Friday, 28 October 2005

The lady who wouldn't stand up


My eldest sister has mailed to ask why I haven't mentioned this and the reason is simply that I missed it!

On 1st December, 1955 a man demanded that Rosa Parks stand up and give him her seat. She stood up by not standing up. This was post-war Montgomery, Alabama and Mrs Parks was black. The law required that the colour of her skin made her a second class citizen but she decided to take a stand against this racism and was fined and jailed. A year later the Rev Martin Luther King Jr organized a boycott of buses in Montgomery and the nascent civil rights movement was born. MLK and Malcolm X didn't live to see the results but Rosa died on Monday, aged 92, with an Afro-American woman in a position of power in the government and being touted as a possible Presidential candidate - without Rosa Parks the world would be a very different place.

9 careful considerations:

Lil Sis said...

cheers, Bro!

It's atimely reminder that is often attention to the little things that make the bigger things happen.

Nogbad said...

For some reason the image wouldn't upload first time out but it's there now.

Thanks for the reminder H. I'm watching the news now with Jemma and Calum. Jem knew about Rosa and who she was and I'm pleased about that (and not a little proud!). The news of the indictments against the current administration is another sign that there (and here) we still have a lot of stuff to sort out but the Rosas should serve to remind us that we can change things.

Angie said...

You missed it?? Bad boy!! You should be spanked! ;)

And the world needs more like Rosa Parks to make a stand against inequalities.

kat said...

Well done to her but changes in the law can only go so far and I think there is still a lot of underlying racism. I can’t see that changing until we are prepared to share and learn about each others cultures. How much do any of us really know about other peoples and how many of us mix with them freely? I admit that I don’t know enough. I wasn’t brought up to belong to a single culture (In fact I was brought up specifically not to belong to any culture, race or religion) but I haven’t had enough opportunities to mix.

If you watch little children of mixed race play together they notice the difference but they don’t have any prejudice. Their first reaction is to mix and find out about each other. We have been conditioned by our own societies to be separate and I think that there is an underlying fear that if we share we will lose something ourselves. All our beliefs will be open to our own criticism and our own judgments and we can’t have that now can we? It is easier to protect our own ‘group privileges’ or to ignore the whole thing, than to admit that such ‘privileges’ or that ‘our beliefs’ may well be wrong. Changes in the law or acts of charity are not enough. Any club, group, society or religion automatically excludes and prejudices against those who are not members of it and there are times when I feel really pissed off about being considered a member of any such minority club, by default.

Echo Mouse said...

I've often wondered who was more effective - Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks. In any case, both helped tremendously. I shudder to think what the world would be like today if not for them.

Of course, as Kat says, many things still haven't changed. It's like we've put a happy face on a serious problem. It's still there, just underground. But Rosa Parks is one person who will always inspire and encourage others to stand up when they need to, and that's something we all benefit from.

Nogbad said...

MLK and Rosa Parks needed each other didn't they EM? Her protest was a sparkthat helped light the fire.

kat said...

Yes I wasn't trying to take anything away from what these people did. It's just that I seem to have seen too much aggro over race recently. Right down to people objecting bitterly and seriously to being referred to as White British - because they are White English. It seems complete madness to me - It is not as if they were supporting a football team or anything.

Nogbad said...

And I prefer being British to English because mum is a Scot! Ultimately I'm with MLK - I don't judge by the colour of a person's skin but by the content of their character. More importantly I'm trying to make sure my children think the same way - that's how we can make a difference for tomorrow!

kat said...

More importantly I'm trying to make sure my children think the same way - that's how we can make a difference for tomorrow!


Of course it is. :-)

Many of us however, have to deal with adults with racist views. I see the following as ways of dealing with this:

1. You can declare it a taboo subject

2. You can say okay we can discuss it but at the end of the conversation, you will have to abide by the rules.

Neither of the above feels very comfortable and can sometimes leave me feeling quite sick inside.


If however, you have a mixed group of people, it is surprising how tolerant and polite even a seemingly racist person can be. This is either because they don’t have the guts to do or say anything or because they truly do recognise another human being when they see and work with one on an individual and personal level. The longer the group stays together the more tolerant, the less fearful and the more appreciative they generally become of each other. I am not saying that this is an instant or the perfect solution to everything but I do think it helps in a small way.
I think a lot of racist attitudes stem from ignorance and fear.