One of the most fascinating and confusing aspects of modern American society is the propagation of Black civil rights icons, followed immediately by a subsequent disregard of what and whom they were actually fighting against.

We call these legendary activists heroes and talk nonstop about their endless courage in the face of abject brutality, yet we casually ignore who was doing the brutalizing, making their resistance so brave. We’ve already seen our civil rights heroes be re-framed by American society as affable, docious and well-mannered negroes. But today, in two separate instances, we’ve witnessed something slightly different but equally insidious: the enormity of our giants being smothered.

First, this (now-deleted) tweet from USA Today

This is insulting on many fronts—possibly too many to truly delve into—and this type of headline and article should have never seen the light of day. In fact, it’s the type of article that most likely would never see the light of day in a newsroom with experience, academic brilliance and diversity.

Creating that piece based off the nonsensical rantings of a poorly-informed lawyer only reduces the legacy of Rosa Parks from a brave, career activist who battled all manners of racism and sexism while knowingly staring down violent bigotry, to a sweet lady who was unjustly removed from one bus at a point in time. She was a heroine in every sense of the word and Dr. Dao, who was unfortunately accosted, isn’t in her class in activism or audacity.

Dao was trying to go home, Rosa Parks was trying to free an oppressed people.

It’s no damn contest.

But, not to be outdone, Jeffrey Lord, Trump’d the USA Today Twitter headline by comparing Donald Trump’s threat to stop Obamacare payments to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s attempt to bring equality to oppressed African-Americans.

Apparently, in Lord’s mind, Trump issuing this unilateral threat, which could have ramifications such as causing insurers to pull out of the Obamacare marketplace and ultimately hurt families looking for affordable healthcare, is synonymous to a Black man devoting his life to nonviolent activism in order to bring true equality to marginalized African-Americans.

Truthfully, it would be pointless to fully explain how irresponsible and unintelligent that truly is, but the fact that he comfortably said it on live, nationwide television is telling insofar as it reveals how little he actually respects Dr. King’s legacy. It’s disgusting to take a pro-Black icon and compare the best of him to the living embodiment of everything he lived to fight against and the thing that actually killed him.

Our icons are not yours—our anyone else’s for that matter—to disrespect, dismantle and dispose. Unless a person is devoting their life to battle inequality by putting life and limb at great risk, do NOT use them as a prop for your analogy. And even if that person does exist, laud them on their own and leave our legends the hell alone.

Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site, ThisIsYourConscious.com. He’s author of the book, “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer.” He can be reached on Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at Lincoln Anthony Blades.



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