Why do we say "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Well-Known Expressions

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem

Meaning:

If you don't take direct action to make things better you're an obstacle to change.

Background:

This saying originates in the USA in the 1960s and is generally attributed to Leroy Eldridge Cleaver (1935-1998), a writer and political activist, and early leader of the Black Panther Party. But actually it was advertising agency owner Charles Rosner who coined the expression for a now defunct company named VISTA.

When interviewed by the New York Times in 2012, Charlie Rosner, recalled that the campaign was a rush job in response to an offer of free ad space on the sides of Washington’s mail trucks. The promotion included several different catchphrases; Mr. Rosner’s own favorite was "Not exactly the sort of work your mother had in mind for you."

The New York Times contacted Mr. Rosner after politician Paul Ryan's use of the expression, generally attributed to a member of the Black Panthers, caught the attention of the media. When asked by the newspaper if he had plans to collect usage fees off Paul Ryan (or for that matter anyone else), Mr Rosner, a registered Democrat, responded, “certain pieces of the lingo sort of become the property of nobody... This one seems to have the half life of Strontium-90. It’s terrific that he’s using it; it’s a pretty decent set of words to live by.”

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Leavers
    The Leavers
    by Lisa Ko

    The day before Deming Guo saw his mother for the last time, she surprised him at school. A navy ...

  • Book Jacket: Wonderful Feels Like This
    Wonderful Feels Like This
    by Sara Lovestam
    High school is hard; or perhaps, more accurately, growing up and finding oneself is hard. This is ...
  • Book Jacket: Blue Light Yokohama
    Blue Light Yokohama
    by Nicolas Obregon
    Blue Light Yokohama, Nicolás Obregón's crime fiction debut, takes place in an exotic ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Scribe of Siena
    by Melodie Winawer

    Equal parts transporting love story, meticulously researched historical fiction, and compelling time-travel narrative.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Book of Summer
    by Michelle Gable

    The bestselling author of The Paris Apartment, Michelle Gable now transports readers to Nantucket.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Chalk Pit

The Chalk Pit:
A Ruth Galloway Mystery

A string of murders takes Ruth underground in the newest book in the series.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T W Don't M A R

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -