Martin Luther King Jr.'s real message, Jonah Goldberg writes, was not racial justice but colorblindness, a mantle that has been taken up by today's conservatives.
Let's just assume for the sake of argument that colorblindness was King's guiding principle. We have seen a concerted effort to make it harder for minorities to vote, advanced under the nominally colorblind guise of preventing voter fraud.
Is that really what King was after? Thank God almighty North Carolina is free at last to disenfranchise black people?
Furthermore, the idea that colorblindness was King's point is fatuous. The dream may have been for everyone to be judged on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, but we needed the government to step in.
Goldberg, however, thinks that throwing off the yoke of oppression by the federal government — oppression that served mainly to prevent states from oppressing minorities — was the point.
Goldberg didn't cite this part of King's speech: "One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land."
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was as much about economic justice as civil rights. Goldberg is entitled to his beliefs, but he shouldn't distort "King's true message."
My favorite part of Goldberg's column on the "true message" of King's speech was when he suggested that conservative activists today are "champions of race neutrality" (regrettably, all current evidence to the contrary), while those who emphasized economic justice as well championed things that "never spoke to the hearts of all Americans."
Racial and economic equality continue to be battles because they don't speak to the hearts of all Americans.
Rancho Santa Margarita