Profundity and flowery speeches have already been entirely overdone this weekend as the black community celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I myself will be at a service today commemorating his work, probably having to sing one of his favorite hymns and the Negro National Anthem and possibly We Shall Overcome. But after all the platitudes, handshakes, ceremonial marches and parades, what is left?
The empathy required to serve true justice with mercy and grace still oozes away like so much blood in the streets. We are devalued at every turn, completing the cycle by turning the worthlessness onto ourselves as we gun down our own in the streets over the worthless things of this world. We fight amongst ourselves because we lack the fortitude and faith necessary to fight for ourselves. Our heroes fall from grace before our eyes, the young heroes holding them up in ridicule rather than the honor deserved for the longwinded fights they have fought. The old guard spit contempt in the face of rising voices and break the bonds that should hold us together in unity, instead giving no room or wisdom to those with the legs to run on. And all the while, our children sit uneducated and miseducated, adding to the further destruction of a people began when the first European set foot on African soil.
This MLK Holiday, I rage.
Listen. I do not care what white people think of me. I no longer concern myself with the need or desire to fit into a system not meant for me. What I care about is the kind of radical change that led to the deaths of Dr. King and Brother Malcolm and any white man who agreed with them, to the destruction of the Black Panthers, to the hunting of Angela Davis, to the killing and maiming of my progenitors in the streets of cities everywhere as they marched for basic human rights offered to everyone BUT them in the United States Constitution.
I care about some different things this year, namely: I am no longer looking for acceptance. I am looking to reclaim my value and all that comes with it. I am no longer interested in equality and the superficial gestures that come with it. I demand justice.
So, on this MLK Holiday, I will sing the songs. I will clap in all the right places. I will smile and nod. I will rock and remember. And when I am done, I will continue to educate my children and anyone else who cares to listen about the ongoing systemic rape of Black culture around the globe, the whitewashing of history to make white people feel better and Black people feel beholden, and the ways we can come out of this conditioning of hate and valuelessness to be the people we were meant to be TOGETHER.
I am the lion, and I am telling my own story.