Don't Be Evil

From Time Photos: Rare Photos of Martin Luther King Jr. at Home

Today is, of course, Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Google's doodle is really beautiful. Although there are those who think Google doodles are really horrible marketing tools, I have to agree with Chris Matyszczyk, who points out that the doodles link to really great information that might have been missed in other venues. They're not simply pictures to make Google look like it cares - they are tools that can be used to learn more about great people and important events. (Although, if we're being completely honest, I don't know that this is the motivation behind why Google does doodles. I'm looking just at the outcome, and I happen to like the outcome and its possibilities for good use.)

I was talking to a friend recently about how a company whose stated ideals we love and who we have integrated ubiquitously into our lives has developed some short-comings. I don't know what to do if I have to leave Google for being evil - what do I replace it with? So, I hope Google stops being evil and returns to its original ideals. I really do.

But the doodles are a great example of one thing Google gets right. (Maybe. Assuming they have the right motivations.) They are attractive - I'm especially fond of the interactive ones - and they open gateways to learning more.

Which, believe it or not, leads me back to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is often lauded as a great man,  a powerful, almost fabulous figure that stood up and fought injustice, insisting on the adoption of a worldview that incorporated practical love and the strength of peace. We underestimate how awesome this man was - we focus on a couple speeches, missing out on many of his greatest messages; we misinterpret the full implications of his movement.

But I firmly believe the thing we miss most is that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not a particularly great man. Don't go yet - stay with me, now. He was a regular guy, with a family, a job, a life he loved - just like the rest of us. He had a lot to lose - and, in the end, he did sacrifice everything. With that in mind, what injustice do you see? What can you do about it? Because it's one thing to look at this man and say, "Yep, he was great. Wish we had another like him." It's an entirely different thing to say, "Yep, he did something great. What great thing can I do?" What are your ideals? Are you living by them? Or are you letting them slip in pursuit of comfort, social acceptance, financial gain? Are you Google or King?

It doesn't require always heroic efforts or dramatic change. Sometimes, the best venue is the one we're already in. Just ask Nichelle Nichols, who challenged racial and sexual stereotypes by simply being the most bad-ass black woman in TV history.

As a final example, I direct you to Mike Martin's awesome demonstration, wherein he beat a Remington into a mattock, which was then gifted to Mayor de Blasio. A difficult thing to do, and one for which he, Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, and Middle Collegiate Church will probably catch flak from gun enthusiasts, but a powerful statement on gun violence and hope for peace.

Moving on to something lighter -


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