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The Way We See It - January 2006
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January 19, 2006 *updated Monday-Friday (unless it's a slow day)
The Boondocks Martin Luther King Jr Drops "the N Word" - 1:38 p.m.

I still have a dream, nukkas What if MLK had survived the assassination that evening in Tennessee? What if he was rushed to the hospital, fell into a coma and woke up 40 years later and observed how Al Sharpton is about as good as it gets when it comes to civil rights leaders in the African-American community?

What if he bought a Directv subscription, HD box and the latest wall mounted flat panel HDTV to go with it, flipped to BET and caught a glimpse of what soul music has morphed into? For sure he'd break out in song himself, singing, "What Da Phuk!?!"

"I had a dream once, it was a dream that little black boys and little black girls would drink from the river of prosperity, freed from the thirst of oppression. But lo and behold some four decades later what have I found but a bunch of trifling, shiftless, good for nothing niggers."
"And I know some you don't want to hear me say that word. It's the ugliest word in the English language." - Cartoon MLK

That's a quote from the latest Boondocks episode. Hmm, I'll assume that because it was about Martin Luther King Jr. in the same scenario I laid out: waking up from a coma and thang and, uh, minus the flat panel mess, had to embellish a little.

Having the highly exalted grand imperial Martin Luther King Jr. mouth the word "nigger", cartoon or not, is reason enough to get some attention. In the episode it's also said that MLK would be looked at as a traitor for doing so, by that I think Aaron McGruder, the Boondocks creator, means the way Bill Cosby gets slammed when he goes on his shiftless nigger rants.

ABC's Nightline had Aaron McGruder on to talk about the smack to Dr. King's face.

I only saw the MLK clip from this mini-interview, but from it my first thought was McGruder was just trying too hard to get attention, going for the shock value of the thing. But when you think about the scenario, it is a good question: what would happen if he hadn't died and woke up.. yesterday? What would he think about the condition of the black community?

For that matter what would Malcolm X think?

As far as him being looked at as a traitor for calling them [us] niggers? It really is the Bill Cosby analogy. There would be a tremendous backlash. If Al Sharpton did it, he'd be tackled and shaved bald. I don't know if MLK would get that frustrated though, he's too pro-active. He would gather a group of one hundred grannies and start pulling up pants one by one, hosing down street corners on some "this how they used to do it to us, now it looks like a good idea" and organizing one hundred thousand I Have A Dream Again marches, selling "Stop the Bullshit" t-shirts in sizes that fit on the side-streets.

Excerpts of the conversation follow: or check the video links wm - rm (thanks Sniper)


Mr. McGruder you have Martin Luther King saying the N word, it's going to be highly offensive to many people. Why?

"Well, actually we had him say nigger. We don't use the N word on my show. (laughs) The story is about what if King didn't die, he goes into a coma, he comes out around 2000 and it's largely about his frustration with the country as a whole and his people specifically. And by the end of the episode he is driven to the point where he has to use the word."

Are you concerned that you've caused offense?

"You know, I think it comes with the territory of being a satirist. We don't intend to, but we're a show that comes on, on cable at 11 PM and it's kind of our job to be out there on the edge. I think certainly there's language that's potentially going to offend people, but the points are there and to me I think they justify the language."

Your conclusion is that if MLK returned today he would be received.. How?

"Well.. as a traitor. I don't think his philosophy or even his character would really work in a modern context. I don't even think he would talk fast enough to be able to be interviewed on television. Cause you know, everything is so fast nowadays so I just think that he wouldn't fit in. And that's kind of what the episode is about. We sort of explore him, feeling a bit distraught about where things have come and we examine really what America would think of him if he were alive today."

You're rough on the African-American community as well and sort of many of them walking away from the dream.

"I think in the episode King is critical of our apathy and our inactivity. I think we carry the blame of our own apathy and inactivity. We sort of deserve to take a look at that and be honest about it... Ultimately even though King comes down very hard on the black community it inspires them to action.

So on this day of celebrating MLK, how do you remember him?

"You know Martin Luther King gave his life for a struggle, whether or not we necessarily agree with is philosophy of non-violence or not, he died for what he believed in. And we're here talking which is proof of his bravery over ours. So I think, that's how I think about him."

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SAKINA - (Jan 19th 2006, 04:32 PM)
I loved the episode.. I thought it was funny although I thought having MLK go out as a traitor was a tad bit too extreme though.. but other than that it was funny.. especially with him watching BET after dark..I wonder if there will be a protest about this though.. too bad boondocks doesn't come on earlier !!
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