As an iconic TV drama celebrated a black woman who changed the world by sitting down on a bus, RyanAir dragged our entire culture backwards by throwing a black person out of their plane seat, on the insistence of a racist.
The BBC broadcast one of its most powerful and moving episodes of Doctor Whoin years on the evening of Sunday, October 21. Entitled Rosa, it was about the moment when a black woman took a seat in a whites-only section of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and was arrested for it. This led to the Montgomery bus boycott, in which black people refused to use the service – and to the capitulation of the bus company to their demand (to be able to sit wherever they wanted) around one year later. From there, the American civil rights movement grew and attitudes changed radically.
The TV drama made perfectly clear the reasons for change. As iNews put it in its review, “Last week… the Doctor and her team had to survive on a ‘cruel’ planet full of monsters. And yet that alien setting could never match the reality of deep south America; of the shock of Ryan [Tosin Cole] being slapped by a white man in the street and threatened with lynching; of the tension of seeing Ryan and Yaz [Mandip Gill] do something as banal as sit in a restaurant; of the danger suggested by the camera lingering on the holster of a cop’s gun; of the thematically bold spectacle of the Doctor sitting in the white section of a segregated bus, while Ryan has to sit at the back.”
For This Writer, a crucial scene took place beyind a trash bin, where Ryan and Yaz discuss the need to do nothing to provoke the racists – because you never know who will react with violence.