I did not want to be mistreated…

8 Feb

We have had a comment on our Facebook page today suggesting: “Ask your council to include on radio traffic updates a reminder the pedestrians have a right to walk in the road, esp when the footway is covered in snow and ice (and the road is clear thanks to the gritting we all pay for). Drivers should keep speed down and proceed with utmost caution.”

Needless to say, pedestrians are hardly allowed to use the pavement at all, except in places and at times where it is not required by motorists. I am reminded of when Rosa Parks refused to stand up on the bus in Montgomery to allow a white man to sit down (the deal at the time there was that ‘colored’ people were only allowed to sit in the colored section of the bus, which was demarcated by a movable sign hung from the ceiling). As normal, the sign was moved backwards on that day to provide enough space for a white person to sit down. Of course, Rosa refused to stand, all hell broke loose leading to a bitter civil struggle which continued for years. Life afterwards for Rosa was not easy but the story of her gentle defiance is  told to every child in the land and her body now lies in state in Washington. In 1992 She explained that:

I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time… there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn’t hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.

Not wishing to be over dramatic, but there are parallels. Blacks were expected to retreat as required for the convenience of whites, and pedestrians are currently expected to retreat as required for the convenience of motorists. Anyone who challenges the status quo has hell to pay.

Rosa Parks, with Dr. Martin Luther King jr in background 1955 (USIA)

With thanks to Wikipedia!

One Response to “I did not want to be mistreated…”

  1. Graham Martin-Royle February 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    I just watched the twitter feed about the zebra crossing.

    That’s just the sort of thing we need. We shouldn’t have to take second place to motor vehicles any more, they should be giving way to us.

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