I wonder how often social justice activists (such as myself) advocate for certain causes and communities as a way to deflect analyzing the ways in which we propagate systemic violence in our everyday lives and the ways in which we don’t do anything to end the oppression right in front of us.
Image description: #1: Photo of a bus painted blue, looking clean and in good repair, with four icons (restroom man, restroom woman, mixed restroom man/woman, and person in a wheelchair) under shower heads. #2: Photo of a spacious, completely accessible restroom and roll-in shower.
The key point here is that they designed this in consultation with the people who will be using it. It’s mobile so it can meet people where they are. It has private showers so women (and trans/gender nonconforming people, I would add, although the article doesn’t) feel safe. It has a secure place to store your things. And one of the four showers is completely accessible. I know a lot of wheelchair users who might rather use this shower than the ones in their own homes.
This ‘drunk history’ left out the “respectability” aspect as to why the NAACP chose Rosa Parks to be the face and not Claudette Colvin. I’m glad they touched on colorism as that was a big factor, but they left out something major. Colvin was a teen mom. Colvin was pregnant when the NAACP planned on using her civil disobedience as a catalyst for the Montgomery bus boycotts. So Claudette Colvin was an unmarried, dark skinned pregnant teenager. All things that Rosa Parks was not, and this is why the NAACP cast Colvin aside. Colvin had her baby in December 1955, the same month Rosa Parks got arrested on the bus.
It really was an awful display of respectability politics by the NAACP. By making no mention of Colvin’s pregnancy, this video really didn’t hit the full point home.
Also, Rosa Parks did not sit in the ‘white section’ of the bus as ‘drunkenly explained’ in the video. She was sitting in the ‘colored section’. What happened was that some white passengers were standing and the bus driver demanded that Parks give up her seat by moving further back. She refused. That’s why she was arrested. She wasn’t arrested for sitting in the ‘white section’ of the bus as commonly explained.
“It really was an awful display of respectability politics by the NAACP.”
This quote. Ughhhhh.
Its disrespectful when some person 50 years later describing something as harrowing as the Montgomery bus boycotts “awful.”
Test cases for the NAACP had to meet certain criteria in order of standing a chance against a white supremacist legal system and monstrous odds against them. It wasn’t like Black people were sitting around dreaming up respectability politics to disappoint your “righteous” self.