Ah the bliss that is cable…If last night’s episode of the Boondocks in which Martin Luther King Jr. awakens from a 3 decade coma, had been on one of the broadcast networks, angry people would be out in the streets. But safely buried on cable in Cartoon Network’s late night Adult Swim block, I guess it can be safely forgotten. Well, I hope I’m wrong about that.
Besides, I have the feeling that the angry people in the streets would be black people calling for Aaron McGruder’s head in the same that many have been angered by Bill Cosby’s recent remarks. Why? Because he’s saying things that no one really wants to hear and pisses them off. In the episode, Dr. King awakens to an African America that has squandered the gains that he and others worked and suffered so much to obtain. Ultimately Dr. King makes a stinging, indicting speech that angers everyone, then leaves for Canada in disgust.
At no time in U.S. history have African Americans had so many opportunities, still many of us live in poverty or prison! And perhaps worst of all (on a personal level) many of us still refer to each other using what McGruder’s MLK referred to as the most detestable and hurtful word in the English language. Yes, there is still racism in the United States, but we simply cannot blame that anymore! We all know the formula for success consists of hard work, education, and working together. Sadly, I think my people are failing all three of these things.
So what is the solution? The solution is change. People have to decide for themselves that they want to change and the rest of us have to be willing to help them do it. But ultimately it begins with individual people deciding that the status quo is no longer acceptable.
After King’s stinging speech, people are shocked and angry, angry enough that they begin to change. In this fantasy, the people rise up and the revolution comes. It’s nice to dream, but it’s even more fun to build reality into what it should be.