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October 25, 2005

Comments

As someone suggested today, they should name the street with the longest municipal bus line in every city after her.

CJR has a short but interesting piece on some of the myths around Rosa Parks.

What about Claudette Colvin?

Who did the same thing Rosa Parks did, but got none of the support, because, as a troublesome teenager, she didn't fit the clean image that that the protest had to have.

She's still alive to enjoy being honored for her courage and stubborness: what about naming a street or two after her?

Wow, the outpouring of condolences here is just staggering.

wilfred
It's hard to know what to say about Parks. frm's link is a thought provoking one, and I remember that there was a longish article in Utne reader about how we really don't honor Rosa Park's memory if we make her out to be just someone whose 'feet were tired', rather than the activist that she really was. I've also read (but can't find) a longer discussion of the 15 year old Claudette Colvin and the calculations made not to make her case a test case.

It seems, at least to me, that making a big fuss over Parks at this time, when the government seems to be falling apart (how else does one describe Wilkerson's op-ed in the LATimes?) especially over what is a manufactured myth. This is not discounting her bravery or the importance of it, but rather than view this as the logical outcome of a carefully planned program to make Americans realize that they were wrong, we raise it up as a triumph of the common man, that anyone can step forward and catch the attention of the public and make them realize right from wrong. Looking around today, that is a big a whopper as Santa Claus and the Tooth fairy.

LJ, offering a simple condolence to an American we all owe a huge debt of gratitude is far from 'making a fuss'.

It was a carefully planned effort to get an arrest in order to have a case which could be taken to the Supreme Court where Ms. Parks's lawyers expected to win. Those bad liberal activist judges, you know.
It was a triumph of the American court system. (Which is not to denigate Ms. Parks or her bravery--but without those activist judges her bravery would not have sparked a revolution in racial relations in this country.)

Parks deserves most if not all her fame. What I like in the CJR link is that it restores to Parks some agency: she was an activist in the NAACP, she had some idea of what she was getting into, and she chose to live up to the symbol that was subsequently created. She made herself into the convenient "ordinary woman" of the myth--and it worked. Brava, Rosa Parks.

Typepad apparently ate my last response, which is probably just as well, cause it was a bit sharp. I'd just like to underline that I was presenting the reason why _I_ was not writing. Jackmormon's (btw that's a lovely pic on HOCB, and I'd love a close up of the Arapahoe basket) point about Rosa making herself into an ordinary woman is, in a way, precisely what disturbs me when we try to talk about Parks.

Also, from my currently cynical perspective, Wilfred, it seems like you are trying to lay a guilt trip on people. Naming bus lines (where the movers and shakers of our society definitely do not ride) is imho one of those pointless gestures that substitute for meaningful action.

Slightly related to this, Eugene Robinson's latest WaPo op-ed suggests some interesting discussion. Not to take anything away from Parks, but a lack of rush to write condolences might be an acknowledgement that in some ways, we may have failed her and her bravery.

Jackmormon's [...] point about Rosa making herself into an ordinary woman is, in a way, precisely what disturbs me when we try to talk about Parks.

I don't entirely understand this.

I agree with your earlier point that the hope that political change starts with one person's saying no has not usually borne out. But that is what is so interesting about Rosa Parks. It worked in her case, and I suspect that one of the reasons that it worked was that she was exceptionally intelligent and focused.

Let me just say what I suspect might be on others' minds. Cindy Sheehan has not been as good a rallying point as Parks was. Sheehan was too easily individualized, spoke too much and on too many topics, and has seemed alternatively to have been the instigator and tool of the movement behind her. Parks, on the other hand, seems to have managed her role in her cause much better. Maybe those are the goggles of history; at this point it's impossible to tell.

But what Parks seems to have managed to do, and I have to admit that this degree of sacrifice would be beyond me, is to subsume herself into the symbolic needs of the movement. She didn't grandstand, she didn't backbite: she just stood, throughout her life, years after the battle (if not the war) was won, as an immovable symbol of dignity deserving of respect. If it was a role, and it may have been, it was damned well played, it consumed her life, and she never let it down.

[If this is posted multiple times, 'tis Typepad's fault: I get redirected to a maintenance site every time I hit either post or preview.]

Jackmormon's [...] point about Rosa making herself into an ordinary woman is, in a way, precisely what disturbs me when we try to talk about Parks.

I don't entirely understand this.

I agree with your earlier point that the hope that political change starts with one person's saying no has not usually borne out. But that is what is so interesting about Rosa Parks. It worked in her case, and I suspect that one of the reasons that it worked was that she was exceptionally intelligent and focused.

Let me just say what I suspect might be on others' minds. Cindy Sheehan has not been as good a rallying point as Parks was. Sheehan was too easily individualized, spoke too much and on too many topics, and has seemed alternatively to have been the instigator and tool of the movement behind her. Parks, on the other hand, seems to have managed her role in her cause much better. Maybe those are the goggles of history; at this point it's impossible to tell.

But what Parks seems to have managed to do, and I have to admit that this degree of sacrifice would be beyond me, is to subsume herself into the symbolic needs of the movement. She didn't grandstand, she didn't backbite: she just stood, throughout her life, years after the battle (if not the war) was won, as an immovable symbol of dignity deserving of respect. If it was a role, and it may have been, it was damned well played, it consumed her life, and she never let it down.

[If this is posted multiple times, 'tis Typepad's fault: I get redirected to a maintenance site every time I hit either post or preview.]

With not only Typepad but the internets as well acting funny, it might make this a bad time to try and discuss this (it might also explain the dearth of comments, though I do think that with everything that is going on, it's difficult to post, as well as the fact that ObWi tends to be resistant to 1 line comments, unless in the service of snark) but I think that this DKos Diary, which, of course, is not coming up for me right now, so I can't quote the nut graf that I read before I came to work, but I do think the myth of one simple person finally saying s/he had enough and everyone responding to that is a pleasing bedtime story that we tell outselves in order to suggest that we are more moral than we are. (this is more self directed than anything else, so please don't take it personally)

I got the link via The Next Hurrah's DiHinMi
, who also adds:
jre rightly emphasizes Rosa Parks’ political sophistication and commitment. But it’s also important to recognize something I didn't know until recent years, that Rosa Parks paid personal costs for her political activism. She came to Detroit not because it was some paradise, or just a place more appealing that Birmingham, AL. No, she came to Detroit because, by 1957, her and her family could no longer ensure their personal and economic security in Alabama. She endured threats. Her and her husband found it difficult to get work. So even though she played a very important role in overturning our system of southern apartheid, she never lived to experience the greater rights and protections that southern blacks now enjoy as a result of the actions of her and tens of thousands of other activists, including some who were in fact just simple seamstresses.

I see your point about 'if it were a role, it was damn well played' and I guess that my frustration is not with any fact about Rosa Parks herself, but just upset that she had to (and it seems, so does anyone else to accomplish change in our modern day society) We find ourselves very suspicious of managed existences, dressed up for the camera, hence the concentration of Parks as a simple seamstress. I think that suspicion is well founded, given the fact that we have had a parade of managed personalities lead us down the path we find ourselves on. But the ability of such images to lead us on in our thinking means, sadly, that we have to do a better job of managing our own images rather than actually getting at the truth and discussing issues.

I guess what drives these thoughts is reading these salvos about Plamegate by Wilkerson and Scowcroft and wondering if, some time in the future, we will look back and imagine that the majority of Americans were actually against the war and the Bush administration and pat ourselves on the back for being so perceptive, just like we imagine that Rosa Parks just gave a face to go with our conscience rather than the fact that she had to wrestle with our demons.

We've got a lot to remember lately.

the Dkos cite finally came thru. here is the last graf
The myth of Rosa Parks as a private apolitical seamstress, like the myth of Martin Luther King as a race-blind moderate, has real consequences as we face the urgent civil rights struggles of today. Seeing acts of civil disobedience like Parks' as spontaneous responses to the enormity of the injustice justifies the all-too common impulses to refuse our support for organized acts of resistance and regard organized groups as inherently corrupt. Those are impulses people like Rosa Parks had to confront and overcome amongst members of her community long before she ever made national headlines for refusing to give up her seat on the bus.

While jre would like planning and organization to be regarded neutrally, I find myself thinking that planning and organization can be too easily repurposed to chase after misguided goals. Of course, this is after trying to sort the Italian article about the forged documents.

Something I think is odd is how loved Rosa Parks is, and hated is Condaleeza "She's a skeeza" Rice.

Hey, if Rice gets elected Pres and breaks the back of the Nixon's Southern strategy in the process and conducts herself irreproachably in office, then fine, I'll feel as bad about her passing as I do Parks's.

Anyway, I don't know that anyone hates Rice so much as they hated her incompetence as NSA. Maybe she'll redeem some of that by a competent tour at State, perhaps as part of the coming Regency.

wondering if, some time in the future, we will look back and imagine that the majority of Americans were actually against the war and the Bush administration and pat ourselves on the back for being so perceptive

I think that there is really some anger that Poland, Hungary, Czech Rebublic, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuainia, Latvia, etc. are free, and a wishful thinking that somehow this could have been prevented. I personally want Iraq, and yes, Syria and Iran and North Korea to be free in my lifetime. That may seem impeialistic to some people, but that's just how I am.

First of all, given that Bush apparently has a 2% approval rating among blacks, it's not that odd.

Also, that word really doesn't have any place on this board. If you want to point out that Baraka said it in a speech and then discuss why the use of the word is problematic, that would be fine, but I don't think that a thread on the death of Rosa Parks is the place to do it. Please show a bit more respect.

That 2% number is just noise.

As to the "s-word" above, it was new to me, and as such inoffensive.

Something I think is odd is how loved Rosa Parks is, and hated is Condaleeza "She's a skeeza" Rice.

Why do you find it odd that some people judge both women by their actions, their character, and their accomplishments rather than the color of their skin?

And DaveC: who is supposed to be angry about freedom in Eastern Europe? (Other than its deposed leaders, I guess.) And which of us doesn't want freedom in North Korea et al? Because I haven't encountered any such people here, as far as I know.

Rosa Parks was remarkable because she was born before the 1919 Chicago race riots, which is a span of time that also is remarkable with the advent of automobiles, radio, television, computers, airlines, etc. She was an icon of change within that timespan. I suppose that Rosa Parks was as much hated when she was Condeleeza Rice's age as Condi is now, but as time passes, we just cannot see the change.

I for one am pro-repression in NK, because a well-known symmetry theorem implies conservation of totalitarianism integrated over the planet, and it's better contained. Look what happened when the East Bloc got its freedom and all that Stalinism ... ehh... who cares.

And DaveC: who is supposed to be angry about freedom in Eastern Europe?

I was talking about opposition to Pershing missles in Europe, Star Wars, etc. I know that the ends don't always justify the means, but I personally will sometimes discard ethics for a positive outcome.

I suppose that Rosa Parks was as much hated when she was Condeleeza Rice's age as Condi is now, but as time passes, we just cannot see the change.

What on earth?

DaveC: Rosa Parks was remarkable because she was born before the 1919 Chicago race riots, which is a span of time that also is remarkable with the advent of automobiles, radio, television, computers, airlines, etc.

Are you thinking of a different Rosa Parks? Ms Parks was remarkable because she was a brave and stubborn woman who, when she had the chance to do the right thing for no certain concrete benefit but for a known cost, sat there and did it. For this reason she should be remembered: she is remembered because she did the right thing and change followed.

I think Claudette Colvin was as remarkable - hence my first comment.

As far as I know, Condoleeza Rice and Rosa Parks have nothing in common but their gender and the color of their skin: what do you think they have in common? And why do you want to reduce the reasons for admiring Rosa Parks to her having been born in 1913?

The Ku Klux Klan, and white Chhristian terrorism seemed to be ascendent in 1920, yet by 1965, the Christians backed civil rights, because of black Christian leaders. My hope is that in 2045, the mainstream of Islam will be against terrorism. I realize that the war against AQ, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah, Jemaah Islamayh, as well as the Pan-Arabist Baathist parties seems futile at this time, but I don't believe tahat Islamist or Baathists have any right to rule so many people.

As far as I know, Condoleeza Rice and Rosa Parks have nothing in common but their gender and the color of their skin: what do you think they have in common?

You're right. Condeleeza Rice had one of her childhood friends killed in a KKK bonbing of a church. This did not happen to Rosa Parks. I stand corrected.

I AM NOT TRYING IN ANY WAY TO BELITTE ROSA PARKS SO DONT TRY AND MAKE IT SEEM THAT WAY.

Good night.

I gave in and characterized Condi as a victim, which was wrong, because more than anybody at ObWi, she is smarter, she beieves in freedom, and she is a great pianist.

I cant play piano, so I'll take the last assrtion on faith.

DaveC: Trying to draw equivalencies between Rosa Parks and Condoleeza Rice tends to have that effect, I'm afraid. It'd be much the same thing were I to draw comparisons between, I dunno, Beethoven and the Olsen Twins. No matter how laudable the intent, it's going to come across as a slam against the maestro, not an encomium towards the muppets.

[Aside: I meant to write "moppets" but the typo was too good to pass up.]

DaveC
Threadjacks are an unavoidable fact of blogs. But ask yourself: regardless of your professed innocence about belittling Rosa Parks, do you feel proud of your threadjack of a thread in honor of her death?

By the way, in the same 1965 that you cite that Christians backing civil rights, we have this

[James] Kilpatrick [writing in the National Review] also took aim at the 1965 Voting Rights Act in the April 20, 1965 issue. "Must We Repeal the Constitution to Give the Negro the Vote?" he asked, accusing the bill's supporters of "perverting the Constitution." He thought certain blacks should be given the right to vote but notes, "Over most of this century, the great bulk of Southern Negroes have been genuinely unqualified for the franchise." He also defended segregation as rational for Southerners. "Segregation is a fact, and more than a fact; it is a state of mind. It lies in the Southern subconscious next to man's most elementary instincts, for self-preservation, for survival, for the untroubled continuation of a not intolerable way of life."

link

DaveC does have a smidgeon of a point.

"White" and "male" are both cultural norms.

No one asks Dick Cheney what it was like to grow up a white boy in pre-civil rights Nebraska: no one asks George W. Bush what it was like to be the white son of white Senator Bush in de-facto segregated Texas in the 1960s, the son of a man who opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Nor does anyone ask either of them where they like to shop, who their favorite designer is, what size suit they wear, and whether they're trying to lose weight.

Given when Rosa Parks was born, I imagine it likely that she lost more than one friend to the KKK, Dave.

I'd just like to go on record as saying that, whenever DaveC and Condoleeza Rice decide to assemble an army of their own and free North Korea, I will donate $100.

Given what the exchange rate is like since you got a good conservative President, sound on the economy, I'll pledge $200.

DaveC: "The Ku Klux Klan, and white Chhristian terrorism seemed to be ascendent in 1920, yet by 1965, the Christians backed civil rights, because of black Christian leaders."

This has already been pointed out as BS, but I'd just like to pile on - DaveC, stop it. You aren't fooling us, you're just trimming our respect for you down to an even lower level.

This woman is deserving of every award and word of praise she has received from politicians of all political stripes, including George Bush.

At a time when racial tension and paranoia was the order of the day, Rosa showed tremendous personal courage in opposing a despicable practice - namely the rule requiring a black person to yeild his/her seat in a bus to a white person who only had to make the request. This was frankly disgusting. The courage of this woman to stand against being demeaned in this fashion, and to make her stand with great personal dignity helped to energize the civil rights movement and put an end to these shameful practices.

God bless you Rosa ... may you rest in peace.

Threadjacks are an unavoidable fact of blogs. But ask yourself: regardless of your professed innocence about belittling Rosa Parks, do you feel proud of your threadjack of a thread in honor of her death?

I watched the White Sox win late last night. It has been 92 years or so since they won the World Series. My mother in law is 92 as well, and I need to fix her "old" Windows 98 computer so that she can get back on the internet. I guess I was thinking about history in terms of a human life span.

DaveC: I guess I was thinking about history in terms of a human life span.

It's a natural thing to do, when someone dies. But when someone who accomplished something great dies, I think it better to focus on what she did, first and foremost, than on mere longevity.

In 2044, I will not quarrel with you if you want to summarise Condoleeza Rice's life in terms of the great changes that happened between 1954 and the day of her death. After all, she hasn't accomplished anything worth celebrating in the first half of her life: it seems unlikely that she'll do anything much between now and the end of it.

Speaking of threadjack, anyone else having trouble accessing other threads? I'm getting gobbledegook on IE6.

Slart--
Yeah, it's a mess on Firefox too.

I'm seeing comments in the right-hand column that aren't showing up on the threads.

I think it's just slow. A comment I wrote took a long time to show up, but it finally did.

Amen, Hil. She was a brave soul who stood up (or sat down, as it were) to injustice.

Aidan has it right,except he does not go far enough.

All the crap about myths and the like is utterly irrelevant to what Rosa Parks did. Does anyone have any idea what Alabama was like in the mid-fifties? She seriously risked her life by her action. She could easily have been beaten or killed, and those who did it would have been regarded as heroes by large segments of the population. Read the post lj quotes.

This was a great act of courage - not intellectual courage, not financial risk, not courage protected by police and courts - plain physical courage in the face of injustice. Whether it was planned or spontaneous affects that not one whit.

I like this discussion.

And I'm glad that DaveC. made the following comment: "I suppose that Rosa Parks was as much hated when she was Condeleeza Rice's age as Condi is now." and then the tag-end, "... we just cannot see the change."

I'm not sure exactly what Dave means by this, but I hear comments like this on occasion and have wanted to unpack them and answer them in a reasonable fashion. (not my usual habit).

By the way, this discussion is an example of a larger species of discussion that Jackmormon and Charles Bird have had regarding the term "race card". But not exactly.

Yes, I think we can see the change, and the change is progress.

Rosa Parks was in fact hated because of racial attributes placed on her by the society she tried to live in as the individual, Rosa Parks. She wasn't forced to sit in the back of the bus because she was an incompetent individual bus passenger, or because she was an impolite individual bus passenger, or because she was Rosa Parks, an individual minding her own business in a particular time and place.

Her individuality, her Rosa Parksedness, purportedly guaranteed by various documents, did not exist. In fact, even the hate directed at Parks was, what?, completely irrelevant? to reality, because it left out one important ingredient -- the individual Rosa Parks.

Condoleeza Rice, on the other hand, was born into a society in the midst of being re-shaped (not close to being fully re-shaped, but the improvement is vast) by folks like the individual Rosa Parks. Rice owes her accomplishments to individual effort -- her piano playing and her government service, etc.

Some might say affimative action played a part, too. I don't know. If it did, it was only in the sense that her individual accomplishments were provided recognition that would not have been provided pre-Rosa Parks.

That the race-card (vis a vis affirmative action) is played by both sides of the political spectrum is a fun sport, but it's not the subject of this comment, O. K.

The criticism (some actual hate, yes) and the praise (some actual love, too ;)) directed at Condoleeza Rice was earned by her through her individual actions and performance in government service. If she is hated, she should be honored by such hate, because she earned it not as a faceless member of a race, but as an incompetent* individual.

Heck, what could be more American than that?

I neither hate nor love Ray Charles, Nipsey Russell, Colin Powell, or Dontrelle Willis because Condoleeza Rice is incompetent. Her incompetence is hers alone. They get no credit for it. Although I do hate Dick Cheney because he reminds me of Louis Farrakhan. Then again, I like Gordon Parks because he is nothing like Dick Cheney who, if he was a race unto himself, would be required to sit at the back of the bus.

Here's one thing Rice gets to do, though. Also by individual choice. She gets to sit anywhere on the bus (bus having larger meaning here) she likes, along with Rosa Parks. Now if Ray Charles, by individual choice, would like to be a gentleman and give up his front seat to the ladies and sit in the back of his own volition, it's O.K. with me.

It's when Bubba has a problem with the above that I burn down Watts. (again, remember I speak in forked metaphors, which is to say that burning down a suburb might have been more effective and less self-directed). Then Bubba gets some affirmative action and there is no bus at all for him in it. Even though I'm sure Bubba is a loving father and a cheerful drinking partner, you know, for your typical rednecked, ignorant dumb-ass, who might be thinking of switching political parties because LBJ abandoned him and Nixon has thought up a clever strategy.

I hate Barry Bonds because he is a crappy individual. Most beautiful swing in the recent history of baseball and great acomplishments, but were I a manager I would give my multi-racial pitching staff (Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, and Luis Tiant) orders to nail him with a fastball right in the keester the next time he pauses to admire a homerun and point at the sky before he starts the homerun trot.

If he played on my team, I'd bat him third and hope to God he came up with guys on base. But if he displayed the behavior described above I'd be all over him after the high-fives in the dugout. Then Bob Gibson, of his own volition, would head for the clubhouse and take a baseball bat to Bonds' comfy chair and big-screen T.V.

Now, that is hate.

So, if I prefer Richard Pryor over Shecky Greene, what does that make me?

If I prefer Enrico Caruso's voice over Paul Robeson's voice, where does that leave me? Especially because I prefer Robeson's activism over Caruso's.

If I prefer Muhammed Ali over Leon Spinks, what then?

If I enjoy reading Ralph Ellison over James Baldwin, what am I? I'm torn between Flannery O'Conner and the early Eldridge Cleaver. Stop the bus, because the seating arrangement is thoroughly confusing. Everyone to the front where I can keep an eye on you!

*On the subject of competence or the lack thereof, I'm so liberal that I feel very badly for incompetent individuals, not to mention the lazy, which gets into personal territory. I believe in affirmative action for them, too. But if that is politically untenable, then I believe they should receive a lifetime annuity and medical coverage from government, which would have two advantages: preventing their starvation and death, or at least a crummy existence without ice cream (yeah, yeah, how unAmerican can I get?) AND getting them permanently out of the hair of those who make a fetish out of competence and efficiency in the workplace. Those who are merely competent and efficient without making a big effing deal about it will, of course, never notice because they are busy.

p.s. My rejoinder to the Korea thing will forever be forestalled because, lucky for all, I'm out of breath.

p.s. Nipsey Russell?

Nipsy Russell's recent passing was all but ignored by America. I doubt that Charles Nelson Reilly will be slighted that way.

LJ, two things.

One, the people who need to be reminded of Rosa Parks are exactly the people who ride those buses every day. Do you seriously think this is just about a bus ride? It's about standing up (while sitting down!) for your rights as a human being and whose rights are trampled upon more than our working poor? The modern wealthy could not care less and therefore are a waste of time to remind.

Secondly, all i did was shine a light on the poor response and it seemed to have worked. For hours before my comment the thread was virtually ignored and afterwards... well the time codes don't lie.

For a great while, though, they simply pled the Fifth.

One, the people who need to be reminded of Rosa Parks are exactly the people who ride those buses every day.

I'm obviously not in the best of moods, but doesn't this sound a wee bit noblesse oblige? Given the fact that the US public transportation system is in shambles, with the juicier bits doled out the private companies, putting Rosa Parks name on the longest bus route is less honoring her name and more painting the bus when you can't be bothered to actually buy a new one.

Public life seems to be filled with meaningless gestures, so any anger I have at this shouldn't be taken personally.

well the time codes don't lie.
No, but I don't believe they tell the whole truth. A glance around the internets or even around this site suggests that everyone is having problems posting comments. Assuming that no comments is representative of some opinion is probably a more problematic example of mindreading than drawing conclusions from a comment because the absence of comments can be caused by any number of factors completely unrelated to the opinion of the commenter.

The threadjack I was trying for: a dicussion of the costs and benefits of activism, which could be examined thru the lens of Rosa Parks life. The threadjack I got: Condi Rice. So it goes.

Given the fact that the US public transportation system is in shambles,

There is one?

putting Rosa Parks name on the longest bus route is less honoring her name and more painting the bus when you can't be bothered to actually buy a new one

Jonathan Kozol (The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America) remarked recently on Book TV that if a school is underfunded and overcrowded it's probably named after MLK.

Nipsy Russell's recent passing was all but ignored by America.

In your town, maybe. Among my friends, his death was widely remarked on as a sad thing. I expect CNR's passing will be as well. Anyway, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? A hint, Dave, you'd be a much clearer (and better) writer if you insinuated less and explained more.

Rice in Canada.

Anyway, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

Although my comment seemed like off-topic riffing of some sort, it was actually a sequiter. I blame John Thullen!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned Nipsey's passing at my workplace and was surprised how few people knew who he was.

I also thought I'd link to a clever little joke by Nipsey that I pretty much agree with.

GO WHITE SOX!

Looks like dead thread. but I'll prattle on. I am 2 degrees of separation from

Adolf Hitler: I shook Martin Heidigger's hand.

Most politicians in the 60s: I shook my Representative Jim Duncan's hand

Martin Luther King: I shook Bob Booker's hand (and blurted out "You were in my 8th grade history book!")

Now, rilkefan may have listened to Bob Booker on the radio, but I doubt that many other people have heard of him or connect his name to the sit-in protests.

The rest of this comment is only for people who want to spend quite a bit of time examining what the situation has been in the city I grew up in.

WARNING WARNING WARNING!!!! BIG HONKING PDF FILES IN LINKS in increasingly humongous order,

For your considerastion:

Bob Booker has real credentials as a civil rights activist, yet is has concentrated on doing things locally.

Knoxville has always been a Republican enclave, but has taken a serious look at racial problems. Noteworthy is that Levi Strauss helped commision the report, but now 10 years later they do not have a manufacturing plant in Knoxville.

Conservative Christian organizations that really do try to address problems in our society are not necessarily racist.

My points are:

1919 was probably the low point in post-bellum race relations, not the 50's or 60's as some people think.

Things have gotten worse for poor people regardless of race, who live in single parent households.

The poverty problem and resulting racial ineqaulity problem in the US as it currently exists is best addressed as an issue of how to keep families together, as opposed to that of whether new social programs are needed. And Bob Booker thinks that this is true as well.

1919 was probably the low point in post-bellum race relations, not the 50's or 60's as some people think.

DaveC, I'm just wondering why you feel 1919 is. It's an interesting question, is it worse when you are at the absolute bottom or is it when it appears that victory/justice is just out of your grasp? The Mississippi River flood might be the former (and Hoover's suppression of the report on the incident after promising to deal with the problem as president marked the turning away of African Americans from the Republican party) while the latter might be the Emmett Till. I'm guessing you are thinking about the Chicago Race Riots of 1919 and the Red Summer, but there were others, most notably the 1943 Detroit race riots

But I think it is a bit silly to try and define the 'worst' time for race relations because could suggest that we should be happy with the situation because it is not as bad as it could be. Also, this certainly cuts against your comparison of Rosa Parks and Condi Rice, as Rosa Parks world in the early 60's would, by any measure, be much worse that the time when Rice was moving into the adult world.

Is Condoleeza Rice perhaps more hated than the rest of the Bush administration because she is black/because she is female?

-Answer: perhaps. Attacks on her, based on her gender or her skin color, are certainly unfair and alarming, and there's no saying whether or not she gets an extra degree of hostility because of her gender and her skin color - if she is more hated, by some people, than Dick Cheney, then to me that would suggest gender/skin color have something to do with it.

(Me, I never can decide whether I hate Bush, Cheney, or Rove worse. Rice doesn't really come in to it.)

Rosa Parks was a key part of the civil rights movement that got Condoleeza Rice to where she could be hated - as I believe she is - for her actions and her political loyalties, not her skin color. Bush isn't hated because he's white: he's hated because he's a disaster-area President. Rice isn't hated (my impression is) because she's black: she's hated (when she is) because she's part of a disaster-area administration that is pro-torture, lets ideology rule common sense, and rotten with corruption.

DaveC wrote: The poverty problem and resulting racial ineqaulity problem in the US as it currently exists is best addressed as an issue of how to keep families together, as opposed to that of whether new social programs are needed.

I agree to an extent but suspect we disagree substantially about how to go about this. I would emphasize living wages, affordable housing, child care, and restructured (more lenient) criminal sentencing.

And I don't hate Rice, but I think she hasn't been a strong NSA advisor or an effective Sec of State.

I agree to an extent but suspect we disagree substantially about how to go about this. I would emphasize living wages, affordable housing, child care, and restructured (more lenient) criminal sentencing.

I'd agree that sentencing is too severe for drug possession crimes if they are not related to gang activities. As far as living wages is concerned, in Chicago at least, the trades are particularly hard to get into, and worse, the unions seem to exclude blacks. So I think that the labor movement has missed opportunities here.

I'm guessing you are thinking about the Chicago Race Riots of 1919 and the Red Summer

Yes I was thinking that way. I want to point out that many of the riots at that time were fueled by unsubstantiated rumors, and as we saw in New Orleans, rumor mongering still exists to this day.

if she didnt do wat she did i may have been the same wich is good for some poeple but we gave them rights so lets see them get off there butts and work oh and i do not support obama

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