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View Diary: Rosa Parks, Misremembered (154 comments)

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  •  It was the first (4.00)
    thing I did.
    •  Also carpet bombing open thread (none)
      with alerts. Already on rec list now, I see.

      -7.88, -7.74 In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.

      by melvin on Tue Oct 25, 2005 at 01:06:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Highly Recommended : (4.00)
        The Rosa Parks mythology is horribly pernicious.  

        The mythology holds that oppressed people just "rise up" :

        Bullcrap. People get informed and organized. THEN, they rise up.

        •  Recommended (4.00)
          I've long wondered what (if anything) to do about the myth. King and the handful of other local Civil Rights leaders in Montgomery had looked for the right person for the Bus segregation challenge. Rosa was bombproof as to her personal reputation and mind set. And so it was planned. Rosa executed it all alone, but her support group was there by the time she arrived at the police station.

          Rosa was even greater, more determined, more self-controlled, than the myth

          Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. - Mark Twain

          by Rolfyboy6 on Tue Oct 25, 2005 at 05:37:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That myth serves a purpose. (4.00)
          It leads people to believe that they can't make a difference.  Their actions don't matter.  They don't matter.

          You find these stories everywhere, not just Rosa Parks: it's always some especially good or moral or clever individual who triumphs through a perfect confluence of circumstances.

          Now, you take someone who isn't raised in an environment of activism and doesn't really know how to connect with other activists or build a network.  If they really feel strongly about social change, they might try to find such a moment for themselves - the one moment when some brave and noble action will tip everything and set a cascade of events in motion...

          But it never happens, because it doesn't work that way, and so what you wind up with is idealism turned to cynicism, people believing nothing they do or say can make a difference because they are not as good - or as lucky - as a Rosa Parks.

          And really what they need - they just don't know it - is community.

          How can we get over it when people died for the right to vote? -- John Lewis

          by furryjester on Tue Oct 25, 2005 at 06:00:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  no I disagree strongly (4.00)
            "It leads people to believe that they can't make a difference.  Their actions don't matter.  They don't matter."

            but this is NOT the lesson that people take from Mrs. Parks... they take that one person standing up to power CAN make a difference.

            And I'm sure that was intentional on the part of the organizers.  After all, they didn't have a unified mass refusal to give up a seat

            •  No, I don't think so. (4.00)
              Have you ever tried to be that tipping point? to take that one spontaneous action of the myth that suddenly causes this avalanche of change? I bought into the childhood stories and tried multiple times, as a child and young adult, and it never worked.  Well, DUH, because I wasn't part of a community of activists.  Reality is that one person working alone can do very little.  One person working with a community of activists can accomplish a great deal.  To cut the community of activists out of the myth cuts out every iota of the individual's REAL power.

              How can we get over it when people died for the right to vote? -- John Lewis

              by furryjester on Tue Oct 25, 2005 at 08:53:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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