Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mississippi Goddam!

I remember when I moved out to Baton Rouge and I learned about the desegregation order that had just been lifted a year or two before. I had no idea that there were still parts of the country that were still involved in segregation cases. I'm not talking about situations where schools had slowly become segregated again after the end of what has come to be viewed as the Civil Rights era. These are cases that stretched back to that period, areas that had never followed through with the laws abolishing so-called "Separate, But Equal" policies.

This time, the Justice Department had to take a Mississippi school district to court over several violations of the desegregation order that was issued nearly 40 years ago.

In 2007, lawyers with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division contacted the Mississippi school district to monitor its compliance with the 1970 desegregation order. The action revealed two alleged violations.

The district was allowing more than 300 students – most of them white – to transfer from their assigned schools to a predominately white school, the Salem Attendance Center, outside their residential zone, according to court documents.

The second alleged violation involved grouping white students into a few designated classes at three other schools in Tylertown. The action created a significant number of all-black classrooms at each elementary grade level, documents say.

Mississippi is continuing to thumb its nose at the laws of this country. If you'll excuse me for using two clichés that reference noses in same paragraph, I should point out that Mississippi has always been a place that's willing to cut off its nose to spite its face. It seems that the white people in that state are absolutely content being the laughing stock of the entire United States. The state produces a consistent stream of news stories that make it possible for the white people in other parts of the country to pat themselves on the back and claim that they don't engage in racism.

Well, most people of color see through the lies that white Americans tell us and themselves. Still, Mississippi does stand out because of how egregiously it flaunts its systemic racism. The lyrics of Nina Simone described the situation clearly way back in the 1960's and they remain as true today as they were then.

1 comment:

Rootietoot said...

I like Mississippi. It makes Alabama look good.