In an interview with CNN, former Arkansas Gov. and current presidential Republican contender Mike Huckabee shared his thoughts on how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would “be appalled by” the Black Lives Matter movement.
“It’s not that any life matters more than another,” he explained. “That’s the whole message I think that Dr. King tried to present, and I think he’d be appalled by the notion that we’re elevating some lives above others.”
Condemning the Black Lives Matter movement, Huckabee stated, “So I understand how people have great passions, but I also understand that the way you begin to resolve them is you do it by loving people and treating people with dignity and respect, and you don’t do it by magnifying the problems; you do it by really magnifying the solutions.”
However, Dr. King’s son, Martin Luther King III, wasn’t so sure about Huckabee’s assessment.
“I was perplexed by the comments,” he said in an interview last week, “but people attempt to use dad for everything.”
“I can’t imagine how anyone could say that he would be incensed that Black Lives are doing what they are doing,” he added. “The reality is what Black Lives Matter are raising as an issue is an issue.”
King was not the only one who saw Huckabee’s comments as a misrepresentation of Dr. King’s beliefs. MSNBC Host Janet Mock provided an in-depth analysis of Huckabee’s comments and their flaws this past Sunday on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show.
“In addition to dismissing Black Lives Matter, you also misrepresented one of the greatest champions of Civil Rights to assist in your attempt to silence the very people and ideas that he fought to protect, and died to protect,” Mock said, “because yes, Martin Luther King Jr. was appalled by the notion that we are elevating some lives above others but you’re a little confused about the we he was talking about.”
Mock challenged Huckabee as well as the many others who have insisted that Dr. King would have disapproved of the Black Lives Matter movement and the riots that occurred in Ferguson and Baltimore. A common argument against the riots has been that Dr. King would have condemned the riots due to his continuous advocating for nonviolent protests and peaceful demonstrations all the way until his death. However, those who use this very broad understanding of Dr. King’s beliefs fail to acknowledge the points he made in his 1968 speech “The Other America,” all of which still resonate with today’s struggles faced by the Black Lives Matter activists:
But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.
The goals of the Black Lives Matter movement echo Dr. King’s assessment of riots as “the language of the unheard.” While Dr. King did not agree with resorting to violent tactics, he by no means encouraged activists to stand idly by and not take action.
Mock also cited Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech and explained its relevance to the Black Lives Matter movement: “Dr. King wouldn’t have to look very far to find familiarity with today’s young activists in their struggle and the words of their critics,” she went on. “After all, it was the same kind of violence they are fighting that king referenced when he wrote, ‘There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, ‘when will you be satisfied’ We can never be satisfied as long as the negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.'”
Rather than “be appalled by” the Black Lives Matter movement and all of its work, according to Mock, Dr. King’s words exemplify his struggle with the very same issues that haunt the Black Lives Matter activists decades after he wrote them.
To conclude her segment, Mock provided a quote Dr. King wrote following the Watts riots that occurred in Los Angeles in 1965: “When there is rocklike intransigence or sophisticated manipulation that mocks the empty-handed petitioner, rage replaces reason.”
And how would Dr. King feel about the Black Lives Matter movement today According to Martin Luther King III, “I think my dad would be very proud of young people standing up to promote truth, justice and equality.”