Happy Birthday Dr. King…standing for my dream to be alive

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963 (More quotes).

I was doing 30 minutes on the treadmill gettin my sweat this morning on at the St. John’s Recreation Center in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, my new neighborhood (yes I can’t pretend I’m living in my beloved Bed-Stuy anymore). From a boombox in the cardio room, Hot 97 was being broadcast. It was about 10am. Hold on to your seat cuz’ here comes the set up for a tribute to Dr. King on his esteemed birthday.

The two male and female hosts (can’t call ’em DJs anymore) did this “YOU’VE JUST BEEN CRANKED” segment on this single mom followed by the most uncritical discussion polling the listening audience about whether men or women are worse at letting go in relationships. The conversation devolved when one of the male hosts suggested that more women than men are stalkers suggesting something along the lines of “when men stalk they are crazy but that stuff is natural for you all” meaning women. His evidence: Three men in his life have had women stalking them they haven’t been able to get rid of (what a sample!). I’ve been asking myself and my students as well as clients I work with to avoid generalizations but it is so much more damaging when broadcast to the public–uncritical thinking that is.
To close the segment the sister hosting gives a dear John shout out to some brother whom she says “LOSE MY NUMBER! PLEASE!” That’s the state of relationships between men and women. No intimacy whatsoever or negative intimacy aka gossip about others.

What was next? What does the female host transition into next without missing a beat?
“Today is Dr. King’s birthday…my absolute favorite quote is” and she paraphrases:

The reason I can’ t follow the old eye-for-an-eye philosophy is that it ends up leaving everyone blind

There was no sense that what had just preceded could in any way be connected, negatively or positively, to what Dr. King stood. Just making fun of violent tendencies and acts with NO facts or data sustantiating their talk about the opposite sexes. Fun and games just for a morning laugh. Hot 97 can’t even devote the entire day in Dr. King’s honor. Maybe Clear Channel doesn’t allow that kind of thing on black stations. I didn’t say black-owned.

So as I finished my workout I promised myself to make a post with some basic facts. I found these online. They are taken from the Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime.

  • 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men are stalked annually in the U.S.
  • 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime.
  • 77% of female victims and 64% of male victims know their stalker.
  • 87% of stalkers are men.
  • 59% of female victims and 30% of male victims are stalked by an
  • intimate partner.
  • 81% of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner are also physically assaulted by that partner.
  • 31% of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner are also sexually assaulted by that partner.
  • 73% of intimate partner stalkers verbally threatened victims with physical violence, and almost 46% of victims experienced one or more violent incidents by the stalker.
  • The average duration of stalking is 1.8 years.
  • If stalking involves intimate partners, the average duration of stalking increases to 2.2 years.
  • 28% of female victims and 10% of male victims obtained a protective order. 69% of female victims and 81% of male victims had the protection order violated. [Tjaden & Thoennes. (1998). “Stalking in America,” NIJ.]

These statistics do not include the new threat of CYBER-STALKING. More on stalking. Ironically, the Stalking Resource Center considers January National Stalking Awareness Month. Stalking ain’t too much different for women then lynch mobs were for blacks decades earlier. The cause of lynching was so beautifully represented in THE GREAT DEBATERS. Can’t wait for a film to bring that kind of power to the issues of sexism, misogyny and stalking in the black community and beyond.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963 (More quotes).

This is always a sacred day for me and I want to remind people that Dr. King’s legacy lives on everyday in me and you. If each of us could take on one thing that truly matters to us in our lifetime, the world would transform overnight.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. — Winston Churchill

Kyra’s Promise for the World:
By 2036, I promise a world where all men and women are ready, willing and able to embrace and be empowered by ANY communication, eye to eye with, the oneness of our Humanity.

What matters to you? What are you devoted to in your life? Ask yourself today and ask at least 2 others too.


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