The cover art of next week’s New Yorker as drawn by Barry Blitt depicts Martin Luther King Jr. marching arm in arm with Eric Garner and NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu. In the background, we see Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and an American Flag.
I have several issues with this drawing. The first is, why is all the color removed from the people in the picture? Before Captain Facts or any other member of the #WellActually justice league can jump in my comments, let me say that I get what the artist may have intended, but the fact is, the murders of Garner, Martin, and Brown all had a basis in the fact that they were black, so removing their color in this drawing, in my opinion, is an attempt the erase the part that race/color played in their deaths.
Adding Dr. King to the picture could be considered a nice touch, and it definitely goes along with the theme of the article, but why is it that Dr. King is invoked so much by white people these days? When he was alive they wanted him to shut up. Now his name and memory are shouted from the mountaintops anytime anyone wants the angry black people to calm down. Please stop invoking the name, memory, and image of Dr. King as a means of trying to instill docility and quiet the righteous anger of black people in America. Dr. King was killed while demonstrating nonviolent resistance, so using him as a tool against the very people he was championing is more than a little insulting.
Why is Wenjian Liu even in this picture? The NYPD shooting was an isolated incident that had nothing to do with the deaths of Brown, Garner or Martin, so why is there this concerted effort by the media to rewrite the narrative and put them together? This is yet another version of #AllLivesMatter, which is in and of itself and attempt to water down the importance and significance of the movement that is happening in this country right now to save black lives.
This is not a Kumbaya moment. We are not going to emerge from this holding hands and singing gospel songs together. We are in the fight of our lives, and we demand the recognition of our humanity and our person-hood. Understand that until the genocide of black people in this country stops, the revolution will continue.
Here is what the artist had to say about his cover art for the New Yorker:
Barry Blitt drew next week’s cover, inspired by the photographs of the Selma-to-Montgomery march that are everywhere again. “It struck me that King’s vision was both the empowerment of African-Americans, the insistence on civil rights, but also the reconciliation of people who seemed so hard to reconcile,” he said. “In New York and elsewhere, the tension between the police and the policed is at the center of things. Like Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, Martin Luther King was taken way too early. It is hard to believe things would have got as bad as they are if he was still around today.”