Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity to come together to celebrate freedom, equality, and what we can do together to defend democracy. After pressure from conservative shock jock Mark Belling, the Racine Unified School District has demonstrated a shocking and shameful display of cowardice in allowing his bullying to influence their support for MLK Day, organized by Youth Empowered in the Struggle, Voces de la Frontera, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Racine Education Association, among others.
Belling — who periodically fills in for Rush Limbaugh — is well known in Wisconsin for stirring up racial and class animus. In 2004, he was suspended for calling Latino voters “wetbacks.” In 2007, he said that “even moderate Muslims seem to hate all Jews,” and last year he raised suspicions about the opposition to the downtown Marriott hotel, noting that much of the “powerful opposition” was “Jewish.” In 2011 he called Wisconsin public school teachers “absolute lunatics” and said, “Most of them do not care about the children.” Only a few months ago, he referred to young African-American men as “the pigs of mothers who are too lazy to put their children in a crib.”
Is this who we want to influence our schools’ decisions on Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Isn’t he the exact opposite of what Martin Luther King Jr. Day is supposed to teach us to be? Nonetheless, that is who RUSD has chosen to listen to.
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