Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue Controversy

A moderated forum for more thoughtful discussion.

Moderators: pd Rydia, LadyDragonClawsEDW

Posts: 1204
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2002 12:28 pm

Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue Controversy

Unread postby Nekogami » Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:53 am

*Censored for extreme irateness*


I was going to rant but I'm not very smart so I'm sure I would have said something stupid. So I'll collect my thoughts in a little basket weaved of understanding for my fellow man and when I come back I'll post something semi-intelligent and not filled with the RAGE that I was originally going to rant with.

(If you don't know what my position is, it's definitely not "Chinese People can't Sculplt MLK because They aren't black.")

User avatar
Posts: 2857
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2002 8:59 pm

Unread postby BrainWalker » Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:57 am

I'm not convinced this has anything to do with racism. Or at least I wasn't until I checked that second article. I was under the impression that it had more to do with America's out-of-control lust for outsourcing jobs and manufacturing and whatever to foreign, cheaper markets. I can sort of understand that logic (at least, better than "Chinese people aren't black enough to represent black people in any way.") but I can't help but feel that people blow it out of proportion. Like in this story. Just because a box says "made in China", that doesn't mean it contains a cheap plastic McDonald's toy. I think people forget that China is a nation full of people; individuals with a diversity of talents and abilities. I think a lot of Americans think of China as one giant factory churning out cheap trinkets, automotive parts, and bootleg DVDs. That's kind of an outdated perspective, although they certainly do churn out a lot of product. China's come a long way in the last 50 years or so, and while they certainly aren't perfect, I think they deserve better than what they're getting in reaction to this Martin Luther King Jr. monument thing.

I definitely enjoyed Lei's rebuttal.
Anime is kind of like fish in that it is better the less "fishy" it is.

User avatar
Fighting the Iron Law of Oligarchy Since 2006
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 12:32 pm
Location: Indianapolis

Unread postby Kai » Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:55 am

I think we're forgetting that we've gotten monuments from other countries before, and to me it's, if not the same thing, at least a comparable thing. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France, and while this time it's taking the form of a contract with a Chinese artist, I think that a Chinese artisan (which is a very different thing from a Chinese politician or a Chinese diplomat) is in a decent position to understand things like, oh.... being denied one's civil rights.

While it makes perfect sense to me that it'd contaminate the statue on some spiritual level to have it made from granite mined by workers without protection under the employ of a government that has no regard for them, the fact that China has civil rights atrocities of its own does not mean that individuals in China are incapable of respecting someone who would probably have cared about them, too.

That stated, I do think it's valid for a group of African Americans to assert that it'd be more appropriate to have a black artist from America make the sculpture. I do think it's valid to say they have more "right" to honor this man. However, if we say that it seems to me we'd be implying that no one but an American could possibly appreciate what King did.

Maybe this is true. But if it's true, that means no one outside a relevant geographical area has any context for the great works done there.

It means no one India or possibly England has any reason to respect Gandhi, either. After all, no one here went on the salt march. No one here has been a victim of the Indian caste system. I'm willing to bet no one here has ever been part of anything Gandhi did, and that most Americans who know Gandhi was a cool dude probably don't know jack about what he actually fought for.

What if a Brazilian artist were commissioned to make a statue of Nerfertiti or Ramses II for Egypt? Those aren't relevant cultural figures for them. They wouldn't understand.

What if a Canadian were commissioned to make a statue of Mother Teresa, a Macedonian woman who did her Great Big Famous Work in Calcutta?

If people objected to these things, enlightened and rational Americans like you and I would probably denounce their objections as the result of exclusionist nationalism. We're allowed the same leeway for exlusionist nationalism as anyone else, but I'd really like to see some admission that it's what we're doing, that we want to turn down a brilliant artist (and looking at the sculpture I can see that's what he is) because he belongs to a culture that "wouldn't understand."

We can say, "a Chinese artist wouldn't understand. He was too awesome for your Mongol mind to comprehend," but we also need to keep in mind that this could snap back on us, too, someday. We won't have any right to complain when someone tells us that an American shouldn't be the one commemorating X or Y Important Global Event.

EDIT: Lots of edits for a million tiny errors that'll drive me nuts if I don't fix them.

User avatar
Holy Order of the Crimson Ballpoint
Posts: 2854
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2002 4:10 pm

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:15 pm

I have a dream, that one day the sculptors of all nations will be judged not on the color of their skin but the content of their creations!

Seriously. The people who are clamoring that it tarnishes Martin King's ideals and message to have a Chinese man sculpt him need to really think about the meaning of the word 'racism' and whether they really want to fight that battle.
"You haven't told me what I'm looking for."
"Anything that might be of interest to Slitscan. Which is to say, anything that might be of interest to Slitscan's audience. Which is best visualized as a vicious, lazy, profoundly ignorant, perpetually hungry organism craving the warm god-flesh of the anointed. Personally I like to imagine something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth, Laney, no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote. Or by voting in presidential elections."
--Colin Laney and Kathy Torrance, William Gibson's Idoru

Return to Discussion Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest