When this episode of The Boondocks aired with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr saying the N-word there was a considerable amount of debate about how appropriate it was:
In his usual heavy-handed style Aaron McGruder drove home some interesting points. African Americans have made great strides both socially, financially and politically since the death of Dr. King but it can definitely be argued that we’ve made many, many steps backward. Even gotten “comfortable” since the Civil Rights era. When I recently listened to Dr. King’s historic speech from 1963 some key phrases stuck out in my mind, but for the wrong reasons. After going through it line by line I think that somewhere over the years, some of Dr. King’s message was indeed LOST IN TRANSLATION.
“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. Hey Lil Jon, I don’t think a Chicken and Beer eating contest is what Dr. King had it mind for this table of brotherhood… “I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.” While I generally have respect for David Banner, when he invited Al Sharpton to fellate him and threatened to beat that he’d beat up Jesse Jackson’s son, I didn’t think it was a shining moment for Mississippi. “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Yes, judge the children by the content of their character, not by how well they shake their pre-teen hips to “Every Girl In TheWorld.” . “I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.“ It’s safe to say that this part of Dr. King’s dream has been achieved. But what does it mean when we’re entertained by the shameless antics and ploys of people who’s ability to create drama far outweighs their ability to sing or act? We’re in serious trouble when you can put “socialite” on a resume and the sex tape is social currency. “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. I don’t think Dr. King was talking about plastic surgery in this line but it seems like that’s how we read it… “This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope” Come back to us D’Angelo…please. “With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” “With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.” Based on the rash of rappers going to prison, we only seem to be focused on the “Go to jail together” part…
GALLERY: Hip-Hop Behind Bars
So give some thought today on Dr. King’s message and what it means for our interaction within the race, not just between the races.