“Have we all become too lazy to Google to verify the sources of ideas and statements we read in the paper or hear on the media? We may disagree, but let’s do better in substantiating our points.”

It is hard to know where to begin to address the extent to which a recent Opinion piece entitled “Dr. King and DEI” in the Post on 1/11/24 is fraught with faulty information and trigger language meant to tap into emotions, anger, and self-righteousness.

Let’s begin with the manipulative use of the popular, but unfortunately romanticized quote of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “ my four little children… will not be judged by the color of their skin” spoken in 1963. Dr. King’s eloquence is undeniable; yet, it is continually manipulated — yes! by white people — to uphold the inculcated delusion that celebrating Black History for one month out of the year means that we — yes! we white people at the helm of this great ship of what is itself a Dream — that we have striven for and reached the DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) so denigrated in the Opinion piece.

I suggest that the readers look up MLK’s regretfully unpublished last speech entitled “Why America May Go to Hell.” This was his speech on the realities of poverty and the gap between white and Black incomes, reflected in the lack of opportunities — or the manipulation of methods by which Blacks were deemed qualified for jobs. Alas, he was assassinated the day before he was to make it.

The Heritage Foundation appears to be the source for the disinformation about Black Lives Matter. It is clear that the writer of the Opinion piece hasn’t studied Marxism, but rather has fallen prey to the bogeyman generalizations that incite the fearful to action. Now, since 2016 and thanks largely to Donald Trump, it is one of many bogeymen not to be studied (heaven’s no) but rather to be illustrated on a flag and waved as the ultimate threat to our American way of life.

So, what does the evolution and mass support of BLM mean now? “The project started with a mission “to build local power and to intervene when violence was inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. … In the years since, we’ve committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic and political power to thrive….We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable https://rb.gy/alunui.” This seems to me to be the exact “starting in the home” that we are always asking of Black people.

BLM is fluid and strong. Perhaps that Black strength is what the Opinion (and Heritage Foundation) is afraid of. I suggest that an actual conversation with some BLM members/supporters is in order. I might ask them, what are the “prior standards” you wish to change and why? Perhaps they didn’t adequately serve the needs of the Black population. To categorically state that BLM stands in direct opposition to King’s teaching is to throw the gauntlet of vague accusation followed by other equally vague accusations about “worming” their way into schools and organizations. What does that even mean? And where is the actual proof of that statement? It means that no direct interaction with BLM members has taken place; no actual facts or quotations offered. Ask yourself some deeper questions about meritocracy — if the playing field is not now, or ever has been, level? Have you ever engaged in the “One step forward, one step back exercise” to determine your level of privilege? If not, look it up and try it with a group of your friends.

Have we all become too lazy to Google to verify the sources of ideas and statements we read in the paper or hear on the media? We may disagree, but let’s do better in substantiating our points. And one last thing: if you don’t know what cultural appropriation is, please read up on it, and then ask yourself if you, or anyone you read or talk with has the right to state what does or does not contradict Dr. King’s beliefs or teachings.

Whitney Peckman