Preparing Our Children

5

February 15, 2012 by jooshanoosh

So, I’m glad Ken took a moment to remind us of young love and young love still harbored. But I would like to place my focus on our American History. It’s almost the same thing.

This week, a pretty horrible video was put up on Youtube of a “comedian” who put on blackface and tromped onto BYU Campus and asked students their thoughts on Black History. Needless to say, no one looked good. The students, with cameras on them, gave into what I assume they thought was the easy joke. “Q: How do you celebrate Black History Month? A: We love our fried chicken and grape juice.” “Q: Name a Black Historical Figure? A: Samuel Jackson.” “Q: Everyone has a ‘Black Person’ impression, what’s yours? A:…” as you can imagine, it wasn’t good. Appropriately, the “comedian” is coming under a lot of fire for using blackface. Unfortunately, he’s from Utah so the whole lot of us come off looking, well, dumb.

It’s all really bad and it’s all a little close to our house, so in celebration of Black History Month, I wanted to post a little something about an inspiring woman and a major player in our American History.

Rosa Parks

I know it may feel cliché; there are literally thousands of people to choose from, but hers is such a good story and there is more than you may know.

You’ll remember that she was riding the bus coming home from work. A white man asked for the seat and she said no, was arrested, the black community boycotted the bus system until the buses became fully integrated.

What I didn’t know is that she was sitting with three black men on the bus. They got up to move, and she stayed. I didn’t know that it wasn’t that she was tired from work, but that she was tired from life and having to move back for white guys. I didn’t know that the boycott lasted 382 days: it wasn’t a quick sentence in a book, it was more than a year of walking (some people more than 20 miles a day), carpooling, or taking African American operated taxis (these cab companies eventually had their insurance canceled in an attempt to end the boycott). And it was 40,000 African American people boycotting every day! Rosa Parks and her husband lost their jobs and had to move to Virgina. And the end of the Boycott did not come from a sweeping feeling of injustice on behalf of the bus company or the city of Montgomery, or the state of Alabama. It was the Supreme Court shoving a law down to the state that forced them to integrate the bus system. Imagine, after all that, getting back on the bus only because the people who persecuted you were now being forced to let you on. How those people must have looked.

I don’t like this part of our history, but I like it even less when it’s not history but something we have to face today, and that my daughter will face tomorrow. I love these words from Mrs. Parks: “Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.” I’m sure she was speaking to a group of African American people when she said to “prepare our children for what they have to meet,” but thinking about those white students who gave in to doing impressions of how black people walk and talk and eat, not necessarily because they were malicious but because they thought it would be funny, it seems more important the we white parents “prepare our children for what they have to meet…

and, hopefully, we shall overcome.”

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
– Rosa Parks

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired.…the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
– Rosa Parks
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”
– Rosa Parks
“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.”
– Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks passed away on October 24, 2005 at the age of 92. Her casket was placed in the rotunda of the United States Capitol for two days. This is an honor usually only reserved for Presidents when they die. People waited in line for pay their respects.

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5 thoughts on “Preparing Our Children

  1. Josh says:

    Thanks Patrick. I didn't know a lot of those details either. I saw the video of which you speak and I was pretty bugged. Bugged that college kids came off looking so stupid. Bugged that the video was edited to make it look that way (who know how many kids he talked to that actually had smart things to say.) Bugged that it was trying to make a statement about BYU and Mormons, when I am sure you could have gotten similar answers at almost any college. And bugged that the guy was in blackface. It sort of negated everything he thought he was doing.I think your post did a great thing, however. Instead of linking to the video, which is rascist and negative and ignorant and has had enough play time, you educated and informed. If we are worried about the state of American youth, let's not just point a finger and laugh/be shocked.

  2. I love this post. Thanks for writing it.

  3. Amy says:

    Fantastic post, Patrick.

  4. Chris Liv says:

    Well said Patrick. Very impressive piece of writing. The thought of the police yanking Ms. Parks off that bus and throwing her in jail just because she didn't give her seat up is crazy to think about. What a great reminder of how we got to where we are today.

  5. Emily says:

    it seems more important the we white parents "prepare our children for what they have to meet…So true, Patrick! This was a great post. Thanks for sharing.

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