Every year at this time—due to the same internal clock that drives cicadas and the Phony War On Christmas—Fox “News” uses the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., to reinforce Right Wing Talking Points and Fox “News” memes. The practice reaches its height on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, which always falls on a Monday for the 3-day weekend. It’s a fascinating exercise in necropunditry: divining what MLK would think about current affairs, based upon readings—and sometimes misreadings—of what he said and wrote in his lifetime. The Foxy friends at Fox and Friends played host to two separate guests on Monday, both of whom knew precisely what Martin Luther King would think: Star Parker and MLK’s own niece, Alveda King.
One would think that Star Parker would have lost all credibility in speaking to the Black experience (despite her obvious pigment) when she claimed that Black family life was healthier during slavery. There was also the time she equated abortion and gay marriage to slavery and the Holocaust and said that God will judge us—despite her own four tax-payer funded abortions that helped her get to where is she is today. Everything one needed to know about Parker’s slant was contained in the introduction by Peter Johnson, Jr., that Knight of the Maltesers: “What is the message of Dr. King and how has it been perverted in your mind by American government since his death?”
Parker claimed that Martin Luther King, Jr., would be disappointed in his legacy, which is actually the first and last we heard of the slain Civil Rights leader until the very end of the interview.* Parker used the entire segment to beat her favorite drum, which is also the thesis of her book “Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It.” She contends President Lyndon Johnson’s (no relation) Great Society programs have kept Blacks in a “Welfare Plantation” dependency. Which allowed Peter Johnson to ask, “Should the African-American community be angry at the American government for subjecting them to this kind of dependency?”
Star Parker is the type of guest that Fox “News” loves: a Black person who can advance Right Wing Talking Points that White folk could never get away saying (that is until recent comments on the campaign trail by Newt Gingrich). In a column called “Dear White People: Stop Trotting Out Black People to Tell Us That Slavery Was Hella Sweet,” Angry Black Lady pegged Parker perfectly:
“Point is, the conservative nutbags realized that it is absolutely inappropriate for a white person to laud the virtues of black family life under slavery.
It’s much better if you get a black person to do it.
Enter Star Parker, right-wing nutjob and religious whackadoodle — who obviously has a deep-fried sneaker where her brain should be — to confirm what white folks have been saying all along, which is that black families arguably were healthier under slavery than they are today.”
* So we don’t forget in whose name this agitprop was spewed, Johnson wrapped the interview by saying, “Star Parker, thank you so much for being with us this morning as we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King. It’s good to see you.”
For her part, it’s harder to criticize Alveda King for paraphrasing her uncle. After all, she had contact with him. She was 17 years old when he was assassinated and, no doubt, he made as great an impression on her as he did on the nation. Yet it’s extremely hard to reconcile some of what Dr. Alveda King claims Dr. King would have thought with the Civil Right leader’s actual record. Alveda King previously came under criticism when she linked up with Glenn “Where Is He Now?” Beck and gave that huckster a respectable façade at a time he was being criticized for trying to usurp King’s legacy by holding his “Restore Honor” rally on the anniversary of King’s “I have a dream” speech. As Daniel Denvir wrote in Salon:
Loretta J. Ross, a black reproductive rights activist with the Atlanta organization SisterSong, says conservatives have recruited King “to be a front, to be a face … It’s a culture war wedge, to try to use gay rights and abortion as a way to build rifts in the black community.”
David Garrow, a civil rights movement historian at the University of Cambridge, said that Martin Luther King Jr. was unambiguously progressive.
“King was not only not a Republican, he was well to the left of the Democratic Party of the 1960s,” he said. “One could make a very strong case that King thought of himself as a democratic socialist. It’s also well-documented that Dr. King was a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood, and it’s well-documented that one of his five or six closest advisers, Bayard Rustin, was gay.”
Alveda King has something else in common with Star Parker: abortions, although she has only had half as many abortions as Parker. When these women had a choice to make, they both chose abortion. Whether one agrees with their decision, or not, it cannot be disputed that those decisions led them to become the women they are today. Yet, they would both deny other women from making the same painful choice for themselves.
Let’s face it: At its core MLK interpretation seems to be a lot like Bible interpretation. While it’s all based upon the same book, there have been plenty of different interpretations—resulting in bloodshed and wars over the years. The same seems true of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, without the wars and bloodshed (so far). Long after we are all dead and buried, people will still be twisting his words to support just about any side of just about any argument you can imagine. One thing that will never be in dispute: How much we all owe to the vision and leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr.