by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned a just and equitable America, in which citizens treated each other as persons rather than as carriers of an indelible racial imprint.
Today, the progressive left has bet against King’s vision: we are not persons, we are our racial identities, and anyone who rejects that view is guilty of racism.
King himself would be called out and targeted for “anti-bias” reeducation if he were alive today.
The Civil Rights Movement of which I was proudly a part has been betrayed by a twisted progressive ideology that hyper-racializes our country.
It divides our country into two groups: on the one side, blacks and other minorities who are permanent and powerless victims; and on the other irredeemable white supremacists, bent on their destruction. Instead of helping to create a society in which all have an equal opportunity to thrive, it insists that systemic racism prevents anyone except “privileged” whites from succeeding.
This sea of helpless victims must depend on whites cleansing themselves of racism, on more government programs, or on both. The left has today weaponized race not for the purpose of healing wounds but for gaining power.
We see this same pattern of weaponizing race emerging throughout our elite institutions. From Hollywood to major corporations and government agencies, unfounded and often life-altering allegations of racism from the relatively privileged get more attention than the myriad of challenges facing low-income and working-class Americans of every race. But nowhere is this widespread perversion of the Civil Rights Movement more obvious than on college campuses. …
… My fellow Civil Rights veteran Barbara Jordan once said, “Every single individual in this country is entitled to just as much respect, just as much dignity, as every other individual.”
In the 60s, I marched and got arrested fighting for this idea.