On Twitter, the RNC implies that racism in America “ended” with Rosa Parks, fifty-eight years ago
Fifty-eight years, ago (counted back from 2013), on December 1, 1955, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, a black woman from Montgomery, Alabama, refused to step to the back of a bus to sit down in the ‘colored section,’ marking the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott to end segregationist laws in the U.S.
The Civil Rights Movement according to the RNC
This year, the Republican National Committee sort of stepped in it with a tweet that suggested racism in America ended after Rosa Parks. As Politicususa reports, the tweet said:
Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism.
That statement is very questionable, to say the least. The pronouncement of the end of racism in America is premature today, and would have been even more so by orders of magnitude almost sixty years ago.
Racism is alive and well
I would like to mention just a few issues to illustrate this reality: The Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case, the level of hostility against President Obama that goes way beyond any reasonable (and deserved!) criticism of his administration’s policies, and countless stories about harassment and excessive use of force by the police, in particular against people of color.
We, ahem, misspoke
The RNC then deleted the tweet above and replaced it with this one:
Previous tweet should have read “Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in fighting to end racism.”
To be fair, everyone can make mistakes in social media. But the GOP and the RNC are not just “Joe Sixpack” who happens to have a smartphone to tweet from.
Ending racism with voter ID laws?
In the past election cycles, the GOP has been actively working to make voting harder for (poor) people of color and other demographic groups who would likely support Democrats by implementing various voter ID laws (see here, here, and here). In this light, the RNC’s honoring of Rosa Parks and their very loose interpretation of civil rights history might be seen much more cynically.
You can watch a discussion of the issue from the progressive talk show Majority Report with Sam Seder here:
“RNC Tries to Cover Tracks Over Tweet Saying Racism has Ended.” (Justin Baragona, Politicususa, 2013/12/02)