Every once in a while I get a comment from a reader that really makes me sit back and scratch my head. This week I got a comment from a reader known as Rowland who took exception to my characterization of Mississippi in my post Mississippi's Still Burning.
Here is the text of Rowland's comment:
When you find something to satisfy your personal bias, it becomes your reality. I moved to Mississippi from North Carolina within my company more than 10 years ago and find your opinion to be the exception in Mississippi. To stereotype Mississippians based on your cited examples makes you no better than the racists you denounce. Should we now assume all Texans are bigots because of your opinions of Mississippians?
I guess he took exception to my posting of the voter wearing the shirt adorned with the Confederate flag and a noose and the state's senator who said she wouldn't mind attending a lynching if a certain big money donor invited her.
I didn't even bring up the fact that the state uses the Confederate battle flag in its state flag. Now just what is that all about?
I would assume he thinks these are anomalies.
I think he assumes wrong. Just chew on this for a minute or two. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith was first in the election earlier this month with 42% of the vote. A white nationalist (otherwise known as a racist) received 17% of the vote. A run-off will be held next week to decide the race. Mike Espy, an African-American who served in Washington as a representative and Secretary of Agriculture, will seek to become the first Democratic Senator from Mississippi since the 1980's.
So nearly 60% of the votes cast went to a fringe racist candidate or to a senator who's just fine with lynching and voter suppression. That's not just a couple of people as our writer would like for you to think. That, instead, is three out of every five voters in the state.
And then we have these stats from US News and World Report (hardly a bastion of liberal journalism). Mississippi ranks dead last in the US for health care, which includes access to health care, infant mortality rates and health care enrollment. The state ranks 46th in education, 48th in economic development, 49th in opportunity for citizens to improve themselves, and 49th in infrastructure.
The state's incarceration rate is the 4th highest in the nation. There are three times as many blacks in prison in Mississippi as whites, even though blacks make up just a little more than one-third of the state's population.
I will say, I find his use of the word bigot to be quite funny. It's the kind of thing you would expect to hear out of the mouth of a child of white privilege who's upset that the system he grew up under is fading away.