controversy over mlk monument

Another article on the controversy over the planned Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington DC... the statue of King, to be unveiled on the Mall in 2009, has been the subject of a great deal of criticism ever since master sculptor Lei Yixin of China was selected as the lead sculptor for the project.

Critics are basically equating the choice as "outsourcing," and argue that an African American—or any American—should have been picked to sculpt King. Not a Chinese guy: A King Statue 'Made in China'?

I can see how people would feel very strongly about this, and in some ways they bring up legitimate questions—is Martin Luther King an American hero (they are, after all, placing the statue in DC, among the other great American monuments) and thus should be sculpted by an American artist? Or is King a hero to the world? The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation says they chose Lei for one reason only: artistic ability.

It's an interesting debate, but what really irritates me is the rhetoric of Lei's detractors. It's certainly fashionable these days to use all sorts of anti-Chinese language... and here, they've jumped all over it. From the "outsourcing" comment to the "Made in China" reference. It's obvious they're trying to capitalize on this sentiment, calling Lei Yixin's involvement "obscene."

Ridiculous. This issue has somehow been lumped in with contaminated food, defective toys, and China's looming economic power. Wow, it really has become popular to disparage all things Chinese.

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