When MLK’s Legacy Becomes the White Man’s Argument

There’s this song that plays on loop in the black community, and it’s the song of other races depicting their feelings. With history to prove it, no other race in America can empathize. African-Americans have had a long journey en route to 2017; and, sensibly, the journey continues.

As the new year dawns on the earth, many look for a shining beacon of hope to wash away their woes from the past year. This new year, however, starts a bit differently for the African-American community; it starts with ambivalence towards Jan. 16th and Jan. 20th.

The upcoming work week will begin with a holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and this work week will end with the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. Two historically important characters, two vastly different philosophies, one week.

Exactly eight and four years ago, the proximity of the dates of MLK day and inauguration day was historical. People celebrated. And people celebrate now; just for a morally different reason. But, in 2008 and 2012, King was praised in his grave. A first black president was born into American history; 43 years after literacy tests were outlawed in 1965. Barack Obama was born in 1961.

Yet, this feeling is just an assumption. These assumptions are foolish on the behalf of other races that are not black. For they [I] cannot merely comprehend the struggle I have yet to truly endure.

Dana Daley, a freshman studying political science, however, does not have to assume; her mother emigrated from Jamaica in 1986; and back then “it was much easier to gain citizenship,” therefore, Daley’s mother achieved the American dream to build a life for Daley and her brother when the American Dream had arms open as wide as an eagle’s wings.

“During elementary school, my mother sent me every day with my hair braided, lunch in my bag, and hope in my pocket,” Daley said melancholically reminiscing her innocence. “To repay her efforts, I arduously studied.” From studying day to night, Daley soon came to realize that history was her favorite topic– not because of the information, but because of the human fallacy of historical repetition.

Studying and learning about history, Daley said, is what led to her learning that the only month dedicated to black history was February and that it was the only month where her history could be taught with “zero negotiation.”

But, even with all her studying, Daley said she didn’t learn until recently that King has been “used as a puppet for the plight of African-Americans in the United States.” The way King’s quotes have been used against the Trump administration and the Black Lives Matter protesters, she said, are prime examples of how he’s been used as a “puppet.”

But, even with this new knowledge, King’s “peaceful rhetoric,” Daley said, hasn’t failed to leave an impression on her.

While she is no longer infatuated with King –a man that she was taught to love– Daley is still in awe of him, especially now that his day will be celebrated so close to the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump.

“Am I simply on the other side of the movement?” Daley questions. “ In four years, I saw the inauguration of our first African-American president, and the xenophobic controversy of where he was born come after.”

“In one week, I will encounter the remembrance day of a great figure and a remembrance day for what could also be the end of modern day democracy. In four years, I will live to see another campaign. The end is far from over and the next two weeks will not be my forever.”

January 20, 2017 will live forever in the minds of all and the hearts of many. This will be a chapter in the next generation’s history book and a chapter in this generation’s life. For this time, the lesson regarding the repetition of history is yearned to be understood.

And always recall that hope has a really weird way of manifesting itself in people. The only thing that can kill or renew hope, is time, and time is beautiful and horrible. Four years is just a passage of time that will not be forever.

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