Who Said It? MLK or DJT?
Yesterday, we celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK), a profound figure in the history of our country, chiefly where civil rights are concerned. As a Christian minister and outspoken activist, he is known for his courage, wisdom, and acting in love and nonviolence. He is an American hero, and in a perfect world, we would do our best to walk in his footsteps, practice what he practiced, and preach what he preached. Short of that, we post some of his more famous quotes on social media as our way to prolong the life and memory of MLK. While reading through those quotes yesterday, I realized we have a current quote machine living in the White House in the form of our President, Donald J. Trump (DJT), who is always quick with a quip or word of wisdom for our country. I thought it would be fun to compare the quotes of the two men with a game called Who Said It? MLK or DJT?
The following are ten quotes stated by one of the two men. Read each excerpt and decide whether MLK or DJT said it. As you can imagine, this will not be an easy quiz due to the complexities of these two men, so be kind to yourself as you read through it. The correct answers follow the quotes. Good luck and happy reading.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” MLK or DJT?
“Look at my African-American over here. Look at him.” MLK or DJT?
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” MLK or DJT?
“I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world.” MLK or DJT?
“I have black guys counting my money. … I hate it. The only guys I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes all day.” MLK or DJT?
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” MLK or DJT?
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.” MLK or DJT?
“The beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.” MLK or DJT?
“Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.” MLK or DJT?
“If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, ‘brethren!’ Be careful, teachers!” MLK or DJT?
1. MLK from his “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963.
I started you off with an easy one to build your confidence as most of you have heard, or heard of, this speech; however, the more astute among you may have answered incorrectly, thinking it was the not-quite-as-famous quote from DJT, “I have a dream that my five children will one day NOT be judged by the color of my skin…it’s the best orange, perfect orange, nor by the content of the character of the three children born from my first wife, Ivana.”
I see how that may have thrown you a bit. I told you this wouldn’t be easy.
2. DJT at a June 3, 2016 campaign rally in Redding, CA.
Tough one, right? I bet that you guessed that MLK probably said this while out with the fellas one night at the local pub, pouring back cold ones, and upon noticing a friend return to the table with the next round of brewskis, turned to the group, and in a show of affection for his friend, said, “Look at my African-American over here. Look at him.” Close, but incorrect. DJT spoke these words at a campaign rally, deftly illustrating his bond with the past and expertise on trade.
3. MLK from his book, Strength to Love, 1963
It’s okay if you had to Google this one to answer correctly. MLK was known to be a man of love and nonviolence, but so, too, is DJT, having on many occasions offered to cover legal expenses for anyone who forcibly removes and roughs up a protester from a DJT rally.
4. DJT to reporters at the White House July 30, 2019
I know what you’re thinking. Can a quote be attributed to two people at the same time? Maybe so, but not this time. While MLK was a civil rights leader who fought for racial equality and economic justice his whole life and ultimately was assassinated due to his beliefs, it is DJT who uttered the phrases, “The Blacks love me!” and “Look at my African-American” as well as the bold stance that he is the least racist person anywhere in the world. MLK never made such a bold claim. I guess he wasn’t that confident in what he was doing.
5. DJT in USA Today, May 20, 1991
6. MLK from his book, Strength to Love, 1963
Another tricky one. It’s incredible how much these two men have in common. I probably should have added context, maybe stating that the quote was a warning to the American people instead of a New Year’s resolution.
7. DJT speaking at a rally in Sioux Center, Iowa, January 23, 2016
While MLK was shot on multiple occasions, including on April 4, 1968, when he was assassinated outside his hotel room in Memphis, TN, he never shot anyone. He probably could not stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody because A., some racist zealot or typical New York driver, would have run him over for standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and B. It wasn’t a great time to be a black man in this country (insert any time ever), so shooting someone probably wouldn’t have gone over too well for MLK. DJT, on the other hand, while possibly having to negotiate with the typical New York driver, is much less likely to deal with anything too negative should he shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue. Thank goodness the GOP is in place to protect our leader.
8. MLK at his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, 1964
At the mention of diamonds, silver, and gold, it’s difficult not to think of DJT, but I looked through all of DJT’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speeches and couldn’t find this quote. It must be MLK’s.
9. DJT at breakfast with African-American supporters, February 2, 2017
Frederick Douglass died in 1895, so neither MLK nor DJT knew him. DJT is referring here to Fredericks of Hollywood, who in 2017 posted a 22% increase in online sales over the prior year—a fantastic job. Excellent growth. DJT accidentally said Frederick Douglass because he heard that name being discussed among those attending the breakfast, an honest mistake. Editorial side note: I disagree with his comment that more and more people recognize Fredericks of Hollywood. Still, he would probably know better, so I won’t belabor the point too much.
10. MLK in “The Purpose of Education” from Morehouse College student newspaper, The Maroon Tiger, 1947
We weren’t careful.
So, how did you do? Check your scores below:
8–10 correct: You are a scholar and someone who has intensely studied the history of the US. I imagine you’re a tenured college professor who probably did their doctoral dissertation specifically on quotes from famous civil rights leaders and other yahoos.
5–7 correct: OK, so you’re not a tenured professor, maybe just an adjunct or Ph.D. candidate, but you got at least half right, even if you guessed on all of them.
3–6 correct: You may need to return and hit the books, literally. Punch all the books. It appears that they haven’t helped you much.
0–2 correct: You have probably added “covfefe,” “bigly,” and all the other best words to your vocabulary.
Thank you for taking the quiz. I hope you walk away from this exercise more educated and enlightened. Please tune in next week as, in light of DJT’s Senate impeachment trial beginning today, I will dig deeper into the lives of MLK and DJT by comparing and contrasting their respective impeachment trials. I hope you’ll join me.
This article was also posted on my Medium site.