The unfortunate truth is that America’s public schools will never teach its students, especially Black students, about the activities, motivations, and sacrifices of the real Dr. Martin Luther King. I place the current version of Dr. King taught in public schools in the same category as Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs. Fairy tale Dr. King is the creation of White educators who want to safely package Dr. King’s humanitarian work between “once upon a time” and “they all lived happily ever after.”
If you do not believe that there is a fairy tale Dr. King, visit your local elementary school during their obligatory King Day celebration, which usually occurs around the third Monday in January or any day convenient for teachers in the month of February. The book reports, drawings, and stories about fairy tale Dr. King will define him as a preacher who was simply trying to get people of different colors to love each other as brothers and sisters. During that celebration of fairy tale Dr. King, the following words will never be heard or seen: police brutality, Whites only, or assassination. If those words are used, that means a big bad wolf exists in the world of fairy tale Dr. King. And then we must ask ourselves, who is the big bad wolf trying to devour, – fairy tale Dr. King?
Bishop Desmond Tutu died the day after Christmas at the age of 90. There is not enough room on this page to celebrate Bishop Tutu’s transformative activism. His passing was the front page story of media outlets around the world, but in most of the coverage, the following words were noticeably absent: White supremacy and racism. Sixty of his 90 years of life were spent under the oppressive laws of the apartheid government in South Africa, a big bad wolf that exploited, imprisoned, and murdered thousands of Black South Africans.