This is the most important question for every institution: “Who’s in charge here?” The second question is this: “To whom do I report?” Then there is this question: “What are the rules?” Then this: What happens if I either obey or disobey?” Finally, this: “Does this outfit have a future?”
To understand how these questions apply, consider this question. Should Rosa Parks have been excommunicated by her church for her open rebellion in 1955 against lawful civil authority? She refused to surrender her bus seat to a white male, when told to do so by the bus driver. This broke the law.
If she had been a member of a white church, she probably would have been brought under church discipline. But would this have been just? Would you trust a church that would do this?
There is a reason why I am raising this issue. I will get to this later.
TAKING A STAND BY WALKING AWAY
A bus driver, acting on behalf of the city’s bus company, told her to give her seat to a white man. She refused. The driver called two policemen, who told her to do the same thing. She refused. Next, this:
Next, the blacks started a boycott of the bus system. This was illegal. No one was allowed to boycott the government-run bus company unless it was for a “just cause.” The city arrested 89 boycott organizers. The boycott did not stop. This imposed negative financial sanctions on the bus company. Blacks were 75% of the riders.
Next, black car owners started driving others to work for as little as 10 cents a ride. Illegal! The city had previously mandated 45 cents, minimum. So, the car owners started driving people to work for free. They did this for just over a year.
A little over a year after Rosa Parks broke the law, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the practice of bus segregation was illegal. This decision came from an earlier refusal to surrender a seat, but Parks’ name has always been associated with the Court’s case. It overturned all state laws that had mandated segregation in public transportation — a legal tradition that had imposed segregation on profit-seeking trolley firms, which had not segregated passengers. That was the end of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896): “separate but equal” in public transportation. It was the beginning of the end of the Jim Crow South, which had been made Jim Crow by state laws. Fifteen years later, the Jim Crow South was gone. It no longer had any public defenders, in both senses.
Today, Parks’ stand is usually seen as a courageous stand for justice against a corrupt civil government. It was in fact a courageous refusal to stand. It was an act of civil disobedience. So were the acts of the two women who had done the same thing earlier in the year.
She is still regarded as a lawless sinner in the opinion of Protestant legalists — a woman deserving of excommunication. This movement commands obedience to all civil authorities, no matter what. She broke the law in trying to change the law. That, by the way, was exactly what Homer Plessy had done in 1892. The corruption began in the halls of the state and was extended to the free market: privately owned city transportation companies. All that the privately owned companies wanted was fares. They had no social agenda. The politicians in the 1890’s had a social agenda. Rosa Parks pulled the plug in 1955, and the boycott kept it pulled. It nearly bankrupted the bus company.
When the initial resistance began, the city was in charge. The Supreme Court had said so in 1896. In December 1956, the Court reversed itself. The city was no longer in charge. There would be no legal segregation on the buses. There would be no more arrests of blacks who sat tight. It took a lot of lawbreakers to gain this reversal.
Then there is question number five: “Does this outfit have a future?” The Jim Crow South had no future. Its time was about to run out. It had been weighed in the balance and found wanting. “The state giveth, but the Feds taketh away.”
Now I will extend this analysis to the case at hand: bullying in tax-funded schools.
THE VICTIMS CAN GAIN CONTROL
I have written for years about bullies in public schools. I have presented a series of strategies for the victims to use against the authorities who condone such bullying. You can read my materials here: