Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happy Rosa Parks Day

So today is the anniversary of Rosa Parks decision not to give up her bus seat to a white man. And, unlike most people tell the story, I recently learned that she did not refuse to get up because she was too tired after having worked all day. In an interview with NPR that she gave several months before her death, she said that she was indeed tired but desire for social change more than weariness kept her from getting up. And a small decision, a small stand for change, fueled a much large movement for change. It's amazing! It gives me hope that social change of all types is still possible if people take the time to do their part. Not to rant, but it's been on my mind for awhile, especially in the classes I teach: there is so very little concept of social justice left in the average person's mind. My students seem to think that the world works a certain way and that there's nothing they can do about it so why try.

You don't even have to be an African-American to appreciate what Parks did. As a woman, I appreciate that she didn't leave the work of civil rights to men or politicians or anyone else; she saw what needed to be done and got involved. She was a true example of feminism, which oddly enough is another topic that keeps coming up lately (and I swear I'm not the one always bringing it up). Most people, women included, seem to have a pretty misguided or shallow view of feminism. Feminism is not about hating men. Feminism is not about wearing socks and Birks and not shaving. Feminism is not about telling a woman what she must do with her future. Equality and the opportunity to choose from any number of options is the name of the game. Can we really hate the group we want to become equal with? Don't hate the man; hate the ingrained cultural ideas about women that have been passed on for millinea. And you can wear whatever you want as long as it's for yourself...I'll be honest--I like a good lip gloss and enjoy having shaven legs :) And unlike a good friend of mine thinks, as a feminist, I'm not condemning a woman's choice to be a stay-at-home mother if she so chooses. That's what the modern feminist movement was all about--giving women options. As long as an individual gives back to the world in some way...And we've come full circle back to having a social conscience.

I'm not sure this blog would pass as completely coherent, but those are some of the issues that have been on my mind the last few days. I'll sit back now and wait for the controversy I'm sure will ensue.


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