Had conservatives even listened to the entire “I Have a Dream” speech, rather than just the one line they fetishize, they would have seen this same systemic analysis. Therein, King argued that America had “given the Negro people a bad check: a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds’.” He wasn’t suggesting a handful of bad apples had done this. He wasn’t simply blaming a dozen or so Southern sheriffs in league with assorted Klansmen. Instead, King was explicitly faulting America as a society.
Oh yes he was faulting American society.
And we are still grappling with a much more virulent form of systemic racism, today.