I, for lack of a better description, am a prick. Asshole, douchebag and whatever else Kanye crooned off-key on his ode to decadent opulence. In my weird, quasi-narcissistic world however, I oddly believe that’s what Malcolm, Rosa, Emmett and everybody else who took either a bullet to the chest, high-pressure water hose blast to the face, canine fangs in the ass and/or a Paddy wacker to the skull would have wanted me to be: an individual possessing a free, uninhibited form of thought that remains unfettered due to the abolishment of Jim Crow laws, able to do, think and feel what I want within the legal boundaries.
So I can take amusement at the idea that, on a day meant to celebrate the life and times of one Martin Luther King, Jr. was seemingly created not only to honor the legacy of a man instrumental in the cultural blending of the country, corporations also use it to offer mediocre products at marked-down prices, or as an excuse for the friendly neighborhood strip club to offer two-for-$20 lap dance specials.
I’m enthralled with, if not entirely in grasp of, the ideal of capitalism. Shit, I’ve thought about buying the cheapest swap meet kufi, loading up on 24-packs of Costco water bottles and jetting down to Crenshaw and Slauson to sling the shits for a dollar to passersby. So seeing “MLK-inspired” specials at K-Mart and the local African bootlegger offering a deal for the products that line his quilt is just… amazing. It shows to me that, despite our cultural differences, people will still come together when and trample the ever-loving shit out of each other to grab that last Wii on the shelf.
Martin had a dream that his children would live in a color-blind nation. The reality is, we live in a society where we’re judged by the contents of our wallets. Who would have thought that capitalism would be the tie that binds?