rosa parks and thoughts on racism

Rosa Parks - my collage

On 1st December 1955 when my mother was nearly 6 years old, something happened in a land far far away where the law stated and allowed for segregation and discrimination based on skin colour, painfully obvious in-your-face racism. Rosa Parks, an African-American woman in Montgomery, Alabama refused to give up her seat in the middle section of a public bus even after being told to do so by the bus driver when a Caucasian man wanted a seat in the same section. The public act of defiance led to her getting arrested and jailed, and triggered a massive civil rights movement that changed America’s history. You can read more about the boycotting of public transport here, and some bits about Rosa Parks here.

Sweet. But let’s not forget that Rosa Parks was not just tired of sometimes the bus drivers taking fares then zoomed off when she had to get down to go to the end of the bus. She was also heavily involved in the NAACP. While there are some who claim that there were other people who refused to give up their seats prior to Rosa Parks but were not accredited accordingly, I say bad luck and timing lah, she was the secretary of NAACP and the powers that be thought that her story served a nicer inspiration.

This kind of thing also want to dispute. Sien. Why not discuss and dispute this? Is it right to want to preserve cultural aspects based on race and genes bordering on racism?

Anyway there are many types of racism and a lot of forms of racism are still heavily practised today. In our modern politically correct world, direct discrimination like in Rosa Park’s case will be met with outright rage and disbelief, and if you are the person or company practising it, serves you right lah.

But then the theories of racism and discrimination are ideas that evolved with time. What was seen as acceptable in the olden times when people were not as anal as today (one of the reasons was due to lack of platform opportunities for the discriminated back then) can be widely protested against today, disputable as they are. As I mentioned before, I was reading a book on Richard Feynman and during his later days he faced much protest when his first autobiography “Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Feynman” was published. Women rights campaigners lobbied against his choice of words they defined as ‘sexist’ and ‘male-chauvinistic’, discriminating women in science. So now you have a whole discussion or argument on whether or not R.F.’s own words acted out during his time were right or wrong, and/or could and could not be read/published today. Grey area, I am not going into it, never ending discussion.

I often have conversations with KY other than superficial stuff like men, women, beer, blogs and koi pond. It was pointed out that many companies in the States practise reverse racism and not unlike Malaysia it is actually legal. So something like a company has 3 top spots available, and one of the three top spots has to go to a person who is the most qualified in his race, and not the most qualified in the entire country regardless of race. On the surface it doesn’t sound right and it is quite patronising at the expense of the company’s productivity and performance.

BUT then, factors like basic human rights are not always equal, each slice of the pie is often not the same shape and size and some people may not even get the pie. Translated, certain opportunities available to some people may not necessarily be available to others, and most of the time they are due to background and money. When you already have something so segregated like that, quality of education in public and private schools for example, the chances of getting the pie often is slim to none, which I don’t think is fair. Not to say that reverse racism is fair to those who have had or could have such opportunities, but these social factors must be taken into consideration.

Money makes the world go round. In many aspects, money can buy you better health, longevity and can even give you the healthiest, more ‘durable’ kids what with all the genetic research. It is happening already; what is scary is that it will eventually be discrimination based on genes, the whole Gattaca scenario where you will no longer be a second class race, but a second class human. In that scenario, given a person who had all the benefits that money could buy including tempering of genes and a person who have not such benefits who would have to take sick leaves now and then, both of equal knowledge and education and experience – based on competence and future-productivity level, which person do you think the company would hire?

Scary scary scary. All boils down to a suitable balance between socialism and capitalism. But… who can play God?

Just my Thursday thoughts.

Comments

  1. Totally agree.

    There is a good movie on racism also: Crash. Star-studded cast, excellent movie.

    Would like see someone review on that.

  2. hmm macam the latest boycott of products endorsed by bad public figure campaign also laaa tsk tsk tsk …

  3. Another good movie on racism is American History X.

  4. spiller: will have to check on that. I’ve seen quite a bit of racism/nazi/etc related movies, some not so well known or really bad direction, but the stories make you think.

    Wingz: I’m not as imaginative as you lah. heh

    nicktay: Seen that, very raw. One of my fav. movies of all time.

  5. I have Crash, I’ll review it later, American History X, Romper Stomper are also excellent.

    AMX is one of my favourite movies ever.

  6. minishorts says:

    when i think about legalized organizations like the national vanguard, i feel pretty lucky to be in malaysia. seriously.

  7. I think Crash has a lot of very interesting hidden meanings. Quite cool too.

  8. Interesting that you should refer to the American policy as “reverse racism” instead of “affirmative action”.

    You’re right in pointing out that the societal factors need to be considered in greater balance over perceived unfairness to any particular demographic. The rationale for affirmative action is after all, to redress the historical institutionalised socie-economic sidelining of certain segments of the populace, usually a minority.

    The system in place in Malaysia was necessary, given the economic disparity between the races at the time. It just so happens that the sidelined segment was the majority. And it doesn’t mean that the system shouldn’t be subject to periodic review.

    Sigh. I sound too fuddy duddily serious.

  9. but you always have ur pie, suanie, and u eat them too. mostly at starbucks or secret recipe…

  10. “But hor, who can play God?” -> i don’t know… maybe him?

    it’s not a question of can or cannot, it’s just a matter of time

    an intersting article here

  11. ST: pinjammmmmmm :D

    minishorts: NV to me is scary. But from another point of view leh, it is not wrong to want to preserve your race and all the cultural values that comes with it. When it goes on to blatant discrimination and hate propaganda, then yes KILL THEM KILL THEM ALLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BWAHHAHAHAH …. sorry.

    Vincent: This post also got some hidden meanings :P

    spot: racism is racism is racism. affirmative action in my opinion is a politically correct term to make it sound more acceptable for those who do not really understand the whys and hows of reverse racism. i could be wrong though. let me check wikipedia…

    “Some countries, such as the United Kingdom, use the term “reverse discrimination” to describe the policies termed “affirmative action” in other countries, such as the US.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_racism

    So it’s a manner of speaking.

    I agree about the periodic review. I think it would make the country healthier and more progressive, so if some people would actually stop thinking about themselves and their own gains for a bit…

    KY: those are called cakes. and they are good.

    senbai: my .pdf thingy not working :X will look at it later when i find out what’s wrong with it.

    “it’s just a matter of time” –> i hope i’d be dead by then. this world is getting too crazy.

  12. Yeah, it is the same thing. Exactly as you put it. AA is used by proponents (politically correct), and RR is used by its critics, even in the US. I was just wondering why the use of RR when you were at the same time acknowledging the societal need for the system.

  13. I can play God, but only in certain computer games … actually some of the older ones like Populace.

    In some cases I can understand the need for reverse Racism. In the instance of Australia, where they had a policy that anywhere [town] which had fourteen or more white kids automatically got a school. Yet there were Aboriginal Settlement which had more kids than that didn’t get a school or a doctor or anything. So bringing that into line and building the schools, hospitals etc based on the fact that they’d been discriminated against I can see a need for {though some parties in Australia fought against it claiming it was being to generous to a group who represented only 2% of the population). So, I think making up for the fact that they’d received less than there fair share in the past is resonable (regardless of how small their population is compared to the rest of us).

    But, like I think you are saying, [correct me if I am worng] there is a fine line. You can go too far in one direction and make it so that you eventually start using the policy to discriminate against better qualified people. The problem is finding a balance and then using ways to check to make sure it doesn’t swing too far in either direction to disadvantage everyone in the long run.

    As for preserving cultures etc – there is a fine line there too. The Taliban was using ‘culture’ as a weapon to discriminate against women, removing them from positions such as being Doctors and Teachers and making them wear total body coverings etc. Yet, some cultures have been entirely lost to us because of ‘conquering’ tribes/people etc making everyone conform to the ‘new’ culture of the conquerers. It’s important to conserve cultures and other ways of thinking. Somuch innovation will be lost if we all have to start thinking like American’s because their ‘pop culture’ is starting to overwhealm the planet.

    For someone like me (who can get easily bored with too much ‘sameness’), I need other places and cultures to immerse myself in every now and then.
    **sigh** no wonder I lived in Hurstville in Sydney – it was like Chinatown!

  14. spot: I didn’t know that the terms AA and RR were used by proponents and critics of the practise. I don’t know if it should, but it doesn’t make any difference to me.

    I do acknowledge the need for the system. At the same time it is not going to be fair for any sole demographic, micro wise I find myself asking what are the guidelines, so to speak regarding to what is already implemented here and elsewhere. It’s something I’m going to read up and learn more about when I have some spare time.

    Dabido: you should really talk to Dr. B. He has some pretty strong opinions about this heh. But try next week onwards, this week he is trying to be a bad mofo.

  15. I can tell you why we’re never going to discriminate based on genes because there is never a hard coorelation that eugenics determines success or superiority. Sure you can be faster, stronger and smarter, but to determine success? Gattaca tells us that there is no gene for the human spirit and will. even us biotechnologists agree that determination of a person is as much defined by nurture as it is influenced by nature. It’s both…so that’s one world you won’t have to worry about.

  16. Oh and one more thing. Race was never a scientific fact. It’s just something we thought we discovered a long time that the media got wind of and twisted it based on our fears and age old beliefs. But don’t take my word for it, I just play God and get paid. :)

  17. watch the 6 episodes mini series “Into the West”. it talks about the white people landed on the east coast of america and gradually moving toward the west, and finally all of the continent, how the red indians suffered, etc.

    back to the modern days…in the america, quite a number of troubled kids fallen into the wrong hands, and they become the instrument of false hope. usually, they are scattered and do not post major threats; it is those who are behind the curtain we should pay attention.

    to me, even in m’sia, it’s just the same. you have to be careful. the white man say what they think, but other races might not. so, what’s going on inside their heads you don’t know…

  18. Hi,
    I’m jacob Harding and I’ve written a book thatI believe you may find interesting. The title of the book is Forgive Me, I’m White.

    It discusses various aspects of reverse discrimination. The book describes various games that are played with the racist card etc.

    Go to the URL ForgiveMeImWhite.com
    And let me know what you think of the site.
    Hope you enjoy the site.
    Sincerely,
    Jacob Harding.

  19. wahlau, your post is super LOOOOOONG, i think i’ll go home and read it..

  20. whoa this really helped me with my hitory report:)

  21. azarai finley says:

    omgeee rosa parks is a real inspiration in my life i thank her and everyone who had gone through this terrible situation and also the kidds who faught for our freedom. they all did make a huge diffrence. i love u king and rosa and malcom xx
    r.i.p yew all<33
    :(

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