Trinity speaker says take all or nothing when idolizing Martin Luther King Jr.

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Tim Wise, anti-racist essayist, author and educator, speaks on "The Legacy of Dr. King and Today's Civil Rights Struggles" during the annual MLK Jr. Commemorative Lecture Thursday at Trinity University's Laurie Auditorium.  Photo by Cynthia M. Herrera

Tim Wise, anti-racist essayist, author and educator, speaks on “The Legacy of Dr. King and Today’s Civil Rights Struggles” during the annual MLK Jr. Commemorative Lecture Thursday at Trinity University’s Laurie Auditorium. Photo by Cynthia M. Herrera

Civil rights icon would give ‘props’ to today’s young activists.

By Cynthia M. Herrera 

sac-ranger@alamo.edu 

Americans should consider Martin Luther King Jr. as a whole person and role model rather than only taking pieces of him — such as his “I have a dream” quote — that are applicable to racially charged cases such as Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, said an anti-racist essayist, author and educator Jan. 15 at Trinity University’s Laurie Auditorium.

Tim Wise was the guest speaker for Trinity’s annual MLK Jr. Commemorative Lecture, “The Legacy of Dr. King and Today’s Civil Rights Struggles.”

Wise spoke on King’s birthday, which will be celebrated as a federal holiday Monday. He described the many versions of King everyone remembers, whether it be young adults that learned about him in school, or those who actually witnessed the civil rights movements.

He said many individuals — such as Michelle Obama’s staff, who sent out a mass email quoting King to Wise and other recipients — take King’s speeches out of context.

Wise said they should listen to the whole speech to understand what King was implying.

Too often King’s supporters “conceal King in a glass case,” only to dust off his ideals when suitable.

“Dr. King would have given props to young folks doing amazing work,” Wise said in reference to speaking out and protesting on race issues.

“Black and browns have got to stick together. Black folks have to learn the Chicano struggle, Latino folks have to learn the black struggles, both have to learn the Asian-American struggle, we all better learn the struggles of our Muslim brothers and sisters right now. Whatever ethnicities … all of them are going to have to learn one another’s struggles.”

Wise has been speaking to audiences for the past 20 years in all 50 states and at over 1,000 college and high school campuses. He has also spoken at many professional and academic conferences across the country and internationally. Wise has made regular appearances on CNN and MSNBC.

He is the author of six books, including his two latest, “Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority” released in 2012 and “Color-Blind” released in 2010.

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