Martin Luther King Day, Milford High School and Racial Sentimentality
January 17, 2006, with additional comments in January, 2007

I spent yesterday watching the Martin Luther King Day parade on Main Street in Milford. Then I had a free lunch at Milford High School, then I sat through a three hour presentation at the school's Center for the Performing Arts.

I counted about fifty people on the street while waiting for the parade to start, but there were probably one or two thousand marchers. Most of them, I guess, were students in the Huron Valley School system. I presume that they were given much encouragement by teachers, etc., to participate. Officially, the schools were closed. After the march, there was a "rally" in the park, which consisted of a few short, unintelligible speeches and a group noisemaking session with drums, sticks, buckets, shakers and so on.

Next on the day's festivities was a free luncheon at the Milford High School cafeteria. The line moved very slowly, but I enjoyed being there in the crowd. There were live music acts. One girl sang Sarah McLachlan's "Angel." I doubt that many people understood that the song was about heroin addiction.* I think the song is an apt symbol for the entire day: Troubling situations masked by pretty sentimentality.

We could do worse than to devote an afternoon to hearing pleasant words about brotherhood and peace and love. I have a huge respect for the kindheartedness of many of my fellow citizens in this town. But if we focus only on the glorious days of the late '50s and early '60s, we can fail to see the ugliness of racial politics in subsequent decades.

My first direct encounter with that ugliness occurred in 1987 when I was working at the University of Michigan. It was not peace and light and harmony and "I have a dream," it was disruption, threats, accusations and turmoil. And it wasn't about basic human dignity, it was all about numbers. The fundamental complaint was that there were not enough black people attending the university. I've written up a somewhat detailed account of that little uprising: Virtual Racism at the University of Michigan in the Winter of 1987. I would like you to read that article, especially if you're a high school student, and even more especially if you are generally sympathetic to "civil rights" type issues.

Sympathy is only the first phase of a process designed to blind white people to their actual, genuine interests as white people. Subsequent phases are: guilt, fear and propitiation. You'll get the major guilt-trips when you start college. You will be subjected to gruesome accounts of "hate crimes," and, at the same time, you will be taught that you are a beneficiary of "white privilege."

Sometimes radical black activists create a direct fear of physical violence, as they did in 1987. Usually, though, the "fear factor" is more subtle. We are afraid of social ostracism if we express bad thoughts about civil rights or racial minorities. Later in life, we are afraid of losing our jobs if say things that are not politically correct.

These things add up. If you feel guilty and are afraid, but still somewhat sympathetic to the plight of American black people, then you are more likely to go along with demands made by black radicals, no matter how insane. You will certainly not oppose their insane agendas.

The insane demands are often about numbers. Not enough black students at a university, not enough black students in accelerated classes, not enough black students in honors programs, too many black people getting traffic tickets, too many black people in prison, too many black students suspended or expelled. The only rational way to respond to any of those demands is to say No. Because I and I think most of us here in Milford personally know black people who are fine, intelligent people, but, AS A GROUP, black people are not like white people.

I made that point in my Speech for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, 2006 that I submitted to the diversity committee. I didn't get a chance to present it, which is understandable. It is difficult to face some of the hard realities of life while everyone is holding hands and singing "We Shall Overcome."

But we must face the realities of racial differences in academic ability and in behavior. We must also face the realities of racial politics. Yesterday you saw only the angelic side of the "civil rights movement." Your basic sympathies are commendable, but the little knowledge you gained yesterday will not prepare you for bitter struggles yet to come.
 
* I've since learned that the singer herself did not know that the song is about heroin addiction. It isn't at all obvious. (Dec. 2006)

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Addendum, January 20, 2007:

This year, in addition to the Monday activities, there was a Sunday evening event, featuring poems, music, a few short speeches, all followed by a candlelight vigil. (I skipped out before the vigil. I've learned not to look down on what I might have called 'cheap sentimentality' in my youth, but, hey, too much is too much!) Things were seriously disrupted Monday morning on account of a major ice storm, and I ended up missing the march and whatever other events might have taken place.

You can get a general idea of the nature of the celebrations by reading descriptions of workshops on this page and on this one. In particular, if you read the first blurb on the first link, you might get the impression that the "workshop" was actually intended to impart the doctrines of a religious group, the Baha'is. I did bit of research. It seems that the keynote speaker and at least one other workshop presenter were also Baha'is. Many of the workshops and the theme of the whole series of events ("One world, one family") were infused with an inane, sentimental kind of globalism, which, I guess, is the essence of the Baha'i faith.

But it is their faith, not mine. I wrote a speech condemning the idea of "one world, one family" and submitted it to the committee for presentation on Sunday, but I did not have the opportunity to actually deliver the speech. Too bad -- it was more intelligent than anything anyone else had to say during the two day orgy of racial self-righteousness, but that's how things go these days. If you look at the workshop programs, you will notice an almost total absence of anything that would encourage school children to actually think about any of the issues being discussed. The format is usually a presentation followed by a discussion about how the wondrous globalist agenda can be achieved. Very sneaky stuff, and contemptible when done in a public school.

I've known about the Baha'is for a long time. I used to respect them, even though their philosophy is, in some very important ways, the exact opposite of mine. I do not respect them any more.

*

Side note:

In the course of my Googleing around for information about MLK day here in the Huron Valley, I ran across the following post on the "witches" section of the Meetup.com web site under the heading "Invitation to participate in the Huron Valley Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration!":

Please check out: www.HVMLKDay.org

We reachout to all groups and offer opportunities to participate in this day of peace, inclussion and equality!

You can join us for the poetry night, the march monday morning, have an info. booth at our community fair, even offer a workshop.

For more information: www.HVMLKDay.org

Hope to see some witches represent!

Somehow, I think the witches of Washtenaw County had better things to do that day than attend a bunch of Baha'i workshops disguised as celebrations of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday!

*

Addendum, Jan. 26, 2007:

I have made further comments on HV MLK Day issues in an essay, Globalism and Right Thinking.

 
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