America needs Donald Trump. We need Donald Trump, especially black people. Because you have got to understand, my black brothers and sisters, they told me, you've got to try to emulate and imitate the white man and then you will be successful. We tried that ... I told Michael Jackson, I said, if you are poor, you are a poor Negro. I would use the n-word. But, if you are rich you're a rich Negro. If you are intelligent, intellectual, you're intellectual Negro. If you are a dancing and sliding and gliding n------, I mean Negro, you're a dancing and sliding and gliding Negro. So dare not alienate because you cannot assimilate. You know, you're going to be a Negro till you die.I know the mainstream news focused on King's saying of the epithet that's censored in the above transcription — the epithet and the fixed grin on Trump's face in the background, but the old man was making his point, and it's a significant idea that he must have wanted people to think about. Reading it, I think it's perfectly lucid, and I even think he deliberately said the n-word and then corrected it, and he did it to criticize white people, who, he seems to think, are racist even when they show respect to an accomplished black person, such as Michael Jackson.
I saw the clip on television, and it was edited to exclude the name of King's interlocutor, so I was left wondering why he was saying "sliding and gliding." It made King sound wacky and maybe senile. But with the name Michael Jackson in there, the language all fits together, including the challenging of the audience with that word, the word he wanted white people to know is the word he uses — "I would use the n-word" he says before he actually says it — as he imagines how white people are thinking.
My link goes to a Washington Post column — sorry to throw you at the pay wall again — by the "race, gender, immigration and inequality" reporter Janell Ross. Ross seems to credit King with saying something that makes sense, though after aptly paraphrasing it, she appends: "Or, at least, that's what King may have been saying, as best we can tell." Ross proceeds to describe the predictable "outrage and umbrage expressed about King's language and his use of the n-word in a church, of all places." But she's critical of that kind of superficial coverage of racial problems:
That's race coverage around the edges — racial-epithet scandal to possible ethnic- or religious-group uproar. And, it's this coverage that overtakes or actually stands in where a more thoughtful, substantive examination of the undeniable role that race continues to play in housing, lending, employment, health care, education and every other major feature of American life should probably be....