Wednesday, January 19, 2011

He Was One of Us

Over the past few days we have been bombarded with images and videos of Dr. King, from his “Normalcy, Never Again” (“I Have a Dream”) speech, to his final public address, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” However, I was surprised to see an image of King making its rounds on the internet (via Twitter) that I had not seen in a long time. The photograph is of King preparing to take a behind the back shot at the eleven ball during a game of pool. From the photo, it looks like he knew what he was doing—this definitely was not the first time Dr. King had held a pool cue in his hands. In reading the comments of those who tweeted and re-tweeted (RT) the photo, many had never seen this particular image of the famous civil rights leader. As I started to follow discussions about the picture, most people really just hinged on how cool it was to see a picture like that of King in that setting, or some mentioned things about the artistry of the photograph. I looked at it, remembering the last time I saw the picture and I began to think about it differently.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What Does Democracy Look Like?

This latest blogpost was taken from a collection of tweets I rattled off in the immediate aftermath of the Arizona shootings. Due to the number of responses I received, and after some careful thought, I compiled my tweets (and a few responses) into an essay of sorts. I’ve edited the tweets as I thought was necessary and also cited some of my “Twitterfolk” in this piece. I look forward to hearing any comments you may have.

With the recent shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, I ask the question, “What does democracy look like?” We tend to think of America as the bastion for this system of government, a true personification of the Greek dÄ“mokratia. It is easy believe in the myth of “American exceptionalism” this notion that we are unlike any other nation before or after us. Thus, as the protectors of this system, our government historically has been the champion of making the world safe for democracy. That in mind, an even better question, posed by @NvrComfortable was, “What does our democracy look like?” That is something to consider. What does American democracy look like? At this moment we need to seriously analyze our so-called democratic republic. When fear mongering, ignorance, and hate are allowed to fester like a diseased wound, there are disastrous consequences for us all. When faced with a tragedy such as the Arizona shooting, it tends to bring out all the fringe aspects of our political culture who unfortunately hold even more fervently to warped ideologies of hate afterwards.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords pleaded with her fellow Americans in March of 2010 after her offices were attacked in Tucson, Arizona. “It’s really important that we focus on the fact that we have a democratic process, “ she explained. We need to remember that. Now, six people have lost their lives and twelve others have been injured. This was not the time to start spewing more incendiary rhetoric, as some have. That is how we got into this mess in the first place. This is not a Left or Right issue, it is in fact an American one. We need to understand that this is serious. People have lost their lives, and for what?

DOCUMENTARY: "I Am a Man: Dr. King & the Memphis Sanitation Strike"

This documentary gives great context to Dr. King's final public address. Watch. Listen. Share with others.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "I've Seen the Promised Land/I've Been to the Mountaintop" April 3, 1968 (excerpt)

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Negrointellectual by Vernon C. Mitchell, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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