Steve Bannon claimed MLK would be proud of Trump. King's daughter shut him down.

Steve Bannon said that Martin Luther King Jr. “would be proud” of Donald Trump. Umm, what?

In predictable, reality-bending fashion, Trump’s former strategist and adviser Steve Bannon made a bold claim about how King would feel about Trump’s performance thus far in his presidency. Speaking to BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, he said, “If you look at the policies of Donald Trump, anybody ... Martin Luther King would be proud of him, of what he’s done for the black and Hispanic community for jobs.”

Maitlis clarified — somehow with a straight face — “You think Martin Luther King would be proud of Donald Trump as president?”


Bafflingly, Bannon charged straight ahead:

“You don’t think Martin Luther King would be proud? Look at the unemployment we had in the black community five years ago. You don’t think Martin Luther King would sit there and go ‘Yes, you’re putting young black men and women to work. There’s the lowest unemployment we’ve had in history. And wages are starting to rise among the working class. And you’ve finally stopped the illegal alien labor forces coming in and competing with them every day, and destroying the schools and destroying the healthcare.’ Absolutely.”

Mmm 'kay.

Before we get to what King’s daughter had to say about that, let’s quickly review those unemployment numbers.

Indeed, the black unemployment rate is the lowest it’s ever been. But that rate has been dropping steadily since the middle of Obama’s term as president. Bannon specifies the change in the rate from five years ago, but neglects to acknowledge that the vast majority of that drop happened under Obama.

Here's the government's own Bureau of Labor Statistics chart for black unemployment since 2008:

Black unemployment rate in the U.S. Graph via Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The same goes for Hispanic unemployment. Yes, it's the lowest it's been in 25 years, but it's also been steadily dropping since 2011:

Hispanic or Latino unemployment rate in the U.S. Graph via Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Trump’s policies have not created some kind of dramatic turnaround in unemployment — the trend is simply continuing. There have been no miracles performed here, unless you consider riding on someone’s economic coattails a miracle.

Now, on to King's response.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter Bernice shut Bannon down — real quick.

Bernice King, Martin Luther King Jr.'s youngest child, reacted to Bannon's interview, and let's just say she's not having it.

Bernice King shared this image on Twitter the morning after Bannon's interview. I imagine that's exactly the face she made when she saw it. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

"#SteveBannon has dangerously and erroneously co-opted my father's name, work and words," King wrote on Twitter. "Bannon's assertion that my father, #MLK would be proud of Donald Trump wholly ignores Daddy's commitment to people of all races, nationalities, etc. being treated with dignity and respect."

She then explained how her "father's concerns were not sectional, but global."

Screenshot via Bernice King/Twitter.

Setting the record straight on what her father actually would and wouldn't do, King wrote, "Further, he would not refer to people as 'illegal aliens.' The term is degrading and does not reflect his belief that we are all a part of the human family." She added that he'd never pit one group against another.

Screenshot via Bernice King/Twitter.

But she wasn't done. She called Bannon's comments "empty calories," and explained how her father would be "extremely disturbed" by the current political climate that emboldens people to "easily express and demonstrate cruelty, predominantly toward people of color and immigrants."

Screenshot via Bernice King/Twitter.

King capped off her commentary with how her father would actually view those unemployment numbers:

Screenshot via Bernice King/Twitter.

Well, there you have it, Mr. Bannon.

People of all political stripes try to mold Martin Luther King Jr. to fit their agenda. It's a problem.

While usually more subtle and less blatantly ridiculous than Bannon's assertions, people often choose small pieces of King's message to suit their narrative. But such simplification dishonors the man and his accomplishments. At the core, King was a radical humanitarian. He championed not only the black American, but the poor person, the immigrant, and every human being experiencing oppression and injustice.

Thank goodness for Bernice King's perspective in the age of cherry-picking MLK quotes and whitewashing his legacy. We need to keep defending truth and shut down those who try to bend reality to justify prejudice and fear-mongering.

True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less
@frajds / Twitter

Father Alek Schrenk is known as one of the "9 Priests You Need to Follow on Twitter." He proved his social media skills Sunday night after finding a creepy note on a parked car and weaving a lurid Twitter tale that kept his followers on the edge of their pews.

Father Schrenk was making his nightly walk of the church grounds to make sure everything was fine before retiring to the rectory, when he found a car parked by itself in front of the school.

Curious, he looked inside the car and saw a note that made his "blood run cold" attached to the steering wheel. "Look in trunk!" the note read. What made it extra creepy was that the two Os in "look" had smiley faces.

Keep Reading Show less