There’s a reason white conservatives tend to discuss race relations in America, and whatever it is they think Critical Race Theory is, in circles that are almost exclusively white and conservative. They know their weak-and-fragile-ass arguments will fall apart under the slightest bit of outsider scrutiny, so it’s best they just use the rhetoric to rally their dimwitted-ass base with no regard for truth.
As The Root previously reported, the Texas Senate recently passed new white fragility legislation allowing educators to opt out of teaching any history that makes America look bad (*gestures towards the bulk of American history*) and that white supremacy is “morally wrong.” Recently, the bill’s author, Republican Sen. Bryan Hughes, defended his legislation to appease washcloth-less haters during the special legislative session regarding the bill. And because caucasity is a boundless phenomenon, Hughes invoked the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in said defense, even though the legislation specifically allows educators to refrain from teaching MLK speeches.
In response, the late civil rights icon’s son, Martin Luther King III said—and I’m largely paraphrasing here—“I thinks TF not, my melanin-deficient friend. I’ma need you to fall the hell back.”
First, let’s start with what Hughes said.
“There’s been a movement called Critical Race Theory spreading across our country, into many of our schools in Texas, sadly teaching that we should judge a person by the color of their skin and not on the content of their character,” he said, the Texas Tribune reports. “It’s obviously the inverse of what Dr. King taught us, and what as Americans we strive toward.”
First of all, I already deaded this argument when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried it. Unlike CRT, MLK absolutely spoke on white racism in the context of white people at the individual level. I already pointed out that if you were to compile much of what MLK had to say in speeches and other writings—which it just so happens The Root did—white people would find that the compilation of Dr. King’s words is exactly what they wrongly think CRT is.
Anyway, let’s get to what King III had to say in response.
From the Tribune:
And Martin Luther King Jr.’s oldest son told The Texas Tribune that Hughes and other state lawmakers are taking his father’s words out of context to defend legislative attempts the late civil rights icon likely would have opposed.
“Yes, we should judge people by the content of the character and not the color of their skin — but that is when we have a true, just, humane society where there are no biases, where there is no racism, where there is no discrimination,” Martin Luther King III said. “Unfortunately, all of these things still exist.”
Many Democrats, especially those who are people of color, see GOP officials’ attempts to rewrite elections laws this year as another attempt to further marginalize people like them in the halls of power. It’s also another Texas bill that Martin Luther King III condemns, especially because it comes 53 years after his dad was killed and 56 since the Voting Rights Act.
“It’s gravely disappointing,” he said.
King III also pointed out that issues like the racial wealth gap indicate that racism in America is a systemic issue, which makes CRT necessary since it specifically deals in systems and institutions.
Of course, the teaching of American history honestly doesn’t have much to do with CRT, so it makes no sense that Texas’ new legislation and other bills like it are being pushed. And King III isn’t shy about calling the bill exactly what it is.
“This was a literal effort to whitewash history,” he said. “You literally have white women and men who are trying to whitewash, and really dramatically erase, what occurred in the history of our nation, and depriving all our children— that’s all children—of knowing what the true facts are, what true history was in our nation.”