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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What movie or TV series best embodies Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream?

Today is a federal holiday in the United States, when we honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and his work to advance civil rights.

So we’ll honor his ideals here today, too. Today’s question: What movie or TV series best embodies Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality among all people and an end to racial strife and other bigotries?

I’m not sure there is one. Certainly, there are many good movies in particular about the fight for equality. (Just this season we have Milk, for instance.) But because we have not yet achieved King’s dream in the real world, any realistic depiction of our world may touch on the inequalities we still cope with. More notable, because the people who make movies and TV are subject to the same, sometimes subconscious bigotries King dreamt of eliminating, it’s often only productions that are explicitly about inequality that feature a diverse cast.

If I had to pick one example, though, I’d point out Battlestar Galactica, which exists in a human society that appears not to take any notice of racial differences and also, remarkably, appears not to be subject to gender inequality, either. This appears to be a conscious choice on the part of the creators of the show, because it serves to highlight the one bigotry that the people of the universe are coping with: the one that divides human from Cylon. In this universe, if there’s a Martin Luther King Jr., he’d be a skinjob.

(If you need a reminder of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, you can watch it here.

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