Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is It Just Me?

There's been a bit of controversy over the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Much of it has been over the fact that a sculptor from China was selected for the honor of doing the work. In our area, as the memorial has been coming to fruition, there has been more controversy because most of the workers on it were brought from China, have been living in near sweat-shop conditions, and the project has meant very few local jobs in a city with high unemployment, especially among African-Americans.

But the Black-Chinese thing doesn't get me all uptight as much as looking at the actual memorial.  Have you seen a photo?

What does the body language of this sculpture say?  Crossed arms are a sign of

  • Defensiveness
  • Closed minded
  • Confrontation
My mental image of Dr. King is one of open arms, joy in dialogue, love in his every gesture.

If you go to Google Images and put in his name, you'll see MANY, MANY photos -- and maybe only one in this position. In fact, his photos are some of the least confrontational in body language that you'll see in a collection of a 20th century leader.

Is it just me?


Jingle said...

rare ...
quality of the art?
do the unemployed population qualify this job..

it is normal to have such controversy, best wishes for your day.

The amoeba said...

A few years ago, I attended a three-day workshop on the music of reggae idol Bob Marley. During the workshop, some of the less-reputable aspects of Marley's character came up ... and I became aware that these were being swept under the rug, so to speak. Marley was on his way to being the perfect King. (The survival of 2 Sam. 6-20, showing David as something less than perfect, is a major miracle of history; the Chronicler, quite intentionally, left this story out of Chronicles.)

I can't imagine King not taking poses such as this during some of his more strenuous confrontations with white authority. But they are inconsistent with the image that the deifiers are creating for him. Just as are Marley's thuggery and philandering ...

As for the Chinese. Why not? Their history of oppression in America is not altogether different from that of African-Americans. Nowadays, just about everything we have comes from there - in part from the continuation of that oppression (see 'sweatshops'). They may as well get a start at being the principal interpreters of our culture once it collapses and they take over.

quilly said...

Admittedly, King's stance with crossed arms isn't one that comes immediately to mind when I think of him, however it may have been chosen because of lack of funding. Crossed arms require less material than outstretched arms.

Also, while I don't approve of anyone living or working in near sweatshop conditions, I do find it an interesting, ironic and sadly unsurprising turn of events that said workers should suffer exactly what King opposed in order to honor him.