Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated for fighting for Black Civil Rights

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated for fighting for Black Civil Rights

Every year on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday, the self-described, more enlightened, white supremacists try to explain the real reason that King (they always use King, because over-familiar and disrespectful is their brand) was shot is because of class. He tried to bring together the Black and white poor people. So class and King being a socialist is what really got him killed.

As a Black leftist with a similar class background to Dr. King, while I don’t speak for everyone, I promise you that Black people don’t work like that. We don’t pick a political team and stick with it forever. If the head of the team that we choose turns out to be a fascist, racist sociopath willing to set the Constitution on fire, we will leave. We’re not “ride and die” on ideology. That’s not Black people. 

Black people pick the team that works best to support the community and pivot if that team is no longer serving its purpose. 

Dr. King was initially a Republican.  During the time his parents were coming of age, Dixiecrats were the party of the Confederate Resistance to Reconstruction and Federal Intervention.  Their weapon was institutional and extralegal brutal racism.  By the time Johnson came along, he was probably a Democrat like the rest of the Black community. The Dixiecrats had transformed the Republican Party, and the Democrats morphed into a more tolerant party.

Things can change, the white progressive walked over to the Democrats in the 1930s, and the Dixiecrats stormed over to the Republican Party in the 1960s.  Dixiecrats are what white southerners called Democrats in the South, where most Black people still live. 

“[A Prince] must keep his hands off the property of others, because men more quickly forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony.”  

In “The Prince,” Machiavelli warning of the danger of confiscating a man’s property

The reason racist seditious Southerners didn’t want to be part of the Republican Party is that they hated Lincoln, a Republican, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In their mind he took away their property, Black people.

Returning to The Prince, “a wise prince should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of others; he must endeavour only to avoid hatred.”

Self-described allies with White supremacist tinges often take a class reductionist lens on Dr. King’s assassination.

 “Poor People’s Campaign, which aimed to move beyond civil rights to challenge the inequalities that were born out of capitalism itself.”

—Jacobin

The enslavement of Black people built the US system of capitalism. It was able to become a world power on the backs of enslaved Black people. 

Racism, classism, and sexism are all equal weapons to oppress people. They are EQUAL oppressors. Classism isn’t more valid, because it is the only one that directly impacts white, cis-men.

The real disease isn’t capitalism. And the problem isn’t even a disease. The problem is a sociopathic killer. In cultures viewed through the white supremacy’s lens, the killer’s name is oppression.

Various violent weaponry carries out oppression. Racism is just as violent as classism. Race is tied to class. There are no mediocre Black middle-class people. There are no middle-class Black people, class is tied to more than just your salary. 

A White supremacist assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis, because King wanted Black people to have equal rights. Equal rights are not just social laws, but also economics. One of his last actions was helping an all-Black sanitation workers union, Local 1733 get better pay and just working condition. When you divorce Blackness from Dr. King’s assassination, you sound like a Lost Cause Confederate explaining slavery was only a minor point of the Civil War. 

“Class is the real reason” is not the “more reasonable” explanation. Especially in 2021, when yet again, white supremacists rooted in the Confederacy have attempted to overthrow the US government because Black people voted. 

Anti-blackness IS the first domino, not a distraction, not a periphery thing. In the US BLACKNESS is the beginning. 

“The reality of substantial investment to assist Negroes into the twentieth century, adjusting to Negro neighbors and genuine school integration, is still a nightmare for all too many white Americans…These are the deepest causes for contemporary abrasions between the races. Loose and easy language about equality, resonant resolutions about brotherhood fall pleasantly on the ear, but for the Negro there is a credibility gap he cannot overlook. He remembers that with each modest advance, the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash.”

Where do we go from here? Chaos Or Community?” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

To try to paint Dr. King into an ideological corner that takes him from his struggle and fight for Black Civil Rights to serve your idea of freedom, whether you’re a leftist or on the rightwing, is white supremacist.


Teka Lo, Public Intellectuals

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