There’s a lot of reverent (no pun intended) talk today about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. Bill Maxwell in his 2003 St. Pete Times column even went so far as to castigate those who don’t speak in appropriately respectful tone of the slain civil rights leader.
One of the people Maxwell was unhappy with is comedian Chris Rock, who has made a habit of invoking Dr. King in often less than respectful vein:
Now there’s alot of talk about the people of Arizona being racist. So I went to see for myself, I went to Arizona and I’m walking through the streets of Tucson pushing my little baby brother in a stroller when a white woman comes up to the baby, smiles and says ‘Boy what a pretty niglet.’ Now if you don’t like black people, that’s one thing, but what I can’t understand is why people in a hot-ass desert town like Tucson, Arizona wouldn’t want a day off work. It’s not like you have to do something black on that day. You don’t have to read Ebony magazine, you don’t have to watch Soul Train, all you have to do is not work. Now if this was an Elvis holiday, they’d take that off. It would be like another Christmas. With big fat white guys coming down chimneys with Elvis jumpsuits on, giving out preyludes. Now, everybody doesn’t get Martin Luther King’s birthday off, even the states that celebrate, some people still have to work. Now one group that never have to work are prisoners. Criminals. Every criminal in every jail get’s the day off work, which means even James Earl Rey, the man who killed Martin Luther King gets the day off. He’s so crazy, he’s probably walking around prison saying, “Everybody gets the day off today and nobody even bothered to thank me. ” Now what Arizona needs to do is give Dr. King somebody else’s holiday. There are so many holidays we celebrate every year that mean nothing.
Like Columbus Day. Nobody celebrates Columbus Day, nobody puts three ships in their front yard. First of all, Columbus discovered the West Indies. Second of all, the land he discovered had occupants on it. That’s like discovering someone’s back yard. All Columbus did was discover a West Indian back yard. He got his little flag and said “I claim this land for Spain.” And the West Indians are like, “Hey, Mon, get your darn flag off me lawn now. Move it now!”
So Arizona, get your act together and hail the King! Thank you very much.
And there was his infamous joke that if a friend called you and told you he was lost on Martin Luther King Blvd, you should tell him to run. Personally, I think Chris Rock honors Dr. King with his jokes. I said, I think.