Dead Ralph

Today's holiday, the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, always makes me think of my father. His birthday was the same as Dr. King's. He was a racist from a small coal town in Kentucky. Maybe I will come to a place of forgiveness before I die. Today I still call him dead Ralph. He died before the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday finally became official. He was dead before the idea was even suggested. I'm always happy to know he would have been unhappy. It is one thing to be a white person in this racist country and another one to feel no shame.  My dad was considered a funny man. Far too much of his humor depended on hurting others. Not funny. This is how I remember him; cruel imitations of homosexuals, women, blacks, etc. Put-down humor has been in my DNA. I try mightily to idenitfy this and change it in my life. For me this holiday is a kind of personally felt  justice, despite its mere symbollic nature in a time of renewed white supremecy and hate.

Update: Chris Hedges writes an insightful post today on how Dr. King stated his dream was becoming a nightmare.

"King's words have been appropriated by the people who rejected him in the 1960s," said Professor James Cone, who teaches at Union Theological Seminary in New York and who wrote the book Martin & Malcolm & America. "So by making his birthday a national holiday everybody claims him, even though they opposed him while he was alive. They have frozen King in 1963 with his ‘I Have a Dream' speech. That is the one that can best be manipulated and misinterpreted. King also said, shortly after the Selma march and the riots in Watts, ‘they have turned my dream into a nightmare.'"

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