What If the Rosa Parks We Know Is a Complete Myth?
It's been 60 years since Rosa Parks stood up for equality on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus. What would she have to say today?
It was in Montgomery, Alabama, that Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat to a white passenger as the rules of segregation demanded of her at the time. She was arrested, in a move that initiated a 381-day bus boycott, which many see as the formal beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
Parks’ past actions are justifiably getting a lot of attention, given this momentous anniversary. She was recently praised by President Barack Obama for her “grace, dignity, and refusal to tolerate injustice.” And Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made her way to the church where Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor to give a speech. All this public praise confirms that America’s image of Parks is as a respectable, peaceful woman, who was simply looking to sit down at the end of a long day.
But not everyone is happy with the way we remember the now-deceased activist. Jeanne Theoharis is a professor who actually wrote a book, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, to clear up some common misconceptions about her life. Most importantly, Theoharis says that Parks was not meek, citing several examples of her standing up and rebelling against the strict segregation and discrimination of her age. For instance, Parks took on dangerous organizing tasks with her husband in response to lynchings and other racist happenings.
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According to Theoharis, the events that happened 60 years ago were also not the first of Parks’ bus protests. She had already been kicked off of buses several times before for not following the rule that she should give up her seat to a white person when asked. It would seem that Parks was actually quite a seasoned dissenter by the time December 1, 1955, rolled around.
Given that Parks was a bit more of a fiery activist than we thought, would she be happy about the state of race relations in America today? The answer is probably a little bit of both yes and no. We’ve clearly moved past some of the most overt forms of racial discrimination from our past, like the laws that mandated where Parks was allowed to sit on a bus or what water fountain she could drink out of in a government building.
Yet at the same time, we are in the midst of national debate and upheaval surrounding the deaths of black people at the hands of police officers. The recent resignation of Chicago’s police chief in response to protests of the handling of teenager Laquan McDonald is just one example of many.
Whatever her thoughts might be, my guess is that if Parks were still around today she wouldn’t be hanging out on the sidelines. She’d be out there marching for continued progress toward equality, calling for us all to get up and get involved.
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According to TwoFold CEO Alison McMahon, a leader who doesn't care (or can't pretend to care) about his or her employees isn't much of a leader at all.
Why do people quit their jobs? Surely, there are a ton of factors: money, hours, location, lack of interest, etc. For Alison McMahon, an HR specialist and the CEO of TwoFold, the biggest reason employees jump ship is that they're tired of working for lousy bosses.
By and large, she says, people are willing to put up with certain negatives as long as they enjoy who they're working for. When that's just not the case, there's no reason to stick around:
Nine times out of ten, when an employee says they're leaving for more money, it's simply not true. It's just too uncomfortable to tell the truth.
Whether that's true is certainly debatable, though it's not a stretch to say that an inconsiderate and/or incompetent boss isn't much of a leader. If you run an organization or company, your values and actions need to guide and inspire your team. When you fail to do that, you set the table for poor productivity and turnover.
McMahon offers a few suggestions for those who want to hone their leadership abilities, though it seems that these things are more innate qualities than acquired skills. For example, actually caring about your workers or not depending wholly on HR thinking they can do your job for you.
It's the nature of promotions that, inevitably, a good employee without leadership skills will get thrust into a supervisory position. McMahon says this is a chronic problem that many organizations need to avoid, or at least make the time to properly evaluate and assist with the transition.
But since they often don't, they end up with uninspired workers. And uninspired workers who don't have a reason to stay won't stick around for long.
Read more at LinkedIn.
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