We have settled into the “nice” Martin Luther King version that keeps us comfortable and giving a nice nod to a day that celebrates him.
Here is the Dr. King we, as whites, would rather not highlight:
“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn. The reality of substantial investment to assist Negroes into the twentieth century, adjusting to Negro neighbors and genuine school integration, is still a nightmare for all too many white Americans…These are the deepest causes for contemporary abrasions between the races. Loose and easy language about equality, resonant resolutions about brotherhood fall pleasantly on the ear, but for the Negro there is a credibility gap he cannot overlook. He remembers that with each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash.”
— Where Do We Go From Here: 1967
And if you don’t understand that last sentence, then you decided to sleep through 2020 and 2021. Those two years represent precisely what Dr. King wrote in 1967.