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Republicans interpret Martin Luther King’s speech in their favour

Republicans interpret Martin Luther King’s speech in their favour

Status: 08/26/2023 08:53 AM

60 years ago, Martin Luther King delivered his famous speech with the words “I have a dream”. Conservatives in the United States often refer to this word – but they take King’s words out of context.

Martin Luther King Jr. said 60 years ago that he dreamed of his four children living in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by their morals. These lines were not present in the manuscript of the speech. The young priest added them spontaneously, in the manner of the sermon.

“He knew it was important, but he didn’t know that ‘I have a dream’ would resonate and last,” says Jonathan Egg, author of the biography of Martin Luther King, or MLK for short.

Conservative politicians in the United States in particular like to quote the phrase “I have a dream,” starting with Ronald Reagan. “We are committed to a society in which men and women have equal opportunities,” the then US president said in 1986. That is why he was against the quota system. He wants a colorblind society, which, in King’s words, judges people not by the color of their skin but by their personalities. At the time, Reagan was opposed to promoting women and minorities in the workplace. And in King’s colour-blind world, Reagan suggested there were no quotas.

The daughter does not agree

Republicans argue similarly to this day, most recently on universities. They say King did not want young African Americans to be favored there because of the color of their skin.

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Bernice King, Reverend King’s daughter, disagrees. She says the inequalities that King fought are still very clear. When it comes to health, income, wealth, and criminal law, blacks still come last.

King himself later spoke of his dream turning into a nightmare. And he demanded that society, which had done something against black people for centuries, now do something for black people.

Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., in front of her father’s memorial in Washington, DC

It has been taken out of context

Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, also recently put Martin Luther King on trial. DeSantis wants supposed left-wing content banned from schools. Slavery, for example, should be dealt with in the classroom in a way that white children would not feel uncomfortable. Think about what MLK stands for, DeSantis said. He did not want to judge people by the color of their skin, but by their personalities. Nobody talks about that today.

Keri Lake, a Trump camp politician, goes further: She firmly believes that King, JFK, and the Founding Fathers will be today’s “America’s Republicans.”

Bernice King is lost for words. The problem, she says, is that people of all parties take her father’s quotes out of context and misinterpret them. They fashioned a “comfortable king” who fit their political programmes. But her father was uncomfortable. wHWhen you read his entire work, you realize “he said very extreme things about which we all feel uncomfortable”.