We’re Done Being Polite: A Reflection on the Mizzou Protests

Social movements over the years have taught us that politeness and respectabiility rarely result in lasting social change. When 15-year-old Claudette Colvin first resisted public bus segregation in Alabama on March 2, 1955, she did so knowing that she’d be classified as unruly, dangerous, and a threat to the very fabric of American society. Nine months later, when Rosa Parks did the same, it was groundswell effect of women like Colvin’s actions which helped to shift the public’s attention to the nonviolent but very disruptive actions of Blacks in Montgomery, Alabama. But these women, their fellow organizers and their tactics weren’t polite. So, why is anyone demanding politeness from young Black organizers today?

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