Permission to protest ‘freely’

I had a dream that MLK gave a speech in 2020. But it wasn’t history’s MLK. It was MLK as reimagined by those who have attempted to usurp his legacy in the mistaken belief that they embody his objectives better than those who marched with him. You know the type. The speech went something like this:
I have a dream that one day, a Committee of certain white* Americans will rise up and spell out the true meaning of their creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Black people must fill out an application to obtain Committee approval before protesting anything.
I dream that little white hands will hold little black pens to “check here” when a Black man or woman makes too much money to protest against injustice, or “check there” when they make too little money to protest against injustice, or “check like so” when they make just enough money that they should not protest against injustice because there’s violence in Chicago. The Committee will decide what cause the Black man and woman may embrace, when the Black man and can embrace it, and most importantly, how the Black man and woman can express their embrace of the approved cause. I have a dream today!
I have a dream that every Black demonstration against injustice shall be vetted by the Committee of the very elite power structure we are demonstrating against, so that They, and They alone, may confer upon us the legitimacy of our cause, grant each of us Their gracious permission to take up that cause, and bestow upon us Their most merciful validation of how we choose to protest, so long as Black-on-Black crime no longer exists.


Let freedom ring in the privacy of our homes where no one has to hear us.

Let freedom ring in our cars with our hands on the steering wheels where they can be seen at all times.
Let freedom ring behind closed doors where we need not be seen.
Let freedom ring in our silent prayers to the Lord for righteousness, so long as no one but the Lord can hear those prayers.
Let freedom ring in the pampering and comfort that the white Committee feels when we demonstrate in ways, times and places that They approve, which is to say, of course, when we don’t demonstrate at all. Because after all, the Black people’s need to have their cry for justice heard and acted upon is subservient to the Committee’s need to feel tingly inside when a particular song plays.
Let freedom ring in the right time and the right place at the behest of the right people with the white… I mean right social standing to put Black men and women in their place.
Let. Freedom. Ring. In. Glorious. Silence.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, one line from one of my speeches will be elevated above all others, and when it is invoked by the white Committee, it will be for the exclusive purpose of silencing those whose voices and cries for justice I sought to amplify at the cost of my very life.
And when this happens, when Black men and Black women know their place and speak when the white Committee lets them, how the Committee lets them, let’s be honest, IF the Committee lets them, then all of us will be able to stand up…
I said stand up…
Hey, Boy, I said stand up, you uppity son of a b****!
And sing in the words of the greatest song of all time:
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free!
And the home
Of the
* is a disclaimer necessary? This criticism is aimed at the conduct of a type of person, regardless of race and apellido.

Published by Olmeda

At-large director on the national board of the Society of Professional Journalists. Former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and of UNITY: Journalists of Color. An extreme moderate, not committed to political ideology. Stepfather to two wonderful daughters. Father to two wonderful sons. Husband. Rogue karaoke singer. Humanist

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