Bus companies draw anger after installing Rosa Parks-themed commemorative seats

Houston Metro is among the bus-operating companies who installed special seats commemorating Rosa Parks, a black woman whose arrest after refusing to yield her seat to a white passenger sparked the Montgomery bus boycott.

"The national day of action recognizes her act of defiance, strength, and dignity while promoting access to and investment in public transportation as a civil right and strategy to combat climate change," Metro officials said in the release.

But it seems passengers and commentators are not impressed. One of the more polite responses:

Jeanne Theoharis, a political science professor at Brooklyn College whose biography "The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks" won a 2014 NAACP Image Award, says the gesture by Metro Houston may have been well-intentioned, but ultimately felt toothless.  "I think things like seat covers and statues are comfortable ways of honoring Rosa Parks because they don't ask anything of us in the present.  Rosa Parks to the end of her life in 2005 was insistent that the struggle for racial justice wasn't over and there was much more work to be done," Theoharis said.

Terms like "corporate wokeness" and "wokism" strike me as bad-faith stalking horses ultimately aimed at progressives in general (it's usually just conservatives complaining about change), but they're good terms for this particular kind of smug simulation of interest. The edge of unintended dark humor, though, is firmly in Wittgenstein territory.