Rosa Parks redux

This American Life contributor Sarah Vowell has a beautiful essay on the persistence of Rosa Parks analogies in American discourse. In it, figures from all points on the political spectrum for causes both grand and banal compare their struggles to Rosa Parks (click on Real Networks icon and fast forward to 48 minutes to listen to her read that essay...).

And yes, there's a bit of indignity underlying the humor. Who among us has earned the right?

Well, Cindy Sheehan certainly has a decent case and, unlike many (if not all) of the subjects of Vowell's essay, Sheehan doesn't make the analogy for herself, Cenk Uygar of the Young Turks does in a hilarious attempt to contextualize the right's smears of a grieving mother. Indeed, how would Fox treat Rosa Parks today?

A taster:


"Rosa Parks claims she speaks for all of the African-Americans in the South, but in fact, we have found two African-Americans who say they disagree with her. They say she’s just trying to gain publicity and doesn’t speak for anyone in her race. They would know, they’re black."
"We have found three members of the Parks family who say that Rosa doesn’t speak for them. That, in fact, they are very happy with the government of the state of Alabama. The uncle, step-brother-in-law and niece three-times removed all agree that the better route is a dignified, respectful silent deference to authority. Developing …"
"We have just found information that before Rosa Parks sat in the front of the bus, there were numerous times, she sat in the back of the bus! Ah ha! A flip-flopper!"
"I think I speak for the entire Parks family, and especially her children, when I say that they are so embarrassed by their mother who is making a public spectacle of herself."
"Rosa Parks has turned this whole so-called civil rights issue into a public circus. We have information that Ted Kennedy might have put her up to this. That amazing story when we come back!"
"You’re right, Sean. I’m sorry."
(Huffington Post)

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.