By Michelle Alexander,
It’s that time of year again, when we hear Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches in 10 second clips, the same clips that get recycled on an annual basis now — radical proclamations that have been reduced over the years to mere platitudes. His booming voice declares that he’s been to the mountaintop and has glimpsed the promised land. He has a dream, he says, and his voice soars.
During this year’s Black History Month, like last, we will be treated to celebrations of Obama’s presidency — the ultimate symbol, we are told, of America’s triumph over its ugly history of discrimination, exclusion, and racial caste. This is a time to rejoice, it is said, though we still have a long way to go.
That is the dominant racial narrative today among those who claim to care about racial justice: Look how far we have come, but yes we still have a long way to go.