On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks, a quiet seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a White man who felt entitled because he was White and she was Black. Parks was arrested, taken to jail. Parks was tried, found guilty, and fined. When asked why she didn't get up and give the white man the seat she said, " It was a matter of dignity. I could not have faced myself and my people if I had moved."
Civil Rights Attorney Gloria Allred is the latest non-African American to invoke the name of Rosa Parks and, by implication, the Civil Rights movement for their own beneficial purposes. I am (and Black folks that I talk to are) sick and tired of being used and insulted by those who adapt and sometimes hi-jack the Civil Rights movement and its giants and martyrs to get what they want. Gays and lesbians say their movement is like ours; Latinos say the immigration movement is like ours. The gays and lesbians don't go to jail for just being who they are, and those who are in America illegally are simply given transportation back to their homeland. Neither group had to go to jail, or pay a fine, or go to trial for being who they are. While some illegal immigrants and gays and lesbians are tortured by those who don't like them, there is no government policy that says the authorities are legally empowered to punish them because they are who they are.
On September 30, 2010 when Gloria Allred made a declaration that "Nikki... is a hero in this story. She is the courageous Rosa Parks of the movement to win respect and dignity for Latinas and others in the workplace," she insulted the whole African American Civil Rights movement of the '60's and the heroes that rose from that movement. To put it simply, Nikki ain't no Rosa Parks. Nikki was breaking the law. She was breaking the immigration law and, by apparently lying on her employment application, she was perjuring herself, a fact that she divulged with her lawyer, Gloria Allred, standing nearby.
As a note, I wonder why her attorney allowed her client to incriminate herself on national television. The answer I get from observers is that Gloria Allred may have been more concerned about getting her name on air than the Fifth Amendment Rights of her client, but I don't know. Maybe she was concerned about helping Jerry Brown get elected instead of Meg Whitman. As for me it matters not since neither Brown or Whitman has spent any of their millions with the Black Press, indicating the Democrats continue to take our votes for granted and the Republicans really don't seem to give a damn about Black folks. To put it another way, when entertainer Kanye West said "George Bush doesn't care about Black Folks," that could be applied to the Republican Party now, including Meg Whitman.
No, Nikki is no hero she is a criminal and should be sent to jail along with her employer, Meg Whitman, just as they would have been if they were Black, not because she was an illegal immigrant, but because they each committed perjury. Whitman seems to have lied about knowing Nikki's status. In the law, they would say she either knew or should have known under the circumstances. Furthermore, Nikki's lawyer should be punished since she allowed her client to admit her perjury on national television.
As a Black lawyer and a Black newspaper publisher, I quote another Civil Rights giant, Fannie Lou Hamer, who said "we are sick and tired of being sick and tired." We sit by and watch as people like Shirley Sherrod is fired for allegedly doing nothing wrong; we sit by and watch as young White folks like Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton go to jail for a few hours for possession of cocaine while our young people are sentenced and fill up the prisons for possession of marijuana and at the same time are denied a quality education.
Who is going to help us regain our dignity and our equality of opportunity, Whitman? Brown? Or will they end up reaching out to the same so-called leaders instead of our Black economic institutions like the Black press?
Attorney Allred we await your apology. Ms. Whitman and Mr. Brown we await your acknowledgement that you want the Black community's support and that you haven't taken us for granted.