The weird argument being wheeled out over how feminist campaigners somehow made The Sun keep Page 3 just to spite them reminded me of this Radio 4 programme I made about Procrastination and what Martin Luther King had to say about “pushiness” and social change. The layout above from The Times on Jan 9th featuring a lingerie ad pretending to be news (read the caption) larger than an actual positive news story about a woman, is an interesting reminder of the bigger picture around representation.
Script below from Something Understood – Procastination (broadcast July 2013):
It was to true Christian values that Martin Luther King appealed in challenging the endless excuses from Southern US authorities to put off granting full civil rights to African Americans. Eight white bishops and rabbis in Alabama had urged African Americans not to join Dr King’s peaceful street demonstrations. But to pursue their rights more slowly through the courts and local discussion. In Birmingham jail, arrested for demonstrating, Dr King wrote this letter in response in April 1963.
EXTRACT: KING’s Letter from Birmingham Jail April 1963
For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”
…when you go forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.