MTV Will Broadcast in Black and White in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Common Discusses Race Relations with MTV for Martin Luther King Day (VIDEO).

You see, the distance between where I grew up, where I come from in the world, and where many of you sit is significant. “Our aim is to jar audiences into having what we’re calling ‘The Talk’ – candid, confident and ‘color brave’ conversations on race and bias,” a MTV rep tells PEOPLE.Viacom’s MTV said its programming would appear in black and white on Monday, January 19, in an effort to generate talk about racial issues on Martin Luther King Day. “Our audience is looking for a way to bring the national conversation on race into their homes and this campaign will give them a forum to express true color bravery,” said Stephen Friedman, president of MTV, in a statement. Throughout the day, every commercial block will begin with personal reflections on race from familiar faces including Selma director Ava DuVernay, the film’s star David Oyelowo, rappers Kendrick Lamar and Big Sean, singer Jordin Sparks, rocker Pete Wentz, Sen. So I consider it an especially pressing duty to be mindful of my journey; and, when possible, to remind others that such a journey is just that for some of us — a setting out without a clear sense that we will get where we intend to go.

The broadcast event is the latest initiative to come out of MTV’s Look Different anti-bias campaign, which promotes dialogue about race, gender and sexuality. The campaign partnered with NAACP and other civil rights groups last summer to create commercials after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Cory Booker and more. “America and race relations – we have to acknowledge it,” Common says in the video. “I think everybody overall wants the same results and that’s a better place, a place where everybody can just connect and not worry about like what color this person is or what their religion is.” “MLK today means hope. … He means love,” Common continues. “He means a human being that has shown us that we can not only be heroes but that we are people an we can do great things.” The project also aired a special segment called Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, in which the Orange Is the New Black actress took viewers inside the lives of transgender youth. Lewis, one of the student leaders working with King, suffered a skull fracture when Alabama state troopers, sheriff deputies and possemen wielding bullwhips, clubs and tear gas advanced on the marchers on the outskirts of Selma. “We thought what better day than MLK Day to really use, not only the history and the power of what Dr.

King said with the “I Have a Dream” speech, but hear it from artists, political leaders and the audience to really spark a national conversation,” Friedman said. Especially, Friedman says, when viewers will be encouraged to start these conversations after watching segments of Cory Booker discussing how race has affected his ability to date, Kendrick Lamar talking about his conversations with his father on prejudice or listening to David Oyelowo talking about the bias he confronts every day by being in an interracial marriage. “We hope it will be a stark and eye-opening moment to understand on one level how far we’ve come, but also to hear from national figures how much things have not changed and how far we need to go,” Friedman said. “I think the audience will be surprised.” According to the research, many millenials were raised to believe they should treat everyone the same, and not acknowledge racial differences and other cultural distinctions.

I think it goes without question that not only has the idea of a post-racial America proven to be a myth, but that racial inequality remains a tragic mark on the character of this otherwise great nation — a nation founded on respect not only for what persons hope to accomplish in life but for what they are: humans owed rights, liberty and respect because of their humanity. While he indeed fought for the security of a full schedule of rights for black Americans, he was in fact fighting for something greater and more difficult to articulate — the hope that white Americans could extend a hand of brotherly and sisterly love to blacks. It is true, there was a time when to pronounce on the equality of all men and women, regardless of color, was not only disallowed but also treacherous territory, as Dr. The actions of these Americans were deeply honorable, for they faced down the expectation that social power imposes upon us at all times — to stay the course rather than to agitate for change; to take comfort in small moral affirmations in the presence of our peers rather than to challenge the staid beliefs of the privileged.

But one wonders what to make of this conviction today as segregation not only remains alive and well in many parts of America’s neighborhoods and schools, but is also in some cases worsening. King’s perspective his faith — and that’s what is was, faith — was in ways warranted: He watched a movement to claim for blacks equal status grow into one of American history’s most momentous movements and stand down centuries of white supremacy. The fact that 53 years later neither segregation nor discrimination have been eliminated indicates the eagerness with which white Americans have adopted the idea that securing racial justice was a matter of the passing of a law and the martyrdom of a great man. You may think that these days are long past but consider the case of Ferguson, Mo., — a city of 21,135 people, predominantly black, that served 32,975 arrest warrants for nonviolent offenses in 2013.

This remarkable level of surveillance and interdiction incidentally generated for Ferguson more than $2.5 million in revenue from fines and court fees — the city’s second largest source of revenue. In a nation where blacks possess only on average a dime of wealth for every dollar of white wealth, how is this reclamation of scarce resources anything but the continuation of oppression by other means, the reduction of blacks to instruments of economic necessity and exploitation? I am concerned that his statement is sometimes taken to hold a view of historical necessity — that oppression has a shelf life, that marginalization has an expiration date. A life of civic goodness is always near enough, but we must often stretch to fully grasp it — to merely see it and praise it from the comfort of self-congratulatory appreciation is empty and a disappointment to better moral sensibilities.

I would have greatly preferred to present thoughts more joyous than these, but joy in a time of injustice is a very great luxury, one indulged in by either the willfully blind or the callously indifferent. Chris Lebron is an assistant professor of African-American studies and philosophy at Yale University and the author of “The Color Of Our Shame: Race and Justice in our Time.”

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