Sunday, July 01, 2007

Reverse Racial Bias In Mississippi

"What goes around, comes around" - cliché en vogue

Judge: Miss. County Biased Vs. Whites

Associated Press Writer
JACKSON, Miss. -- A federal judge has ruled that a majority black county in eastern Mississippi violated whites' voting rights in what prosecutors said was the first lawsuit to use the Voting Rights Act on behalf of whites.

U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee ruled late Friday that Noxubee County Democratic Party leader Ike Brown and the county Democratic Executive Committee "manipulated the political process in ways specifically intended and designed to impair and impede participation of white voters and to dilute their votes."

The Justice Department accused Brown of trying to limit whites' participation in local elections in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, written to protect racial minorities when Southern states strictly enforced segregation.

"Every American has the right to vote free from racial discrimination," said Wan J. Kim, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. "The court's ruling is another victory in the department's vigorous efforts to protect the voting rights of all Americans," Kim said.

Noxubee County is a rural area along the Alabama line with a population of about 12,500, of whom 70 percent are black.

The Justice Department alleged in the 2006 lawsuit that Noxubee County blacks tried to shut whites out of the voting process. Brown, who is black, had claimed the Justice Department was misconstruing as racial intimidation his attempts to keep Republicans from voting in Democratic primaries.

Lee, who presided over the case without a jury, gave attorneys on both sides until July 29 to file briefs suggesting how to end the discrimination. The case was a civil matter carrying no criminal penalties, but defendants who violate Lee's final order could face contempt of court charges and fines, prosecutors said.

Ricky Walker, who is white and the county's prosecuting attorney, believes Brown recruited an opponent to run against Walker in 2003 simply because of Walker's race.

"We're glad to be getting it over with so we move on and get to the point where maybe we can just have fair, honest, impartial elections here and just go about our business and not have to go through all this circus to get an election done," said Walker, who was a Justice Department witness during the trial in January.

Walker, who is unopposed this year, said the lawsuit created some unrest in the county "that we were getting past ... blacks and whites starting to support people on their ability to fulfill the job rather than just strictly a political or racial basis."

The judge said there was a pattern to Brown's efforts to keep all whites out of the county's Democratic Party, including holding party caucuses in private homes rather than public voting precincts and inviting only blacks to the meetings. Lee said he could not find that the defendants had a specific animosity against white people.

"Brown, in fact, claims a number of whites as friends," Lee wrote. "However, there is no doubt from the evidence presented at trial that Brown, in particular, is firmly of the view that blacks, being the majority race in Noxubee County, should hold all elected offices, to the exclusion of whites; and this view is apparently shared by his allies and associates on the NDEC, who, along with Brown, effectively control the election process in Noxubee County."

Wan J. Kim, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's civil rights division, praised the decision.

I'm posting this story because I lived in Mississippi for a long time, went to school there, Ole Miss alumnus, 1969. It's always been a poor state, and often seen as a proving ground for civil rights. But even poor, redneck Mississippians know right from wrong. And they know that might doesn't make right. Before all this civil rights business happened, whites and blacks were learning to co-exist in Mississippi, and when the radical elements finally settle down, they will continue to learn from each other. I understand the blacks felt a need to level the playing field. It's not a perfect situation - mistakes are made, feelings hurt on both sides. But I have an abiding faith that common sense will rule, that justice will prevail.

Back in 1954 the Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education case radically changed life in the South for both whites and blacks. Liberals lawyers and Civil Rights advocates from "up North" (read: Yankee agitators) descended onto our state. Schools, students, parents were caught in the middle, and during the enforcement of the desegregation policies which resulted from Brown v. Board of Education in the 1960s and 1970s, private schools began springing up overnight. It was a no-holds-barred fight in Mississippi. And it was ugly.

I grew up in what is known as "The Delta" - first on one side of the Mississippi River, then on the other side. Washington County, where I spent many years, was 70-80% black, the rest white with a few Chinese families, one Hungarian refugee, one German student, and one South Korean student. In 1959, the year I graduated from high school, the public schools were segregated. Ole Miss was segregated still.

The South did not give in without a fight, even with one hand tied behind their back by the Feds.

Hodding Carter Jr., Delta resident, editor, publisher of the Greenville (Ms) Delta Democrat-Times, pinpointed the feelings of the South on August 22, 1954, soon after the Brown decision. The latter Hodding Carter Clan, founded by the first Carter, "Big", have had an intimate role in Mississippi history, and indeed in the South. I believe Big was a true liberal in the best sense of the word. His progeny were another story. All the latter Carters were dipped in academic liberalism in the halls of Princeton and Harvard and sent out into the world to liberalize everyone they came in contact with. Hodding Carter III , though brilliant, was a bleeding-heart liberal, wound up as President Jimmy Carter's hack. When Reagan showed up in 1980, Carter III exited government offices. Carter III now works as the President of the Knight Foundation, a Philanthropy spreading moola around for various civil rights causes, including illegal immigrants. God save us from the philanthropists.

Big was quoted at the time of the 1954 Supreme Court ruling, as saying: would be tragic if in the deep South any widespread or concerted effort is made this fall or in the immediate future to enroll Negro children in hitherto all-white schools. It would be especially tragic in the Delta, including our own county and city, where the two races have set a fine example of understanding and progress -- even through that progress has not been as fast and complete as some of us would like. The farce of national and state prohibition should be proof enough that if a federal law or policy is not acceptable to a majority or to a dominant and organized minority it is not obeyed....

A majority of Southerners are not ready for the reality of integration at the public school level. A vast majority of white Mississippians are not ready for it. They were ready and more than ready to make amends for old injustices to the Negro....

Time is a great healer. Time has been on the side of the Negro in his journey from the slave ship to the ballot box and the nation's council chambers. But the Negro is not powerful enough, numerically or economically or culturally, to make time a hasty weapon. Time can also turn back upon itself, and in so doing it can topple much of what we in the South have built together.
- Marsh, Harry D. (1985). Hodding Carter's newspaper on school desegregation, 1954--1955.
Journalism Monographs, 92.

I was away from Mississippi from 1961-1965, returning after the Army, NYC, hobo-ing out west, to pick up college where I left off. The race riot had already happened - the race riot of 1962 in which Bobby Kennedy unleased the dogs of war, thus preventing any real resolution along racial lines. It was brute force, plain and simple. And racial equality is today, unresolved - as evidenced by this latest ruling By Federal Judge Tom Lee in the case of reverse discrimination in Noxubee County (sounds Faulkner novel-ish).

Life on the Ole Miss campus in '65 when I returned was much like it was in Mississippi when I left in '61: easy-going, simple, friendly; however, sans the school spirit I witnessed in 1959-1961. The federal show of force only deepened suspicions among Southerners. There were a few token blacks enrolled, who kept to themselves, had their own corner in the student union building. I think they were an enigma to most whites, who addressed the situation mainly by ignoring them.

Go on any campus in America today, and you will find that there is a self-segregating wall between whites and blacks. The blacks keep to themselves, have their own niche in the student union building; interesting term, union. Ever wonder what it means? It seems unlikely that'll ever be decided by legislators and jurors, and administrators.

We are dealing with human nature here, and human nature will trump man-made laws every time. And time is on the side of human nature. Opinions, laws, empires, civilizations come and go. Fortunately, here in America, perhaps especially in the South, we still have a tradition based on Christian values, despite the amoral humanism which threatens to crowd out values based on surrender to a Supreme moral authority. But human nature has within itself that which can turn murderous: viz, the Rwandan massacre, neighbor against neighbor, wholesale slaughter, between 800,000 - 1,000,000 victims within a 100 day period. Revenge exacts a terrible price. Federal judges, aligned as they are with the elitists, today are playing loose and free with sovereign American citizens, and they are playing with fire.

Human nature itself is relative, which is why it must defer to a higher moral law - indeed the human heart must hold on to, have faith in something. Be very careful what you choose. In the Ramayana it says: "Call him by any name, and God will come. Take care, therefore, with the names of God". The man who considers himself Godless is in a precarious position, because there is no such thing. Every act which you perform is offered as a sacrifice to something, be it an idea, a person, a thing, or a power in the mind or heart. Everyone worships something. The question is, what?

Everything comes and goes - friends, wives, husbands, children come and go, homes, cars, favorite sweaters, lovers, jobs, pets, careers - everything. Your capacity to love is based on none of those things. Your capacity to love is within you.

But the heart which
holds light, also holds the capacity for darkness in equal measure.

I am of the belief that there is a Will which holds everything together, and the sensible man will try to align his own will with that Will. But that notion seems out of fashion, out of step with the prevailing attitude of these times. My advice, which I'm giving for free today only is this: you can't have it both ways. Take a good look at what you hold on to in your heart. Is there even room in there for a Creator? If not, you may be in for a rude awakening. Otherwise you may find yourself one fine day standing over your neighbor, machete in hand, the thirst for blood driving you to insane acts. Or do you imagine you are any different from the savage. Sorry, but you are not. It is only what we hold higher than ourselves that keeps any of us in check. The relative humanist, the atheist plays Russian Roulette.

It is your responsibility not to fall prey to depression, phobias, anxiety disorder, rage, fear, hate, narcissism, suicidal thoughts, loneliness, feelings of uselessness - if you have trouble with anything which hinders your ability to love, stop feeling sorry for yourself and get help.

There is a whole world waiting for you.

Dumb Ox
123 Beta
The Vanishing American
Woman Honor Thyself
The Anchoress
Captain's Quarters

Also trackposted to: La Shawn Barber, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Webloggin, Stuck On Stupid, High Desert Wanderer, Conservative Cat, Pursuing Holiness, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.