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View Diary: President Obama On Rosa Parks and How Change Happens (20 comments)

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  •  I don't understand why this false (4+ / 0-)

    version of events is presented. Perhaps not false, but certainly misleading. This wasn't a whim or a sudden decision. They had planned for her to get arrested. This was organization, not just resistance. That's what this story gets wrong. Black people got their rights because they organized, not because one person did something. Sure, taking a stand can lead to that, and I'd never suggest not taking a stand, but we've valorized individualism so much in this country that we've turned these events into a great person doing something when really it's a lot of people working together to do something.

    The most powerful tool we as humans have is organization. Organization is the most important thing. It gives the individual the power to stand up like Rosa Parks did.

    •  True. But it is also (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, AoT

      true that, in this case, it was this one great individual who actually did something.
      I don't see the contradiction.

      Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

      by JoanMar on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:03:03 PM PST

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      •  It's not a contradiction, it's a rewriting of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, WisePiper

        history to make it more individualistic and less communal and it serves to mislead people about what works in terms of pushing change. It's great to encourage individual action, but telling the story, as the president did, without noting the background means that there's millions of people out there who think that just standing up on their own will spark some sort of movement to change things. But that's simply not true.

        •  It starts with individual action. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP, AoT

          The president often tells the story of how Edith Childs ("fired up, ready to go") made the difference in his campaign and he would end with:
           

          “One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”
          Yes, there was community organization and Ms Parks was not just any tired seamstress on her way home. But not just anybody would do as history tell us. It had to be a special person and Rosa Parks was that special person.
          Let's not begrudge her special place in history - Mother of the civil rights movement.

          Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

          by JoanMar on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:00:01 PM PST

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          •  Organization is prior to and superior to (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JoanMar, JayRaye

            individual action, as much as it pains me to say it. It pains me because I want to believe in the myth of the individual standing up and that turning into a world changing moment, but that's never happened. Our individual actions are important, but only as part of a collective organization.

            It had to be a special person and Rosa Parks was that special person.
            Yes and no. Yes, she was special because she was the person that took that action. But, no, because we all need to be aware of the fact that the peple who get the most press and who get written down in the history books are not the most important people. The most important people are the ones who organize and sacrifice despite the fact that they'll never make it into any history book. What I want to hear about is al the other work Rosa Parks did for the movement. The organizing, the crappy paperwork, the tireless going from door to door. Because I know she did it, she had to. And that was the most important part of what she did.
            •  We are not necessarily disagreeing. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              I see your point.
              However, history is replete with examples of one person standing up and making a difference. Off the top of my (sleepy) head, I can think of the guy who set himself afire in Tunisia that galvanized a movement in the Arab world; the guy who stood before the tankers in Tiananmen Square.
              Rosa Parks was not the only person who refused to give up a seat but she, just like Jackie Robinson, was the special person that was needed to spark the revolution.

              Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

              by JoanMar on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:40:51 PM PST

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        •  I very much agree, AoT. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          The Civil Rights Movement was a stunning achievement of organized resistance and protest. We need to study it like that. The lessons on organizing from that movement should never be forgotten!

          The Boycott was amazing from start to finish.

          WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs. For Jan: Right-to-Work/Right-to-Live(?)

          by JayRaye on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:06:06 PM PST

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    •  Read his entire speech. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JoanMar, AoT

      He does not provide a false version of events.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:07:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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