Poor Word Choice and its Consequences


Maya Angelou is ruffling some feathers with a recent statement insulting the choice of words that are splayed across the side of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Monument in Washington: “I was a drum major for justice peace and righteousness.” She expressed her discontent with her own choice words: “The quote makes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. look like an arrogant twit,” and “He was anything but that. He was far too profound a man for that four-letter word to apply. He had no arrogance at all. He had a humility that comes from deep inside.”

Apparently, the original MLK quote had been edited to fit the design of the monument and that did a disservice to the wording. Sadly, when unfortunate editing decisions are made in stone, they’re difficult to correct. On the plus side, this story highlights one of the benefits of online publishing.

Sam Riley is an adult who works at McSweeney's. More from this author →