David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

Inappropriate, yet oddly appropriate

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed today, and with it comes time to reflect on how some things change, and how some things don't.

At 7:55 AM on Saturday -- the day before yesterday -- weekend weatherman Rob Blair (KTNV-TV, Las Vegas) said, "For tomorrow, 60 degrees, Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Day, gonna see some temperatures in the mid-60s." He added, about 20 minutes later, "Apparently I accidentally said Martin Luther Kong Jr., which I apologize about -- slip of the tongue."

Some may remember that an identical "slip of the tongue" was made on national television in 1965. The speaker was Joe Smitherman, then mayor of Selma, Alabama. (You can see Smitherman's politically calculated insult for yourself in the PBS documentary series "Eyes on the Prize.")

In 1965, the man who said "Martin Luther Coon" was an elected public official. He was popular, and praised, and re-elected. In 2005, the guy who said it was a local weekend weatherman -- the bottom of the barrel in his profession -- and was forced to sit front and center on the 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM newscasts, where coolly professional anchorwoman Christina Brown, who is black, threw him the cue for his grovelling apology. After that, he was fired.

And in 2005, everyone recognizes that segregation, against which King spoke so powerfully, is a moral evil.

Well. Almost everyone.

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