Tuesday, October 25, 2005
death of an icon, reflections on a movement
Well, it's been all over the news that Rosa Parks died yesterday, at the age of 92. Her refusal to move to the back of a Montgomery bus in 1955 is seen by many as the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement, when a young unknown minister named Martin Luther King Jr. helped to organize a boycott of the bus system (he was only 26 years old at the time!). She was a symbol of an era, and her work in the area of civil rights is commendable... I can even forgive her for trying to sue Outkast.
May she rest in peace.
Is the Civil Rights movement dead? Sometimes, it really feels that way.
As well known and celebrated as she and MLK Jr. are, I often think how much of their work is left unfinished. Though racism, sexism, classism, and every other -ism are no longer overt in most parts of our country, they still exist on some level everywhere on a covert and systemic level... but this is rarely acknowledged publicly by most people.
Many Americans, especially those who are privileged to be white and well-off, feel content to celebrate MLK Jr. day once a year and say to themselves, "Hurray for Rosa Parks and MLK Jr! Thanks to them, there's no more racism in America today!" There's a blindness in this country that we still have a long way to go in confronting the ugliness of racism.
Progress has come slowly, and there are many reminders of the injustices in our country - the imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal; the false accusations against James Yee and Wen Ho Lee; the murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi; the disgusting Michael Lohman; biased media coverage during Hurricane Katrina; the kidnapping of Anna Marie He. Racism didn't end in the 1960s. And ignoring that it still exists won't make it go away either.
Everyone should be fighting to keep 'The Dream' alive.
whats scary is when the words of MLK Jr are selectively used by conservatives to justify their positions.Post a Comment