(Pic courtesy of theblaze.com)
(Pic courtesy of nickshell1983.wordpress.com)
Imagine a female co-worker who comes to work with a black eye. The same co-worker’s husband has been known to have a violent temper and has been known to batter her in the past. Upon seeing her at work, one cannot help but to assume the obvious. Likewise, if a registered sex offender moves into the neighborhood, it stands to reason that parents would be concerned for the safety of their children, if not move out of the neighborhood all together. In either case, both the sex offender and the violent man are the first to be accused if a similar crime occurred in their surroundings.
For those who were not born, raised, or spent any significant time in the South-Eastern United States it would be difficult to understand that there is a culture there that has roots centuries old. And just like the sex offender and the violent man, the South has a reputation. Only 50 years ago, less than a generation, there were images from the South broadcast on national television of people being sprayed with water hoses, people attacked by dogs (for practicing their first amendment rights), people being spat on for wanting to go to school, there were laws on the books making it a crime to marry outside your race, there were separate school dances, separate public facilities, not to mention the countless lynching and beatings. Fast forward to the 21st Century and the South still refuses to acknowledge interracial couples (2009 Louisiana Judge Keith Bardwell refuses marry an interracial couple; 2011 A Kentucky interracial couple is banned from coming to church) people are still separated in public places (2012 Alabama Pastor William J. Collier holds Whites Only Church Conference; 2013 Wilcox County High School in Abbeville, Georgia holds its first integrated prom) and there are still communities in the South where it is strongly advised that people of color should not go after dark.
To come to some understanding of why the South is the way it is, you have to look at the reasoning behind the creation of the segregation/Jim Crow laws. The reasoning behind the Jim Crow laws stemmed from a fear of slave repercussions from blacks against whites. They were also created to “keep blacks in their place.” Furthermore, a deeper political motive gave birth to hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan was formed by Democrats to overthrow Republicans and pave the way for Democrats to regain control of political power in the South, when Democrats attacked the State Republican Convention in Louisiana in 1866, killing 40 blacks, 20 whites, and wounding 150 others (Barton 2003). It is also public knowledge, that from 1890 to 1908, 10 Southern states wrote new constitutions with provisions that included literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses that permitted otherwise disqualified voters whose grandfathers voted (thus allowing some white illiterates to vote), some with the aim and effect of re-imposing racially motivated restrictions on the voting process that disenfranchised blacks. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, stuck down these restrictions only for them to be upheld in 2013 by Supreme Court stemming from the Shelby County v. Holder case.
Despite the Trayvon Martin verdict, America has a racial problem, it always had a racial problem and it always will have a racial problem. America was not created to be the melting pot it claims to be. This is what Black Americans need to realize and instead of waiting for the 40 acres and the mule, strive to become better people by actually working to dispel the negative stereotypes.