I think it is incredibly sad and pathetic how Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., trades on his name while fighting against everything he stood for. Where he was an advocate for justice and equality, she has been an enemy of it. At a 1997 protest rally against a bill to extend civil rights to gays and lesbians, she said:
“To equate homosexuality with race is to give a death sentence to civil rights. No one is enslaving homosexuals…or making them sit in the back of the bus.”
And during a 1998 speech at the University of North Carolina, she said:
“Homosexuality cannot be elevated to the civil rights issue. The civil rights movement was born from the Bible. God hates homosexuality.”
Now let’s compare that with what Martin and his wife, Coretta Scott King, have said on the subject. Here’s Coretta explaining her husband’s views (he didn’t speak much about it while alive because it wasn’t a big issue then):
For too long, our nation has tolerated the insidious form of discrimination against this group of Americans, who have worked as hard as any other group, paid their taxes like everyone else, and yet have been denied equal protection under the law…I believe that freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. My husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On another occasion he said, “I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible.” Like Martin, I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others…Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions.
Leonard Pitts expressed this view eloquently and brilliantly:
I know also that some folks are touchy about anything seeming to equate the black civil rights movement with the gay one. And no, gay people were not kidnapped from Gay Land and sold into slavery, nor lynched by the thousands. On the other hand, they do know something about housing discrimination, they do know job discrimination, they do know murder for the sin of existence, they do know the denial of civil rights and they do know what it is like to be used as scapegoat and bogeyman by demagogues and political opportunists.They know enough of what I know that I can’t ignore it. See, I have yet to learn how to segregate my moral concerns. It seems to me if I abhor intolerance, discrimination and hatred when they affect people who look like me, I must also abhor them when they affect people who do not. For that matter, I must abhor them even when they benefit me. Otherwise, what I claim as moral authority is really just self-interest in disguise.
Alveda King is using her connection to MLK to give her some moral credibility she does not deserve. She is bathing in the reflected glory of the man while simultaneously fighting against everything he stood for.
by Ed Brayton