I feel like I should say something profound for Martin Luther King Jr. Day (or Robert E. Lee Day in less advanced locales). I mean, I am, at present, Pajiba’s only regular African-American writer. While, certainly, Dr. King’s work transcends issues of race to address social, economic and cultural injustice in its myriad forms, one cannot deny his importance to the black community.
But if you only know the man from PBS documentaries or, worse, your toothless middle school history classes, you really don’t have any sense of his larger message. Dr. King wasn’t just a “black leader,” whatever the hell that is, or even a civil rights activist. He was a radical who opposed the Vietnam War and agitated for economic justice as ardently as civil rights for blacks. Like Muhammed Ali, he’s become a secular saint, stripped of his danger, but read this piece in the Huffington Post to get a sense of the man we’re talking about.
With all that as background, I can’t be sure that the following video represents Dr. King’s platonic ideal for American society. Unlike some, I’m not so arrogant as to presume to know the minds of dead men. That said, I hope he’d be tickled to know that in 2011, a beautiful black woman from Arkansas could perform yodeling ventriloquism at the Miss America Pageant.
Yep. The good doctor would be damn proud today.
Jason Harris believes the world would be a better place were it not for the actions of
the FBI James Earle Ray, but he’s still not going to yodel.