of unity. And most importantly, he would support a notion of humanity and treating all people with dignity and respect. He would know about intersectionality, how class, race, gender, and other factors interrelate.

    If he came to the future, the world would be a better place. I can honestly say that.

    1. I saw it, but I honestly disagreed with it. No where in the episode did mention anything about institutionalized racism or internalized racism. And when I think about it, even though it was funny, the speech reminded me of Bill Cosby’s speech years ago. I doubt the community would get a revolutionary jump-start from it lol.

      I’m sure Dr, King would be opposed to the War on Terror, America’s support of Israel, the War on Drugs, and racial profiling. I also think he would be opposed of misogyny, sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia.

      King would do all he can to end violence around the country, especially in poor black and brown neighborhoods.

      However, I also think the right wing would see him as a troublemaker. Fox News would demonize him. The mainstream media would attempt to make a reality show based on him and his friends. Black conservatives will want to silence him. Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Juan Williams, Larry Elder, Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh will paint him as a dangerous socialist.

      1. True. I see a lot of people going into “whats wrong with the black community” spiels based on quoting that episode. I just thought it was interesting at least lol.

        Great points there. Especially with the right wingers. He would have to deal with a lot of smearing now like he had to before, but I think he could call out the collective conscious of America like no one else could. I don’t think that people would get away with constantly trying to “turn back the clock” if he were here now.

  2. Good post; great questions.

    The social and political issues that affect me are racism and sexism. I would hope that Dr. King would be frustrated and saddened that the civil rights movement was essentially hijacked by selfish whites for the sole purpose of forwarding their own agendas. He wanted equality for ALL, not just white women.

    I feel that he would be frustrated by the way his dream and vision have been twisted by selfish, angry people of all shades. He would be saddened by the Black people who have been consumed by hatred.

    He would certainly despair at the violence we inflict on each other; surely he would ask, “What happened to us? Why are we so divided?” I also believe that he would encourage us to not necessarily strive for acceptance from whites, but to continue working towards equality and fairness in all areas. I think he would actively reach out to Black Africans, working towards building a strong international community with Black Americans (and everywhere else in the world where we live) involving trade, education, and the like. He might even consider the formation of a new political party.

    I think he would initially try to speak and reason with idiots like Limbaugh, Coulter, and the FauxNews morons, but would instantly defend himself against their slander and lies – I don’t think he would let their verbal filth slide the way Obama does. Being reasonable doesn’t make one a pushover, nor does it mean that you have to be one!

    Just my $0.02…

  3. I think Dr. King would be proud of President Obama for standing just like him in the face of hatred and all the ugly things that go with white supremacy he faced them with poise and grace and dignity.

  4. Great post! I don’t think MLK would be happy at the state of black America today. Or African people worldwide for that matter. I think he would be saddened at what white supremacy as done since his death, But I don’t think he would be surprised that black and brown people were still struggling. I found a great article by Boyce Watkins. He asks “What would MLK ask Barack Obama?” I think his questions really hit the mark! Check it out:

    If I may, I’d like to humbly submit some questions that Dr. King might have for President Obama if he were alive today. If a man is allowed to lean on your legacy for political gain, then one might expect that he is at least partially responsible for helping to continue that legacy. I can’t put a PhD on my wall while simultaneously refusing to learn how to read, and the president cannot say that he was inspired by Dr. King’s work while disrespecting those who continue his legacy. Here are some questions that Dr. King might ask President Obama were he alive on this day:

    1) Do you have a commitment to racial equality? If so, why are you not willing to speak on the matter? I can’t recall the last time I heard the president say the words “Black man” or “Black woman” in public. It appears that he believes that his racial equality card is embedded in the color of his skin, but men like Clarence Thomas remind us that this is not the case. While the president might make politically neutered statements about Dr. King such as “Dr. Mlk Jr. was committed to service,” we also know that without the battle against racial inequality, there wouldn’t have been a Martin Luther King, Jr. This was the cornerstone of his legacy, and we should not allow him to be softened for public consumption.

    2) Why does your administration refuse to mention poor people? With 40% of all black children in poverty and the wealth gap between blacks and whites increasing during the Obama presidency, it’s difficult to say that the president has shown a great deal of concern for the economic challenges of black Americans. From the beginning, both President Obama and his evil sidekick Valerie Jarrett made it clear that black unemployment was nowhere on the radar screen for the White House (as the president plainly said that “the rising tide will lift all boats,” which is a racialized version of Trickle Down Economics). As a result, whites have seen their unemployment rates and economic fortunes improve since the start of the recession, and black people have not. But then again, it’s never been fashionable to care about poor black people and even some black people love to believe that this lack of progress occurs because black people are lazy.

    3) Are you a man who seeks peace or are you part of the American war machine? Likely due to no fault of his own, President Obama must make himself an extension of the American military, which has filled its free time conquering nations that have never threatened us, toppling regimes around the world, dropping bombs on young children and letting thousands of soldiers die, all so corporations can get access to cheaper resources to fill their coffers. I am not one to say how much the president’s conscience weighs in these decisions to start wars around the world, but I can say that Dr. King would probably not approve.

    4) If you agree that the War on Drugs was wrong, why haven’t you pardoned hardly anyone or given retroactive sentencing? The president, to his credit, played a role in the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the Crack-t0-Powder disparity from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1. But what we must first realize is that 18-to-1 is not fair; it’s just not as horribly unfair as the prior disparity. To be sure, 1-to-1 is fair sentencing, and 18-to-1 only means that a five year sentence translates to a 90-year sentence. The fact that this has become the standard for racial equality in the criminal justice system in America is a reminder of just how sick our nation has become.

    Secondly, even with the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, the president and his evil sidekick have done NOTHING to allow these sentences to be applied retroactively. This means that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who remain incarcerated under laws that have been banned. Even the most extreme Obama apologist can’t explain their way out of this one. The president has the power of the pardon, where he can correct many of these wrongs with the stroke of a pen. Yet, he is even afraid to pick up an ink pen to help the black community. Again, I don’t think Dr. King would approve of such a grave injustice.

    5) Why did you cry for the dead children at Sandy Hook, but not for the far higher numbers of dead children in black communities? This week, Minister Louis Farrakhan called on President Obama to come and see about the families of gun violence victims in Chicago. The president said that the deaths of the children at Sandy Hook made for the worst day of his presidency. This statement is stunning in light of how many more children have died on the south side of Chicago and in other urban areas all across America. I dare say that if those Sandy Hook children had been black kids in a poor neighborhood, this would have gone from being the worst day of the Obama presidency to being a normal day at the office. No one’s child deserves to die.

    One of the things that we don’t want to admit is that most of us have little interest in truly connecting to the legacy of Mlk Jr., largely because the truth behind his beliefs makes most of us uncomfortable. Dr. Cornel West has been attacked from all sides for critiquing the Obama Administration for it’s lack of interest in racial inequality, mass incarceration and violence. Ironically, before he died, Dr. King was also heavily criticized for his remarks on very similar issues. Also, notice that Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was as close to Dr. King as anyone living today, has not been invited to the White House largely because he speaks on issues that the administration would rather ignore.

    Some like to excuse Obama’s deliberate oversight of Jackson by referencing Jackson’s ill-timed remarks on Fox News five years ago. But if this is President Obama’s excuse for ignoring the needs of 40 million Americans, then that would make him as petty as someone accused of being upset because he didn’t get tickets to the inauguration. We can’t accuse Cornel West of being a petty man on one hand, but then say that Jackson’s unfortunate remarks about Obama give Barack an excuse to put his personal vendetta ahead of the interests of millions of Americans.

    In America, truth-tellers tend to be persecuted, and liars often emerge as heroes. Right now, we are living in the den of political thieves, as Dr. Martin Luther King’s hard work is being borrowed and leveraged by people who would never invite him to the White House if he were alive today. Dr. Mlk Jr. made sacrifices to create opportunities for Obama, but Obama would probably not sacrifice his political opportunities to support a man like Dr. King. The two have as much in common as a soldier on the battlefield and a teenager who plays military games on Xbox. These men are very, very different.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins

  5. He’d be ecstatic to see a Black president and that the sacrifices he and other activists made had not been in vain. The violent, misogynistic Hip Hop and Rap music would break his heart.

  6. I guess me stumbling in here after everyone has given far better answers than I ever could isn’t needed, but what the hey.

    I think he might be proud of Obama, simply because he managed to win the presidency in a country where racism is still rampant, and not once, but twice. I do agree with Kushite Prince’s/Boyce Watkins’ excellent post, though, in that I do think he might feel some disappointment with some of his words and actions, or his lack of action in fixing the things broken by the War on Drugs.

    I also agree he’s be supportive of the women’s rights and gay rights movements, though he’d also be critical of their often all-too-casual racism and lack of intersectionality. I’m certain he’d want them to include the voices of people of color more than they actually do, no matter how much they pretend they are above racism.

    And he’d certainly call out idiots like Limbaugh and FOX News for their open and blatant bigotry. Not by calling them idiots, mind you (he was a far more eloquent person than I), but he definitely wouldn’t put up with their ugly attitudes.

    And mary’s definitely right, he’d probably find social media quite fascinating, especially the useful applications it could and does have.

    I guess that’s my feelings on the matter.

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