After a long day at work, when Ms. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, she was technically breaking a rule. I believe in her, and all others like us. Although you may disagree at first, throughout my lifetime and history, rule-breakers have proven to be both memorable and groundbreaking. Some of my best moments have been while breaking a rule, and if a rule is unjust or unnecessary, I see it as my civic duty to peacefully disobey.
One evening, as my friends and I were driving to a rock concert, over four hours away, we couldn’t help but to be a little disappointed. Our seats were up in the balcony, because all of the general admission floor tickets were sold out. Most were purchased by scalpers, who planned to resell them at a higher rate. When we arrived and saw that the floor section was only half full, I knew we had one chance to get down there. I went down to the ticket-takers, and calmly spun them a story about our “other friends” who said they were admitted in with their balcony tickets. Yes I lied, and yes I broke a rule, but the amazing time I had made up for any repercussions I could have received. Also, the lie did no harm to anyone, because the tickets were all the same price, and there was plenty of room on the floor. As I touched the sweaty hand of my favorite musician, I could feel the victory not only of my successful fib, but the amazing night it caused.
I know that, had I lived before there was equality for all different types of people, I would have been a “criminal” and possibly put to jail. I believe that all people are created equal, and if a law is preventing my belief, then it is my personal moral duty to speak out, and break that law. The fugitive slave law stated that if I, being a white woman, saw a suspected runaway slave, that I was to report them immediately. How could I justify selling out a fellow human being, for a monetary reward? I also would not adhere to the Jim Crow laws, or the “separate but equal” facilities. It is still beyond me how all of these “good, law abiding citizens” could allow such atrocities to happen in their communities. Even today, if I see prejudices from people, be it my peers or adults, I will speak out and break the etiquette rules of adults always being right.
As Marilyn Monroe once said “Well behaved women rarely make history.” Although people like me, bona-fide “rule breakers” may be criticized for our outlandish and unconventional choices, we are the voice of change. A revolution starts with one person, speaking out against society’s “rules.” Rosa Parks was a criminal, as was Martin Luther King Jr, however they are two of the most inspirational voices of the 20th century, and it would be a dream come true to be in company with these “delinquents.”
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.