Rosa Parks Way

While driving to a picnic on Saturday, I was disoriented to discover that a portion of “Capitol Parkway” had been renamed Rosa Parks Way. I was first struck by the criminal nature of this pun, and then secondly struck by how it seems typical of how misguided much of black community politics is.

Much self-consciously “black” politics seems to focus on either the deification of early leaders or rent seeking. Strivers such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, and Jessee Jackson are celebrated, in a move that both marginalizes non-Southern black political cliques and obscures the actual nature of their opponents. The other purpose of the movement appears to be the political diversion of funds from other parts of the conomy. Companies are Coca-Cola are urged to spend resources on the victorious southern black clique, while “affirmative action” programs broaden the clique’s powerbase in an iron triangle of patronage.

Latino politics, in contrast, seems focused on a different goal: increasing the number of latinos. This has been quite effective. Rising from negligible status, latinos have risen to be the largest “minority” group in the country. At their current rate of growth, it’s likely that in the future “Latinos” will be all places and no places in the same way that, say, “German-Americans” are.

America may be tuned for a large supply of low-wage labor, but the fact is that labor is not coming from the Afro-Carribena or even Africa. The largest quantity of new immigrants are coming from Mexico and the rest of Latin America.

In part because of their different political strategies, the “black community” has consumed greater resources than would otherwise be the case but have made little systematic headway over the past generation. Latinos, by contrast, are becoming every more powerful.

Because they have avoided the “Rosa Parks Way” of doing politics.

4 thoughts on “Rosa Parks Way”

  1. To help illustrate your point: How many Asian-Americans are there in congress?

    I don't know, and I don't care.

    The point is that by any measure the Asian-American population is, by any measure, doing extremely well in this country. The great tragedy of black America is that they fell into this belief that in order to be equal, they needed equal representation in the 'halls of power'. This representation, and now some say over-representation has not benefited them one iota. In fact, it has been to their great detriment. Now that they have streets in their names, is that what they needed to now get ahead?

  2. One also sees how Latinos are willing to integrate their structures with other groups in order to advance.
    If the Congressional Black Caucus rejects newly elected Rep. Cao’s attempt to join the CBC, it will serve to prove to non-blacks that the Rosa Parks Way is still the way to go in the Age of Obama.

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