by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr.
Guest Editor of the January-February 2012 issue of Ministry Today, with the theme of Social Transformation
On Oct. 16, the new memorial for Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) was finally completed. There was only one problem with the work: The wrong words were carved on the statue. The tone of the phrase misrepresented "the spirit" of the fallen leader. After a huge controversy, the memorial leadership decided to change the writing on the statue.
This change was legitimate. Unfortunately, an illegitimate expression occurred this past week. Politico reported that Tavis Smiley had been disinvited from the 20th annual MLK luncheon, hosted by the Peoria Civic Center. Why? Mr. Smiley has said publicly that President Obama had not done enough for black Americans, which, according to the center, upset some people. He was replaced by reliable liberal Michael Eric Dyson.
In later interviews, Mr. Smiley noted that only a small handful of the 1,500 ticket holders for the event complained about his comments, resulting in his ouster from the luncheon. He also made it clear that he supports President Obama, but as a journalist feels obligated to hold him accountable for his actions in office. While I may disagree with Mr. Smiley on some issues, I certainly agree that his honest appraisal of President Obama's performance should not disqualify him from speaking at a luncheon honoring Dr. King.
In fact, Smiley's dismissal from the event dishonors Dr. King's legacy of holding all political leaders accountable for their actions and judging people based on their character, rather than their skin color. As I have written before, this is yet another example of the totalitarian attempts at thought control by leaders in the black community who purport to speak for Dr. King and African-Americans in general. We blacks who refuse to kowtow to the extreme left are not only disinvited from events, but often publicly excommunicated from our own race. read more