It’s really startling to consider that less than forty years after his assassination and just as we are entering the second decade of the federal holiday recognizing his life and work, so many people see Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a party weekend. I am not opposed to partying during “King Weekend,” as long as these parties have a purpose. For example if promoters for weekly parties decided to give a portion of that weekend’s proceeds to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or countless other organizations working for the public good, I would have no objections to such a party on “King Weekend.” Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Instead, what has occurred is that many people have turned what was to be a holiday honoring the African American crusade for freedom into a niche-marketing angle. If this is already occurring within our lifetime, I am afraid to imagine what this holiday will look like when our children are in their thirties. Will they be subjected to car salespersons promoting huge price slashes because it’s “King Weekend?” Better yet, will “King Weekend” be designated as the first major shopping event of the New Year, and department stores all across the country will roll out their Kente print banners to lure people in their aisles? I can see it now, someone will coin the phrase “The Dream Shopping Weekend,” and business owners will follow suit and offer 75% discounts on all items in their stores.
All of this may be light years away, but then again….