For One Moment: A Black-White Role Reversal

This morning, I woke up to more of the usual-suspect comments under this story: Crime Perception Hurts Jackson Economy. Apparently, I had wigged out the white-guy chorus that always wants to point fingers the other direction when it comes to crime. How? By talking about how our racist, terroristic history against African Americans has led to today's crime situation. They no like that:

Alex0393 wrote, in part: I'll regret this but I think you're being unfair with Bill on this thing. There may have been alot of murders in the white supremacy days in Jackson but not even close to what there are now. And I think what he was saying about the Dedmon crime was that sensationlizing that by local and national media does much more harm to both the city and the state than reporting day to day crimes. It makes it appear as though it's something other than an isolated incident.

Murder is hate and all murder is a "hate crime" in my opinion that is the most ridiculous thing ever dreamed up by politicians. When there is black on white crime it doesn't appear anyone questions the hate part of that nor does it make national news. Jim Crow laws aren't killing people in Jackson today and if you want what I'm sure will be an opinion that will be belittled by you, we need to focus on today, not 1958 to solve our problems. Placing blame on old dead white men seems to justify what we have today in alot of peoples minds.

And bill_jackson blamed the (presumably black) family: Why yes, I mentor my two sons, as it should be. It doesn't take a village, it takes a mommy & a daddy.

I hadn't even finished a cup of coffee when I sat down and opened a vein. Here was my rather-long response, verbatim:

Donna: Alex and Bill, no surprises in your responses. That's what we typically hear from the white community -- sorry if I'm assuming incorrectly -- in today's world about crime almost as a collective chorus. We also hear it from people of other races, but not as in synch.

But let's stop for a minute, if you will allow, and think and discuss some different ideas. I suggest opening your mind just for a little bit to the idea that our nation's white supremacy and habits based on it -- which was codified into our state's laws until very recently -- have left us with a mess that you can't just blink away by proclaiming that it just takes a mommy and a daddy! First, y'all know as well as I do that some families with both a mommy and daddy completely muck up their kids -- especially the ones that teach them that they're better than the other or who fight all the time or where the daddy beats mama (and often the kids) into submission. So, maybe we can agree that that is an overly simplistic and optimistic solution?

Let's try the 30,000-feet exercise this way, gentlemen (and borrow a trick from John Grisham's "Time to Kill"). First, think about your own family and its struggles. I don't know about yours, but I've watched alcoholism affect generations in my own family and those of people I love. That is, one alcoholic father or mother can cause misery for generations. Can we agree on that? (If not, peek into the research on it.)

Then take it a step further. Imagine that your great-great-great-great granddaddy and grandmama were brought here on a slave ship. (For this exercise, please imagine your slavemasters with darker skin and different from you.) When they got here, your grands were put on a slave block separately; perhaps even their kids were sold to different masters, or maybe they went with the mama until they got old enough to be sold differently. (Remember to keep visualizing these folks as white; important here.)

Once they got on the plantations, they were chattel. If they tried to escape they were beaten or killed as an example to others. Or their heels were "hobbled" (cut so they couldn't run again, or walk well for that matter.) They were forced to work long days without breaks in the hot sun. (See Mississippi Articles of Secession for a decent description of how it was.)

And impt here: Your grandparents' family unit was destroyed. Your oppressors thought of them as non-human (to justify their horrible treatment); thus, why would a family matter?. Quite likely, the slavemaster had his way with your grandmother leading to generations of (in your case) darker children in your family. Your family was forced to take the master's name and assimilate (sort of) into his culture. Meantime, the slavemaster transferred his sins onto you, spreading far and wide that white men just wanted to rape black women (in this alternative scenario); that helped justify your people's horrible treatment.

Then after a war supposedly freed your grandparents, the state's power structure (which was all slavemasters or people who supported them) got back together and came up with White Codes and Bill Crow laws to keep your grandparents' kids from becoming schooled, voting, owning property or using front doors. The laws also allowed violence against them if they did, thus continuing the cycle of violence. Oh, and the Ku Klux Klan sprang up to keep your people in their places if you tried to step out. Then, lynching became the tool of choice to send a message to your people that their young men would be hung from trees if they stepped out of line. Lynching parties were common with women and children of your master's race pointing and staring and laughing at your relatives hanging in trees while law enforcement milled about. People even sent around postcards with the pictures of the lynched men on them to friends and families. Imagine these practices continuing into your own lifetime.

Your people were also promised 40 acres and a mule from the people who had profited and built wealth using them as free labor, but did not get it. They had to scrape and share-crop to get by in a system that did not allow them to build wealth.

By this time, your people had assimilated in various ways into the culture of their oppressors -- from sharing many of the religious traditions (making them their own, in part, to help them survive their terrorism) and in some tragic cases, learning that violence is the way successful people get things done. Or at least survive.

Perhaps you or your own son was born into this climate of fear and violence in the 1960s, perhaps in a part of the city where many people like you had fled to from the dangerous countryside where it was harder to hide from the lynch mobs. Maybe you lived in a shotgun house with several other kids; perhaps by then your daddy had already disappeared or been sent to prison. Maybe he actually did what he was accused of; maybe he didn't; juries then assumed your type was guilty.

You were also born into a time when whites like you were not allowed to accumulate wealth or were redlined out of buying property on which to build a strong family unit or from getting the same loan that helped your oppressors start businesses and build wealth. Even if they had figured out a way to make higher wages, your people weren't allowed to move into many neighborhoods; they weren't called by courtesy titles but had to call members of the "master" race Mr. or Miss or Mrs. Every part of our society told you or your son that he was a second-rate citizen. Maybe you were smart enough to overcome the laws that tried to keep you dumb, violent and second rate. Maybe you could pass the poll test and knew how many bubbles were in a bar of soap, but even then, maybe a mob with bats kept you out of the polling place. Every day, you were told you weren't good enough and all that was expected of you was to be a criminal.

During your childhood, perhaps, most voters of Mississippi (who were allowed to vote; not your people) went to the polls and voted to close the public schools instead of allow your people's kids to mix with theirs. They set up private segregation academies where they would teach new generations of kids that all this was your people's fault, that your people were the cause of all the crime, that y'all couldn't pick yourselves up and make something of yourselves, so don't throw good money at your people. Your people just want handouts, anyway, the kids were taught in these seg schools. They were also told that the civil war that "freed" your people wasn't about slavery, it was about economics. Oh, and that your people could be "racist," too, and that "it happens everywhere." Oh, and all the problems in your community? Your mommy and daddy's fault. Where are they?!

Your oppressors' folks fled the city, taking their many-decades' worth of wealth with them, and thus tax base and jobs. They started developing cow pastures into development where they could live and work, even as many of your people couldn't afford the transportation to get there to work. Over the years, many of your people followed as they could afford to, leaving behind even more weakened communities that desperately need successful role models. Ironically, many of your oppressors' people fled to cow pastures farther and farther out as enough of your people followed -- sociologists call it the "tipping point" when there are too many of your people in a neighborhood for them to stay there -- making it harder for young people in your community to work there. The words "left behind" started to resonate.

Since then, the laws have changed, but your economic conditions didn't, and couldn't, change overnight. Maybe some of your family's kids "escaped" to get a better education; maybe others stayed behind to work fast food to feed the family; maybe still others took their business skills to the streets to sell the drugs your oppressors pumped into your community. Maybe they're in prison now. Or maybe they're out, taught in prison to be more hardened prisoners and commit worse crimes on the outside. Maybe they're teaching, or modeling, the same behavior to their kids. Many of them can't vote because of a drug felony; others don't bother because they don't have real choices. Besides, about all the politicians talk about is catching the thugs in your community, anyway.

Even if you're doing OK by now, maybe there are members of your family who haven't been strong enough to "escape" yet. Some might even have suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome from the horrors of the recent past; maybe they passed it down. Regardless, you hear every day (usually from the children of your oppressors) about how criminal or even lazy your people are (ironic considering who actually built the state, you think, and how cruel and violent your oppressors were); your kids and grandkids are growing up in a climate where very little is expected of them. When crime happens in your community, it's top of the news, perhaps with the nearby high school (which is all your race, still) flashed on the screen just because and everyone points fingers and blames your mama and daddy, but you know what they were up against.

When kids in your oppressors' neighborhoods kill people, you hear "how can that happen in a 'good' community?" or "they had good parents; how did they go wrong!?!", and you hang your head and cry.

Meantime, state lawmakers get votes off your backs, spewing thinly veiled rhetoric about your people. Anonymous local bloggers state outright constantly that most crime is committed by people who look like you. They have no interest in the cycles of violence committed against you and your family or what to do about it. They blame your people for every bad thing that happens while downplaying crimes by their own people. They run from neighborhoods when people like you move in, not caring what that does to your children's self-worth. They campaign against even "adequate" education for your children and call your people "welfare queens" trying to take all their money, regardless of whether it's true or not. You watch as too many of your young people fall prey to the violent cycles, repeating the habits of their oppressors, but too often against each other. You do what you can, but you can only mentor so many young people yourself. And too many men like you are already in prison for falling for the scheme to sell their drugs or buy their guns. You know you can't break the cycle alone and wish the good people who don't look like you would stop blaming you and start working with you to change the future for everyone.

Meantime, politicians of their race and yours scream at each other that the other isn't screaming loudly enough about crime, even as headlines show that 1 in 3 Mississippi children live in poverty. Your shoulders slump lower.

You don't want excuses or handouts; you want equal opportunity for your family or at least the understanding that the playing field has never been level because not enough people know, or care, that it's not. You don't want to be blamed for the rules of a game that your oppressors established. You just want it to stop.

____

The past matters, gentlemen. You have two choices: Learn form it and use that information, or ignore it at the community's peril and point fingers at the other.
####

I'd love to hear your (respectful) response. If you're not a member already, you can post using your Facebook log-in.

Previous Comments

ID
164586
Comment

All, I pulled my response this morning to Bill Jackson's dismissal of our race history as a factor in our current issue issues into its own blog post. I'd love to hear your responses.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-17T13:33:23-06:00
ID
164587
Comment

(BTW, I wish some of our other bloggers would post; there are way too many pictures on me right now on this website! Hint, hint.)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-17T13:39:52-06:00
ID
164588
Comment

Read more on redlining here. From that page: Redlining is the practice of denying, or increasing the cost of services such as banking, insurance, access to jobs,[2] access to health care,[3] or even supermarkets[4] to residents in certain, often racially determined,[5] areas. [...] During the heyday of redlining, the areas most frequently discriminated against were black inner city neighborhoods. For example, in Atlanta, through at least the 1980s, this practice meant that banks would often lend to lower-income whites but not to middle- or upper-income blacks.[7] Reverse redlining occurs when a lender or insurer particularly targets minority consumers, not to deny them loans or insurance, but rather to charge them more than would be charged to a similarly situated majority consumer.[8]

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-17T13:41:14-06:00
ID
164591
Comment

I just added a ton of links to the above post—on eveything from redlining to the "welfare queen" myth to the disparate impact of the drug war on Americans to media's irresponsible coverage of crime. I urge everyone to click the links and take a look. It's time to reject the lies and build a better future in and for our state. We have the power.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-17T14:22:56-06:00
ID
164592
Comment

nO surprises in this response to a response. OH, just call me stupid out loud why don't you? Please forgive me, I didn't read the whole post since it pretty much states same ole same ole. OH and totally off subject line, but Im all for girl schools, boy schools, separate them and lets see how it plays out because what we have now does not seem to be working for ALL our children. Just sayin. can we just work together to save our children from incarceration and death by violence?

Author
wataworld
Date
2011-08-17T14:24:42-06:00
ID
164594
Comment

Thanks, Damien. My hope is that people will just take a step back and think for a minute instead of just repeating what they've been taught to think their whole lives by the very people we're talking about. Hey, they were in my family, too. We can all be better than what we came from if we just choose to. Some, of course, will hold on tight to the old ideas and repeat them every chance they get; they are very sad people but don't always know it, which is the saddest part. But I believe in people and their ability to break the chains of bad education and racist teachings. And, no, I'm whiter than white. I apparently descend from English-Welsh Quaker slave holders, or so it seems from my research so far. Of course, my more recent ancestors were dirt-poor farmers told by the rich demagogues that they were supposed to fear and hate black people. (Although I do hear tell that there's Choctaw in my line somewhere but you wouldn't know it by looking at me.) I do think it's sad that people don't expect white people to know our history. We all need to work together to change that. It will not work for people to believe in two separate histories, especially when it's all so intertwined. It's why we're in the place we are. I will say this: If our community can start thinking of all the children of Jackson as belonging to all of us in some way, we can change the crime problem here. But not until then.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-17T14:41:45-06:00
ID
164596
Comment

Donna, I can see your point. In fact reading your post has made me think about why my family is where it is today. Not why we are just here in the US but why we are in our situations. Not to get in a long drawn out story (or say my family had it worse). The Flynn family (my father's side) came to this country because of the effects of the "great potato famine". We came into Canada and moved into the United States. In order to find work, my fathers family, switched religion (we were catholic) and had already lost our language in our own country (Ireland)before we even left. Long story short, I can see how my own family's past has led us to where we are today. Great post, I enjoyed reading it.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2011-08-17T14:56:43-06:00
ID
164597
Comment

Yes, Bryan. I know what you you mean. Working on m own genealogy is teaching me so much. I recommend it to everyone.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-17T15:17:43-06:00
ID
164599
Comment

Goodness. Someone just posted this on a friend's Facebook page: whoa whoa whoa Tiff... we are all humans... imagining one's self as black could be construed as racism! Seriously? My response was, "No. It's empathy." Work to be done ...

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-17T15:40:35-06:00
ID
164600
Comment

No one is calling you stupid, wataworld. I didn't always know all this history--well into my adult years--and that didn't make me stupid. I was uninformed, though. can we just work together to save our children from incarceration and death by violence? That's exactly what I'm suggesting. Let me ask you this: What do you think the next step is? Anyone?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-17T15:49:50-06:00
ID
164634
Comment

I think the next step is truth and reconciliation. The article on the educational platforms of the gubernatorial candidates is revealing. There isn't enough political will to prioritize education as the best investment area for progress in this state. Mainly because the people who would benefit the most from public education reform are not the same people who make the policy decisions in this area. Those leaders have no vested interest in seeing public schooling in MS thrive, especially if it means less money for corporate elite coffers. Also, the political will is not there because there isn't enough respect or understanding in most “elite “circles concerning what this state's racial history has done, and continues to do, to all citizens of this state. This history characterizes the present social climate that devalues the humanity people who do not look like, talk like, or think/believe like the majority of white citizens of Mississippi. Truth and reconciliation will begin to liberate people from the tyranny of ignorance and indifference that dominates economic and political leadership of Mississippi. Phil Bryant is a nightmare to the racial reconciliation efforts in this state. He is representative of what wrong with Mississippi and what needs to be directly challenged. Until the state does a critical examination of what actually characterizes the poverty, disease, and illiteracy that cripples Mississippi- unresolved and unrepaired legacies of Slavery, Jim Crow, and a prison-industrial complex run amuck- the political and economic elite in this state will continue to see no need to and will not be held accountable for truly addressing poverty and inequality. There is literally a large constituency of Mississippians that do not matter in the eyes of Phil Bryant and his ilk. Until people like him are not legitimate and presumptive political and economic leaders in this state, we will still see the shame when young white Mississippians continue to expose this depravity and indifference in terrifying ways, such as these white youth who brutally killed this man. The State needs to sanction and sponsor a Truth and reconciliation commission that will bring a cross section of citizen-leaders together who can make decisions in public policy and resource distribution. This commission needs to the state’s role in educational and residential segregation, the legacy of unsolved murders/lynchings, generational wealth/poverty, and the impact of the so called “war on drugs” on the black brown community. We need healing, and healing only comes when an injury is repaired. This state’s racial injuries have been allowed to fester, become infected, and rot out social fabric.

Author
Renaldo Bryant
Date
2011-08-18T13:32:03-06:00
ID
164635
Comment

Blackwatch wrote: "Truth and reconciliation will begin to liberate people from the tyranny of ignorance and indifference that dominates economic and political leadership of Mississippi." I'm curious as to what exactly the institution of truth and reconciliation will result in. How do you depict truth? How will you implement reconciliation? What good will the inevitable lip service that a truth and reconciliation commission actually achieve? I'm curious as to what any of you feel are legacies of pre-Civil Rights-era legislation that is still extant on the books? Long story short... you can preach and heal and whatever and you won't change the minds of the overwhelming majority of people in the radius of your readership.

Author
Darryl
Date
2011-08-18T15:07:17-06:00
ID
164636
Comment

@ Darryl There is no need to change everybody’s mind about race and inequality. There is a need to directly reform pubic policy and practice in the areas of resource distribution, education, criminal justice, health care, and political structure. This occurs when the citizen leaders more fully understand the connection between racial discrimination, generational wealth and poverty, public policy, and social structures today. For instance, when the government designs the funding of a school systems based on local property values, and those property values fluctuate due to migration and population shifts; school funding, and thus the quality of education received in a community, is directly affected by property values and residential segregation. Segregation becomes the paramount way in which citizens know to deal with social problems due to being socialized in a racially segregated community. Truth and reconciliation would actually allow for people in leadership to critically assess these realities in a way that targets what is best for all in the community, not just a privileged few. These opportunities are few and far between as is stands right now around the state.

Author
Renaldo Bryant
Date
2011-08-18T15:46:17-06:00
ID
164637
Comment

To Blackwatch: Sounds mysteriously like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Taking resources earnestly gained and redistributing it to those underperforming. The answer to the question of resource allocation in your example of community-based education is simple: perform. When all of your governmental policy premises use race as a stratification factor, you will never eliminate 'racism.'

Author
Darryl
Date
2011-08-18T16:13:39-06:00
ID
164642
Comment

Sounds mysteriously like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Taking resources earnestly gained and redistributing it to those underperforming. I don't see Blackwatch saying that. Could you point out where he did? And, of course, it's not just a simple issue of "perform." Can you really not see that demanding someone to "perform" when the playing field is not level is the same thing as saying, "fail"? I just don't get you guys who think that the world started this morning with us all at the same starting gate. I know that attitude feels right to the folks who have at least historically benefitted most from the attitude—white men—so it doesn't behoove you to think about it deeper, but at what point do the very obvious outcomes of such attitudes get your attention? Why not just try to think about it differently -- in the kinds of "reconciliation" conversations (or whatever you call it) efforts Blackwatch is talking about? What in the world could it hurt to try? Folks who resist even considering that other ethncities, genders,etc., aren't at the very same place as y'all amaze me. Does it not occur to you that if you're right, and "success" has nothing to do with societal factors and level playing fields and the like, that your argument by simple logic becomes one of supremacy. Don't kneejerk to that statement; go think about why your argument falls in on itself. If it was only a question of "perform," then the only reason why others would not or could not "perform" at similar levels to you would be inferiority. What else could it be? You yourself try to eliminate other options (such as motivation, discrimination, poverty, community hopelessness, economic inequality) . Please think about what you're saying, I presume without meaning to. Maybe, just maybe, a lightbulb will go off if you can see that you're actually making a supremacist argument by default. And for God's sake, what is the downside for you guys of efforts to level the playing field? We're not talking major redistribution of wealth here, or socialism (government owning the means of production). We're talking about making sure resources are used smart on the front end (education, work force training, etc.) rather than on the back end for prison, public health care (for violence) and so on. If nothing else, don't you own a calculator? And why could you possibly prefer sending people to prison and paying for it than educating them well on the front end. There is no more backward thinking than that. This is one of the tragedies of the mindless anti-"entitlement" arguments, which are soaked in this kind of supremacist attitude: I can do it; why can't you? The problem is the person asking that seldom sticks around for the damn answer -- AND ends up paying more in real and societal dollars in the long run because he thinks he has all the answers on the front end. That's the textbook definition of an actual entitlement attitude. You're *entitled* to everything you enjoy because, presumably, your people worked hard to get it all those decades, when in fact the exact opposite is so often true. Much of that accumulated wealth was gathered on the backs of the oppressed, no matter how hard you work now to keep it. And now the people who enjoy that wealth would rather pay for prisons then help ensure that real education and opportunities are in place to make up for the racist and classist bullshit that got us here. "Perform," my butt. Most people I see making these arguments in public can barely write a coherent sentence, much less have an idea of how to punctuate it. (You do OK, though.) When all of your governmental policy premises use race as a stratification factor, you will never eliminate 'racism.' Stratification factor? What in the dickens are you talking about?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-18T18:15:54-06:00
ID
164643
Comment

BTW, Blackwatch, Jackson 2000 is increasing its efforts at the kinds of conversations you talk about. They got grant money to do a ton of study circles and are planning some community conversations, as I understand it. If you're not involved in the group, you should be. And Darryl, why don't you sign up for a study circle and get a sense of what others with different experiences think these issues? If you respond that you don't need to know, then it proves that you only want to see things from your own experience base/perspective and think it's best, so why be challenged. And guess what *that* is a textbook example of ... ?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-18T18:26:58-06:00
ID
164645
Comment

Stratification factor? What in the dickens are you talking about? Ms. Ladd, I refer you to Blackwatch's statement at 1546. Darryl, why don't you sign up for a study circle and get a sense of what others with different experiences think these issues? What other people think? Are you serious? I was born (after 1964), grew up and educated in Jackson. I am curious as to what "different experiences" there are to experience? As far as I was led to believe by my mother and teachers, the playing fields were level. Everything I got was on my own and, sometimes, against an unlevel playing field with affirmative action quotas in place. Study circle? I am really too busy working 12-14 hours a day and studying the requisite material for continued proficiency in my job to sit around and hash out the perceived injustices visited upon a few despite legislation to the contrary.

Author
Darryl
Date
2011-08-19T04:52:27-06:00
ID
164647
Comment

@ Donna, I will look into the Jackson 2000 efforts, though I must say, if the conversation is just between Liberal types in both races, I wonder if it will be productive. Like I noted in my response before, citizen leaders and might I add opinion makers need to be the targeted participants if we want structural change that is necessary in this state. @Darryl, If after the wonderful piece Donna wrote and the research she presented to try and avail you of the verifiable reality that the playing field is not level for poor and minority people in this society, it is obvious that you are of the "Phil Bryant, Haley Barbour" ilk that I referred to earlier who just do not respect how destructive white supremacy truly is. I have wasted enough time and energy trying to convince people like you of that reality. I have no designs of begging you to respect my personhood. My efforts are more targeted at the social structural supports that stratify inequality along racial lines, and dismantling them through sound public policy and just institutional practice. Hopefully that will change the social context and create more spaces for the interpersonal growth and relationships that we all need for true reconciliation.

Author
Renaldo Bryant
Date
2011-08-19T09:06:31-06:00
ID
164648
Comment

Darryl, I understand your concern about the choir witnessing to each other -- although, frankly, some of the worst people I've known on trying to understand race issues are so-called progressives, so all would not be lost there. (Although I find that to be a bigger problem nationally in areas that don't think those problems are so bad than in Jackson, where so many progressives are really engaged in trying to learn more from other races.) That said, I believe there are Republicans and conservative business folks involved in Jackson 2000. Will talk to Todd and get back to you -- or if anyone knows, please post about it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-19T09:15:08-06:00
ID
164649
Comment

Darryl wrote: What other people think? Are you serious? I was born (after 1964), grew up and educated in Jackson. I am curious as to what "different experiences" there are to experience? As far as I was led to believe by my mother and teachers, the playing fields were level. Everything I got was on my own and, sometimes, against an unlevel playing field with affirmative action quotas in place. Study circle? I am really too busy working 12-14 hours a day and studying the requisite material for continued proficiency in my job to sit around and hash out the perceived injustices visited upon a few despite legislation to the contrary. Darryl, people are going to think that you are actually one of us, posting to prove just how deep many white folks' heads are still buried in the sand. Can you really be serious with your belittlement of the idea of "different experiences"? Again, are you thinking about what you are arguing? The whole point of your post is that you know how to do things right, and others (of another race) don't. You state outright that there are no different experiences that can teach you something. You do not want to invest in trying to reverse problems that your own people (I promise, if they were white) helped put and keep into place. You don't want to know anything beyond the tip of your own nose. You work hard: congratulations. Do you think there are people in the communities you disparage who do not work hard? Who have not? What if you worked hard and could not get a loan for a house in a better neighborhood or business insurance for your efforts because you're black? That has been a reality well into your lifetime right here in Jackson for the people that you don't want to talk to. And I'm going to assume that you're one of the people worried about crime in Jackson (much of which, these days, seems to be by people who live in surrounding counties, but I digress.) Darryl, seriously, it is so easy to give all that anger toward another race up if you will just try. Imagine the peace that awaits on the other side; many people, even those like yourself who hold onto it for so long out of ignorance about "the others," find amazing things when they decide to just hush, put their ingrained beliefs on hold for a minutes and listen. Seriously, what could it hurt to try? Blackwatch, for instance, has shown himself to be an extremely educated, compassionate, understanding person. Why not try to have a real conversation with him and listen to what he's saying. Then take your turn and tell him about your fears of being saddled with the past, and how that makes you feel overwhelmed, and maybe about that shame so many whites carry around that our people could have been been so cruel. I believe, strongly, that that is why so many people hold so tightly to their blinders--because they avoid feeling the pain our past has caused *all* of us. It's hard to face what our people were willing to do or support: It was heinous and cruel. But we don't have to carry that burden; we can shed it, and that starts with listening and caring. You don't have to agree with everything, but at least listen before you reject other people's experiences out of hand. Do you consider yourself a Christian? I dare say that is what Jesus would do.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-19T09:25:28-06:00
ID
164663
Comment

...fears of being saddled with the past, and how that makes you feel overwhelmed, and maybe about that shame so many whites carry around that our people could have been been so cruel...But we don't have to carry that burden; we can shed it, and that starts with listening and caring... I assure you, I am not overwhelmed by the actions of knuckleheads before I was born. As such, I am certainly not saddled with burdens by said knuckleheads. You may be...I am not. I prefer to move forward, with a clear understanding of my place on this planet. For what it's worth, I'm not a Christian. And I really don't see where that is a factor in anything on this topic.

Author
Darryl
Date
2011-08-19T11:38:15-06:00
ID
164670
Comment

Darryl, I'm glad you feel so free of the burdens of the past (and the present). I didn't get that impression from your posts to date, but maybe I am wrong. You don't sound like you're whistling through your days with contentment, but I hope you are. I do encourage you to go tool around the Sovereignty Files and some of the links I've provided above on the things you accused me of making up. You don't need to ever tell us. Just try it. No one is against you here. If anything, this is an outreached hand. Join us to make our state better for everyone, including yourself. As for the biblical reference, many people who read the JFP are Christian. If you're not, I hope I didn't offend. I take a pluralistic approach to spiritual traditions -- and all of them teach, in one way or the other, the kinds of outreach Blackwatch and I are suggesting.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-08-19T12:26:27-06:00
ID
164673
Comment

As I write this I hope no one thinks I am trying to cover up the past. But I did some thinking after Lorenzo made his statement. I wondered where most of the wealth in this country is. A quick Google search led me to a Forbes article on the 400 richest people in America. Most of the wealth in this country is not in the South. In fact unless you count the state of Texas very little is. Most of the wealth is on the East and West coast. I know there were economic laws in place that were used to hurt African-Americans. I was hoping to hear from someone much smarter/knowledgeable than me, did wealthy whites leave the South all together at some point? Here is a link to the Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/wealth/forbes-400/list?page=1 Please do not think I am trying to say the past does not matter. I just wondered why there is very little wealth in the South. I am trying to learn more here.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2011-08-19T14:04:48-06:00
ID
164675
Comment

Darryl, I'm glad you feel so free of the burdens of the past (and the present). I didn't get that impression from your posts to date, but maybe I am wrong. You don't sound like you're whistling through your days with contentment, but I hope you are. I am one of the happiest persons I know. I rarely ever get mad and if I do, it's against the system in which I operate...not people. There are things that I can impact and those that I cannot. Those that I can get annihilated, by the way. I cannot redress the injustices, real or perceived, therefore I go on my way doing my thing. I don't interfere with others in their pursuit of whatever floats their boat. I just happen to think, though, that instead of redressing the past we try to address the future responsibly.

Author
Darryl
Date
2011-08-19T14:46:16-06:00
ID
164677
Comment

@ Bryan Flynn, I’m no expert, but much of the wealth that was in the south in the 18th and 19th centuries was tied to agriculture. After the Civil war and the industrial revolution, much of the mega profitability of farming waned. Plus, the South generally was slow to adapt to the changing economic climate, thus didn’t develop the educational systems and infrastructure to support and industrialized economy. Couple that with the migration of many people (largely black people) from the South and immigration to the industrial centers of the Northeast and the West Coast, and you see that there aren’t as many people and large corporations in the South as in the other areas. That may have much to do with the concentration of wealth in those areas.

Author
Renaldo Bryant
Date
2011-08-19T15:38:45-06:00
ID
164678
Comment

I cannot redress the injustices, real or perceived, therefore I go on my way doing my thing. I don't interfere with others in their pursuit of whatever floats their boat. I just happen to think, though, that instead of redressing the past we try to address the future responsibly. In fact, we can all redress injustices. It begins by acknowledging that our behavior and attitudes today are a direct result of what happened in the past, and continues by examining and changing those behaviors and attitudes. The past is invaluable for plotting a responsible future. It is only through our clear understanding of how the past affects our present that we can create a future that's different from the past. So it's not either/or; we have to do both. Our present and future is inexorably knotted to our past. As another Mississippian once said: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Too many of us think that just because we weren't there or didn't have a personal hand in events, we're not responsible. And yet, all of us are walking, talking, breathing results of our collective past. Being responsible is simply a gauge for our ability to respond effectively. So, instead of setting ourselves up to repeat a past that we refuse to respond to now, we can discover what the most effective response is and do that. Imagine how much happier all of us would be, for example, if we could just stop doing all of our bad habits. That's just a small example of how the past affects our present (and future). Everything that came before culminates in the present moment. Until we understand that, we can't see clearly how to move ahead with intelligence and integrity. And none of that needs to involve blame, shame or guilt, because none of those equals responsibility. If hatred, bigotry or racism floats someone's boat, it's all of our responsibility to interfere. Otherwise we'll just never get anywhere; we'll just keep repeating our past.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2011-08-20T19:02:08-06:00
ID
164679
Comment

@Lorenzo ~ I don't know that the majority of white people have never heard of the klan or are "unburdened by the knowledge" of what happened back in the days of Jim Crow. I guess there are young people that don't know much beyond pop culture and what happened last week. But, I'm pretty sure most people, even here in Mississippi, have a general knowledge that there was a civil rights movement and the basic reasons why it was needed. No programs specifically targeted at black people to redress the injustice? NONE? Really? Are you unburdened by the knowledge of the Civil War? During which 600,000 Americans died to end the injustice of slavery? Affirmative Action? The civil rights act of 1964? etc... That is not to say that there isn't still a mess left by our ancestors as Donna has rightly pointed out and that some still don't get it. Racism is still very much alive today. Any white person knows this and you sure don't have to tell black people. Things have changed, we have made progress and there is still much left to do but to say that nothing has been done is just as blind to history as those who say everything is and has always been peachy.

Author
WMartin
Date
2011-08-21T11:21:40-06:00
ID
164684
Comment

Any white person knows this and you sure don't have to tell black people. Things have changed, we have made progress and there is still much left to do but to say that nothing has been done is just as blind to history as those who say everything is and has always been peachy. I think thats a good point, but I can feel Lorenzo's frustration. It goes back to the argument of white flight, Jackson vs. The Burbs, Democrat vs. Republican, Conservative vs. Liberal in the state of Mississippi - very, very, frustrating topics, where their seems to be no happy medium.

Author
Duan C.
Date
2011-08-22T10:59:20-06:00
ID
164685
Comment

That's what we typically hear from the white community -- sorry if I'm assuming incorrectly -- in today's world about crime almost as a collective chorus. We also hear it from people of other races, but not as in synch. As I was sitting and listening to Kool & Gangs "Summer Madness" - I read that point and said to myself - ahhhhhhhhhhh! Very refreshing to see someone say it other than me! Thank you Ladd

Author
Duan C.
Date
2011-08-22T11:02:06-06:00
ID
164687
Comment

You all hear about the shooting near the King Edward this morning? Terrible.

Author
independent
Date
2011-08-23T11:45:54-06:00

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