Part 2—Respectful ways to speak: In total fairness, it was we ourselves who made the mistake of mentioning Dr. King this morning.
We mentioned him to our friend, NAME WITHHELD, in a Baltimore coffee shop. Our friend said he shook hands with Dr. King, "looked him right in the eye," one week before he was taken away in Memphis.
Our friend said he was a senior in high school in Newark at the time. "We had shut the city down," he said.
"You and your siblings?" we mordantly said. (We know a bit about them, and about his mother, who grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and just turned 100 years old.)
They were too young at the time, he replied.
Our friend told us that Dr. King had met with him and the rest, complimenting them for their intentions, if possibly not for their preferred approach. As a general matter, our friend said that he and his associates, at that time:
1) Generally thought that they had, at most, a few years to live;We've become friends with this friend over the past six months or so. Before we arguably made the mistake of mentioning Dr. King today, we told him we thought we could possibly make it as a comedy duo.
2) Had been influenced by PantherThink more than by the philosophy of nonviolence;
3) Didn't intend to let Dr. King put them on a bus to get beaten up in the South, and;
4) Were told by Dr. King that he had to go to Memphis to help a group of sanitation workers, but that he would come back to meet with them again after that effort was done.
After our mention of Dr. King, today's funnin' largely stopped.
Incomparably, we checked the outlines of his story when we returned to our sprawling campus. A quick trip to the Nexis machine churned this two-year-old retrospective by Steve Strunsky from, among other Jersey orgs, the Newark Star-Ledger:
STRUNSKY (4/6/16): The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited New Jersey just eight days before his death in 1968, making several appearances in Newark, a city where the kind of poverty, brutality and lack of opportunity that King struggled nonviolently against had ignited into deadly rioting the year before.God bless Muhammad's mother and other actual humans. Meanwhile, South Side High! Tomorrow, we may arguably make the mistake of asking if that was our friend's high school.
It's a struggle that continues to this day in New Jersey, said civil rights activists who gathered in Newark on Monday to mark the 48th anniversary of King's assassination, which occurred in Memphis on April 4, 1968.
"I remember the look on my mom's face going stone cold," said Zayid Muhammad, a veteran Newark activist and member of the People's Organization for Progress, recalled of the day King was fatally shot.
A few blocks from the King statue, a section of the lower level of City Hall on Broad Street is dedicated to King's visit to Newark on March 27, 1968, when he appeared at the Mount Calvary Baptist Church and spoke at South Side High School. Hamm noted that King also appeared at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, where the People's Organization for Progress holds its meetings, and that the civil rights icon visited the home of a young poet and activist named Everett LeRoi Jones, who later changed his name to Amiri Baraka. His son, Ras Baraka, is now the mayor of Newark.
The visit came nine months after the Newark riots of July 1967, which left 26 people dead.
We don't have a specific recollection of the day Dr. King was shot. We have a modest recollection of the day, nine weeks later, when Robert Kennedy followed in kind, though we only remember thinking that the world was coming apart.
In our view, our current version of the world has been coming apart for some time now. Our most basic practices have been coming undone, with few signs that mainstream and liberal journalists were willing or able to notice.
As a matter of fact, those liberal and mainstream journalists have played a leading role in this undoing at least since 1992. We began planning this site in the fall of 1997 because, even back then, we couldn't take it any more.
Other liberals seemed to notice the problem exactly one day after Donald J. Trump got elected president. In that sense, our own tribe's ginormous cluelessness has been a key part of this very large, perhaps existential problem.
Last Saturday morning, we thought we watched another side of this widespread problem as we watched C-Span's Washington Journal. A thoroughly well-intentioned person who was guesting on the venerable program offered her thoughts on the topic of "Race and Police Shootings."
(Full disclosure: Long ago, we ourselves guested on Washington Journal, an award-winning three separate times!)
As we watched, we thought we spotted a problem pretty much right from the jump. Among other ruminations, it occurred to us that an apparently sensible C-Span framework, in which the host doesn't ever challenge the guest, has basically broken down in this increasingly tribalized era.
There was nothing "new" in what transpired, but we found it troubling right from the jump. Eventually, after the 9-minute mark, you can see the well-intentioned guest say this:
SAVALI (5/31/18): When we speak about black men, we cannot forget black women, particularly when we talk about unarmed encounters with police departments. Sixty percent of, according to a new study from Fatal Interactions with Police that came out of Washington State, shows that 60% of black women are unarmed and fatally shot by police officers. So that is extremely important to remember when we talk about encounters with police departments and police officers across this country.You're right—the highlighted claims don't quite seem to make sense.
Extemporaneous speech can be like that. But after the 18-minute mark, C-Span's Paul Orgel raised the topic again, eliciting this response:
ORGEL: I wanted to ask you, get back to the issue of women of color. Here's a headline to a piece by Jonathan Capehart in the Washington Post, and it asks this question:You're right. That headline on that Capehart piece doesn't quite seem to make sense.
"Police violence affects women of color just as much as men. Why don't we hear about it?"
How would you answer that question?
SAVALI: Well, we do hear about it. We don't hear about it enough. We don't hear about it enough from mainstream media...But again, as I mentioned earlier, 60% of encounters with police officers which are unarmed, in the black community, the victims are black women.
That said, neither did the highlighted reply by the C-Span guest. To the extent that the statement parsed, it seemed that it had to be wrong.
As it turned out, the study in question seems to come from Washington University in St. Louis, not from Washington State. As we'll show you tomorrow, this study, to which the guest referred, may not quite seem to make sense.
It reminded us of that earlier study, the study from Penn, the one which discussed suspensions of black public school students in the states of the Old South. That earlier Ivy League study made no sense at all. Orgel's silence reminded us of the way the New York Times swallowed and spread the nonsensical work of that earlier study around.
We've been descending into public lunacy for a fairly long time now. By the mid-1990s, one of America's best-known clergymen was parading about the countryside, peddling a video about the many murders committed by Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The mainstream press corps took it in stride. We self-impressed liberals dozed.
In the late 1990s, the mainstream press corps spent two years inventing stupid claims about the vile Candidate Gore, who was believed to be their last shot at the vile President Clinton. Many liberal journalists played active roles in this inexcusable reindeer game, which led, of course, to the death of innocents all over the world.
To this day, the career liberal world has agreed that these events and these behaviors must never be discussed. With regard to the second Candidate Clinton, the New York Times kept churning the crap right up to election day. Among the many other quislings, Michelle Goldberg ended up with a "good job at good pay" because she never mentioned such facts.
"Man [sic] is the rational animal," Aristotle is said to have said. Aristotle was crazily wrong in this famous putative statement.
In the modern age, we liberals have made it clear that we simply don't have the smarts, as a group, to deal with our devolving situation. Once again, we'll recommend Andrew Sullivan's gloomy overview:
SULLIVAN (3/23/18): Every now and again, when I find myself buried in the latest blizzard of invariably disturbing news emanating from the Trump White House, I go back and remind myself of the core narrative. I read Plato’s Republic again, the prism through which I first raised the alarm about Donald Trump’s emergence. The prism is essentially how a late-stage democracy, dripping with decadence and corruption, with elites dedicated primarily to enriching themselves, and a people well past any kind of civic virtue, morphs so easily into tyranny.We're strongly disinclined to denounce "a [whole] people." But those "elites" which Sully describes include our own "liberal" elites, the ones who are lining their pockets Over Here.
With Donald J. Trump in the White House, it's pretty much all crazy talk all the time. Are we liberals willing to follow suit, even concerning this nation's most sacred matters, by which we mean matters of race?
Dr. King, a brilliant person, was chased around by J. Edgar Hoover, the craziest leading man of this country's past century. Even so, he never went around talking ludicrous Trump-like talk.
Why are we willing to do so now, even concerning matters of race? Is any topic sacred today, or it it Trump all the way down?
Tomorrow: Let's take a look at the study
Coming: The second Candidate Clinton