I think I’ve said before how I love living in the South. I’m not, however, uncritical of my home state, as I believe holding Mississippi to a higher standard than it is accustomed to meeting is an essential step toward bringing her into the 21st century.
I don’t mind holding someone’s hand and gently walking the road of progress with them, but uuuugh, how I loathe having to drag someone out of the ’50s kicking and screaming. The 1950’s, y’all. Seriously.
When Bill Maher aired a little episode of his show last season in which a Real Time correspondent visited this state, I was so disgusted by their coverage that I promptly canceled my subscription to HBO. (Subsequently I have hooked up my computer to the tv and obtained permission to use a friend’s Dish username and password to access HBO Go, because come on, I’m not gonna miss The Newsroom.) It’s not that I am angry at Maher for exposing the poverty, ignorance, and racism that is so prevalent in this state (as it is in many others as well). What I mind is his bone-headed assertion that those were the people his correspondent met the moment she stepped off the plane. Reeeaaaallly…. because I have lived here my entire life, and I have never once ran into someone with “white power” patches sewn into their shirt. That’s the kind of thing you have to go looking for, even in Mississippi.
But you don’t have to poke around much before you run into something or someone who is just mind-numbingly, astoundingly, brazenly racist. I know there are people and ideas like that in every single state in this nation, and in every country on the planet. Does Mississippi have more than its fair share? I don’t know. This is the only place I’ve ever lived for this long. I am not comparing it to any other place, because I don’t care how hateful people here are in comparison to somewhere else – I care that there is hatred here at all. I do believe in the power of love to conquer hate, just as lightness can drive out the dark … but you have to shine the light first. If people are not ashamed to say things in public, should we be hesitant to repeat them? Is that not being an enabler to a hate-monger?
I want to be clear that I’m not trying to expose this young man simply for others to enjoy an opportunity to belittle or ridicule him and his friends. I just want to have a conversation. I was floored to find this on Facebook. I was floored that people will teach their kids to hate! These are younger people. High school, maybe college. They weren’t born racist. They were taught this. It just blows my mind.
I’m not a fan of Barack Obama. I did not vote for him. (I also did not vote for Mitt Romney.) There are legitimate reasons to withhold one’s support from President Obama. However, to deny that race plays a significant role in the Southern animosity toward our President is willfully ignorant.
How can a person get away with saying something like this and no one even blinks an eye? This has been on this guy’s Facebook page ever since November 7th. I’m not friends with this person. I stumbled onto his profile after he popped up in my “people you may know” section due to our mutual friends. The comments on his status were numerous, but I just wanted to provide a quick synopsis of the conversation: