ADMINISTRATOR’S CORNER: I Am Going to Tell You How Martin Luther King Jr. Would Think that Appropriating Black History to Make Your Point Is Racist
Georgetown is a thriving community of intellectual thought, and each day our environment presents us with new challenges. Some challenges may be building a big igloo out of sloppy joe meat and cornstarch in your office in Healy. Some challenges may be cutting a hole in the floor of your office to build a ginger ale moat around your sloppy joe igloo so your staff can’t get into your igloo to make you do stuff. And some challenges are having your igloo collapse on you and being stuck under a pile of sloppy joe meat for two weeks over Christmas break until someone comes back to work and pulls you out.
“These challenges” “are nothing” “new,” as Martin Luther King, Jr., once said. Yet I have been told nearly a month after the incident happened that a challenge we did not anticipate has appeared on our campus. During finals week, unbeknownst to most of us on campus, who were all surely busy studying and molding hamburger buns into the shape of polar bears and penguins, some students on Facebook were sent a link to an article in an online satire publication with the note that the article was offensive. And they became offended.
(This online satire publication should remain nameless. NOT because this online satire magazine makes fun of me and took a photo of me with my hand stuck in a honey jar that I don’t want people to see. Of course not.)
Anyway, this was shocking. The article comprehensively appropriated the most infamous and heinous historical wrongs that occurred in our country’s racial past in order to argue that racism still exists today. And I am writing to you today to tell you that I know Martin Luther King, Jr., would find this offensive. And that he wants you to come to our AWESOME annual event to prove to everyone how much Georgetown loves him and black people! And that he thinks I’m a cool guy. “That” Jack DeGioia “is a” “great” “man,” Dr. King once said.
One time Dr. King said “fierce urgency.” I don’t think he means “fierce” the way gay people use it. He means it in the way that anytime someone gets caught appropriating the Civil Rights Movement to make a point about racism, you should feel it is urgent to imply that Dr. King would agree with your condemnation of those people if he were alive today. People love Martin Luther King! I wish I could just deliver his speeches to people instead of trying to come up with my own words. I’ve tried this, like on the odd occasion I get invited to a cocktail party, but people don’t seem to like this. But I still use him as much as possible, because he should fit in EVERY situation.
The point is, Martin Luther King spent his life struggling against ignorance and oppression. Just like me. He died for things like equality, desegregation, and igloos made out of sloppy joes. And if he walked into my office today, he would cry because it is so beautiful how I am basically his living legacy. And because he agrees with everything I say. “You’re right,” he once said, obviously referring to me telling you this online satire publication is racist. Then he said “I had a dream” and his dream was about us playing laser tag and then eating big huge ice cream sundaes and not being able to sleep in the tent in the backyard that night because we were so high on sugar.
As we go forward as a campus community, we have to remember that Martin Luther King, Jr. fought against things like lynching and being hosed down by police because he did not want us to ever discuss these things ever again. He wanted us to forget them. Reading an article mentioning them in order to make the point that some are ignorant of their own racial ignorance should offend us, he would think, because we should never have to acknowledge them. “We should” “forget” “these things,” he once said. Certainly white writers and non-black writers should never mention the fact that these things happened because that automatically means they are exploiting black people. Elementary school history books are the worst offenders, by the way. It’s shocking to see repulsive books like these use historical images of KKK members.
And when challenges like these happen, it’s important to refer to Dr. King’s cachet as a civil rights martyr to make it seem like you are continuing his work.
“Jack” “is always” “right” “and also” “it is really” “cool” “that he” “only had to” “wait” “like” “a month” “to respond to this” “incident” “because he” “also got to” “promote his” “annual” “Martin Luther King” “celebration,” “which is” “on January 18” “and will be” “super” “awesome.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.