EVEN ON MATTERS OF RACE: Dr. King went to Newark!


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;

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.
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.

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.

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.
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.

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:

"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.
You're right. That headline on that Capehart piece doesn't quite seem to make sense.

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


  1. ""Man [sic] is the rational animal," Aristotle is said to have said. Aristotle was crazily wrong in this famous putative statement."

    Everything you describe manifests rationality, Bob. Corruption, decadence, mind-boggling propaganda. What do you think the word 'rational' means, Bob?

    You don't like the result, I get it, but all this is very much a predictable consequence of rationality combined with liberalism-individualism/progressivism or whatever you want to call your tribe's religion, Bob...

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  2. Several years ago I happened to visit a school around MLK Day. The posted exhibits had little to do with Dr. King's dream of a post-racial society. None of Dr. King's words were included. Instead the school's memory of Dr. King was to maintain a focus on race and to support various ways to provide special benefits to blacks.

    1. Try this:


      A desire for equal treatment under the law and equal opportunity in society is not the same as a desire that we pretend everyone is the same, ignoring race, culture, ethnicity, heritage, and other sources of difference.

      This idea that blacks get "special benefits" ignores the many ways in which blacks are still stigmatized and disadvantaged in our society. Those special benefits are largely intended to undo the effects of negative discrimination.

      That you fail to understand this, David, is part of the problem that continues to exist in the USA with respect to race. How does one make a display about "special benefits" anyway? Are you objecting to things like posters of famous black Americans forgotten by the history written by white men? Is asking for inclusion a "special benefit"? Please elaborate.

    2. None of Dr. King's words were included.

      Sure, Comrade DinC, you treasonous lying sack of shit. We believe you.

    3. Anon 1:10 - Note that I wasn't objecting to special benefits. I was pointing out that some actions in the name of MLK are actually the opposite of what he advocated.

      Special benefits IMHO would include getting admitted to college and to professional school with considerably worse academic records. Getting preference in hiring.

      I very much favor posters celebrating achievements by black Americans. I am concerned that three black Americans are getting less celebration than I think they deserve: Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, and David Blackwell.

    4. "A desire for equal treatment under the law and equal opportunity in society"

      Discrimination by race is against the law, y'know. Has been for over 50 years now. If you feel you're being discriminated, call the cops.

      It seems that your desire had materialized long time ago. What's the issue, if I may ask?

    5. "If you feel you're being discriminated, call the cops."

      And if you're black, they may shoot you.

    6. No, you may not, you racist prick fascist nihilist.

    7. I very much favor posters celebrating achievements by black Americans.

      That's mighty white of you, Traitor David, former John Bircher. Just in case you missed the goddamned point, you fucking racist prick, we are celebrating a leader of the civil rights movement, not those who were opposed to it and continue to fight against the gains made to this day.

      What the fuck are you doing here, Traitor David? Don't you have some black votes to suppress somewhere?

    8. David in CalApril 4, 2018 at 12:59 PM
      "Several years ago I happened to visit a school around MLK Day. The posted exhibits had little to do with Dr. King's dream of a post-racial society. None of Dr. King's words were included."
      You sir, are lying sack of shit.

    9. Sorry you missed out David in Cal- you, as much as anyone, would have been well served to have heard what King, Jr. had to say, especially in his "Beyond Vietnam" speech which he delivered one year to the day prior to his assassination. Let me see if I can help you get caught up LINK:

      [QUOTE] ...In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution.

      During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.

      It is with such activity [in mind] that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” [applause] Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments.

      I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.

      We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

      A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act.

      One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see [that] an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. [applause]


    10. ...continued

      A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.”

      It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

      A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.”

      This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love.

      A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. [sustained applause]

      America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.

      There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

      This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. [applause] War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness.

      We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy [applause], realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

      These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. We in the West must support these revolutions.

      It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit.

      Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.

      With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low [Audience: Yes]; the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”


    11. ...continued

      A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.... [END QUOTE]

    12. Our poor troll from the East (Boris, Dmitri, Misha, Pavel, Mao? Whatever) stupidly offers the wrong advice: a racial discrimination violation is not the same as reporting an assault to a police officer.

      Tsk, tsk. Your pathetic, repetitive script has failed you yet again.

    13. Cmike, haven’t visited for a while, inspiring post. I’m not sure how we’re going to pull off The Dream, worthwhile as it is, without multiple mass movements on a global scale. And the ecosphere has to be a central point in those discussions. The observations of one of my heroes, E.O. Wilson, speak of doom, but also of optimism. He’s led me to affirm that we need to nourish not just human solidarity, but as well a solidarity with nature. According to his biophilia hypothesis, we naturally want to do that already, but it’s plain to see that our collective nature in this regard has been massively compromised by capitalism and its attendant movements, such as neoliberalism and it’s sibling, neoconservatism… Same wine, new bottles. Oh yeah, let’s not forget, the msm.

      I’ve actually thought about authoritarianism as a solution to the existential problem, which is the wholesale destruction of our ecosphere. At one point, so intractable did the problem seem, so real the doom of humanity that for a moment, I appealed to the worst of political instincts for a solution. King brushed up against this urgency, but he had much bigger fish to fry at the time, so it was not a central theme to his work and understandably so. But without human solidarity, the main threat will not be addressed, so it has to start with that.

      This link is pretty good, speaks to the misgivings I have about global human solidarity upending the status quo. It doesn’t speak to the dearth of the necessary forms of democracy to create this solidarity, but it’s between the lines. We have a relatively new tool to help, the internet and social media. It’s about the only thing we proles really have, compromised as they are.

      Anyway, Bob is doing his part by focusing on the propaganda that emanates from our msm media. I don’t begrudge him his focus. Follow some of his historical leads, learn new vocabulary (in context!) every now and then, and sometimes I laugh my ass off. And we get thoughtful posters too! And arguing is fun and cathartic. That alone is worth the price of admission.


  3. Yesterday I was listening to Al Franken's "Giant of the Senate" which he reads himself. He described how SNL created the supercilious image of Al Gore with the eye rolling and huffing during a debate. Franken explains that SNL tried to avoid political bias and maim all candidates equally, creating the "strategery" malapropism of Bush, just as Palin never said she could see Russia from her window. Franken explains that many young people take their news from political satire shows and states the massive influence of such shows. Yet Somerby has never excoriated Franken or any of the others on SNL for their contribution to Gore's unfortunate image problems.

    Today Somerby seems to think there is something wrong with talking about MLK, or perhaps wrong with talking about him to African Americans, who he coyly doesn't want to label as such. How do we continue the legacy of MLK and Bobby with referring to them?

    Somerby talks about how things have not changed in Newark. Kevin Drum presents some stats and the decrease in rioting, linking it to lead abatement. Somerby decries the inability of the average news reporter to make a correct statement using statistics. Seems to me that goes back to our public schools and colleges, where statistics should be a required course, in my opinion. Especially for journalists. But everyone nevertheless gets the point -- black women are being shot too but BLM doesn't seem to care about them. They don't become Trayvon Martins, for some reason.

    There was a female shooter at Google. Will her crime be portrayed as a romantic relationship gone wrong or will she be considered a terrorist? Does the media have a double standard when it comes to female crime or crimes against women? It probably does, but Somerby doesn't care about that. He is upset because guests on cable news shows can't talk about statistics correctly.

    And we are back to the decadence quote again. Sigh.

  4. "Even so, he never went around talking ludicrous Trump-like talk."

    Do we actually know what MLK talked about with his friends and colleagues in the civil rights movement, with respect to the FBI and government harassment of the movement? I wasn't there and neither was Somerby.

    Many of us were targeted by the FBI in the 60s. You didn't have to be brilliant or black to earn that honor. I myself was interviewed by the secret service over something my ex-husband had written to Richard Nixon. It was a time of deep paranoia on the left. So I doubt MLK was as pure as Somerby portrays him to be and I think there was plenty of talk about it behind the scenes.

    1. I think Bob means that J Edgar Hoover, even though he was the craziest, didn't talk ludicrously. It goes without saying that Martin Luther King didn't talk ludicrously.

    2. Thank you, but my point stands. We do not know how Hoover talked among friends, do we? He wasn't much of a public figure.

    3. Imp, if that's what Bob really meant, he obviously hasn't listened to any of the cross-dresser's speeches during the Cold War or the 60s and 70s.

  5. Don't liberals know that racial injustice and discrimination were solved by Dr King over fifty years ago? It's gone...poof!

    1. 2:06, no doubt there's still plenty of racial injustice in this country. However, IMHO focusing on racial injustice isn't the best way to advance black causes. I think there's more to gain by encouraging blacks to take advantage of opportunities.

      One example is the unfortunately popular idea that doing well in school is to be discouraged, because it's acting white. A quick glance shows that this is a controversial belief. Some claim it's a myth. I know it's true, because my half-black cousins experienced this problem in their integrated schools in Englewood, NJ.

      Past black heroes who dealt aspects of Jim Crow certainly deserve to be celebrated. But, I would like black children to know that the country's leading conservative intellectual is black. I'd like them to know that a field of advanced mathematics was co-invented by a black.

    2. Nobody gives a fuck about the leading conservative "intellectual" - an oxymoron - except you former John Birchers.

    3. black is an adjective that modifies a noun, unless you are referring specifically to the color black.

      It is incorrect to refer to "a black" and comes across as demeaning. You should always say "a black person" so that you remember that black people are PEOPLE not colors.

      According to your theory, that black intellectual should get along just fine without anyone pointing out that he is black. I would like black children to form a more empathetic world view so I would prefer that they read intellectuals that foster better values and not read people just because they are African American. Although it is also a worthwhile lesson to know that someone isn't good or bad by virtue of skin color and what better way to learn that than using examples like Clarence Thomas.

    4. “But, I would like black children to know that the country's leading conservative intellectual is black.”

      Scott Baio is black?

    5. " ...IMHO focusing on racial injustice isn't the best way to advance black causes."

      But ignoring them is?

      And other than you and your fellow travelers, no one thinks African-Americans aren't trying to take advantage of opportunities, nor do they need any encouragement from your ilk to do so.

      However, your concern trolling is noted,

    6. " I know it's true,...."

      More nonsensical, self-reported, bullshit.

      So what if they know about an African-American math whiz or a leading African-American conservative? Is that supposed to round out their appreciation of African-American culture? On the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's death?

      All the while you're weeping crocodile tears about what "black children" supposedly don't know, you oppose practically every legislative and governmental policy that would provide them - and non-wealthy white children - with opportunity and hope in favor of increasing the wealth of the .001& of the 1% in perpetuity.

      You're a loon because you do this for fun.

  6. Anyone who claims to know anything about Dr King should read "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

    In it, he decries Birmingham's "white power structure." He calls the mayor and "Bull" Connor "segregationists." He said "Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily." and
    "groups tend to be more immoral than individuals." He also said "In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. "

    There is much more, but it illustrates Somerby's habit of mythologizing Dr King by disappearing important elements of his thinking.

  7. DinC, You are a lying sack of shit. Your cousins encouraged their children to not excel in order to not act "white"?
    you are a liar..

    1. AnonymousApril 4, 2018 at 7:44 PM - what a wrong guess! The three kids went to Princeton, Yale and Macalester College.

    2. More unverifiable self-reporting from the actuarial clown.

  8. You are a liar.
    Your hero Trump a liar and a thief.
    And Putin"s bitch.

  9. Trump is a liar and a thief.
    And Putin's bitch.

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  11. Somerby mostly remembers a vague thought upon hearing of the deaths of MLK and RFK: "the world was coming apart."

    That may have been the same thought people had in 1860 when they heard about the secession of the Southern states.

    At any rate, apparently our "current version" of the world is also coming apart, and "liberal and mainstream journalists have played a leading role in this undoing at least since 1992."

    It isn't clear if our current version of the world exists in a continuum with the one of 1968, according to Somerby's thesis. But only since 1992 have journalists and liberals apparently led the way in undoing it. Perhaps journalists and liberals were NOT leading the way in undoing it in 1968, when those tragic, earth-shattering events happened that Somerby, college-aged at the time, has, at best, vague recollections of.

    The sad fact is that the same dark forces that brought about the Civil War and the deaths of MLK and RFK, not to mention the years of slavery and racially motivated violence, much of which never made the front page, ...these dark forces were always with us, and always will be. 1992 is no special cutoff date. Blame "liberals", or "journalists" or even "conservatives" if you like...but it is a shallow and foolish notion. The important thing is to fight these forces and not to look for some convenient scapegoat.

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