I cannot let the celebration of Dr. King's birth date pass yet again, without commenting upon the scandal of the memorial erected, we are told, in his honor, but fabricated by Chinese artisans working without pay.
This is wrong at so many levels that one hardly knows where to begin their enumeration. First, the statue of this most American of heroes should have been sculpted by an American, and I would go so far as to add, by an Afro-American. Second, given Dr. King's lifelong support of the labor movement in America, it passes credulity that the workers were not paid: "A workman is worthy of his hire" is a watchword in my own life, both in regard the work that I do, and the work that I pay to have done for me. Third, sourcing the work to China is, to my mind, a calculated insult to all American workers and their capabilities. Fourth, as many others have remarked, the mien of the statue has a distinctly Asian cast about it; with no aspersion intended upon people of Asian blood and heritage, this is, in the present context, simply wrong. Finally, although these decisions are not strictly political, one might remark upon the singular inappropriateness of sending this work to China, when the current occupant of our White House is himself of African descent.