Book takes compelling look at racial bias

June 28, 2010


“You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this all while not appearing to.” — Richard Nixon as quoted by H.R. Haldeman, supporting a get-tough-on drugs strategy.

“They give black people time like it’s lunch down there. You go down there looking for justice, that’s what you find: just us.” — Richard Pryor.

Michelle Alexander was an ACLU attorney in Oakland, preparing a racial profiling lawsuit against the California Highway Patrol. The ACLU had put out a request for anyone who had been profiled to get in touch. One day, in walked this black man.

He was maybe 19 and toted a thick sheaf of papers, what Alexander calls an “incredibly detailed” accounting of at least a dozen police stops over a nine-month period, with dates, places and officers’ names. This was, she thought, a “dream plaintiff.”

But it turned out he had a record, a drug felony — and she told him she couldn’t use him; the state’s attorney would eat him alive. He insisted he was innocent, said police had planted drugs and beaten him. But she was no longer listening. Finally, enraged, he snatched the papers back and started shredding them.

“You’re no better than the police,” he cried. “You’re doing what they did to me!” The conviction meant he couldn’t work or go to school, had to live with his grandmother. Did Alexander know how that felt? And she wanted a dream plaintiff? “Just go to my neighborhood,” he said. “See if you can find one black man my age they haven’t gotten to already.”

She saw him again a couple of months later. He gave her a potted plant from his grandmother’s porch — he couldn’t afford flowers — and apologized. A few months after that, a scandal broke: Oakland police officers accused of planting drugs and beating up innocent victims. One of the officers involved was the one named by that young man.

“It was,” says Alexander now, more than 10 years later, “the beginning of me asking some hard questions of myself as a civil rights lawyer. ... What is actually going on in his neighborhood? How is it that they’ve already gotten to all the young African-American men in his neighborhood? I began questioning my own assumptions about how the criminal justice system works.”

The result is a compelling new book. Others have written of the racial bias of the criminal injustice system. In “The New Jim Crow,” Alexander goes a provocative step further. She contends that the mass incarceration of black men for nonviolent drug offenses, combined with sentencing disparities and laws making it legal to discriminate against felons in housing, employment, education and voting, constitute nothing less than a new racial caste system. A new segregation.

She has a point. Yes, the War on Drugs is officially race-neutral. So were the grandfather clause and other Jim Crow laws whose intention and effect was nevertheless to restrict black freedom.

The War on Drugs is a war on African-American people and we countenance it because we implicitly accept certain assumptions sold to us by news and entertainment media, chief among them that drug use is rampant in the black community. But. The. Assumption. Is. WRONG.

According to federal figures, blacks and whites use drugs at a roughly equal rate in percentage terms. In terms of raw numbers, WHITES are far and away the biggest users — and dealers — of illegal drugs.

So why aren’t cops kicking THEIR doors in? Why aren’t THEIR sons pulled over a dozen times in nine months? Why are black men 12 times likelier to be jailed for drugs than white ones? Why aren’t WHITE communities robbed of their fathers, brothers, sons?

With inexorable logic, “The New Jim Crow” propounds an answer many will resist and most have not even considered. It is a troubling and profoundly NECESSARY book.

Please read it.

— Leonard Pitts Jr., is a columnist for the Miami Herald. lpitts@miamiherald.com


jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

Now that's a Pitts' piece I can get behind! Oakland is a notoriously rough city, but the police force there has been just as criminal. Heard last night that they're having severe money issues and as many as 80 officers are going to be let go. Considering all, not sure that's a good or a bad thing.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 11 months ago

Racism is alive and well in this country. The Equal Rights Amendment did little to change things. I am white. Several of my close friends happen to be black. I have heard horror stories that would make your toes curl. I've seen a couple myself. In 1972 I witnessed police officers take an 18 year old black boy back up behind a high school and beat the c**p out of him. Why? He was walking on the street with a white girl. Me. After he was beaten he was released and returned to our home. Yes, I said our home. He was my house mate along with another white woman and an American Indian male. We all had our own bedrooms, had jobs and classes and split the rent. When he returned that night I went into a state of shock and disbelief. He was a gentle boy who had never done anything to hurt anybody. I bawled as I put ice on his black eye and cleaned the scrapes. That night he made the decision to move out because being there was too dangerous for him AND us. That danger was from law enforcement. Yes the Equal Rights Amendment became part of the Constitution. Too bad that in a lot of ways it wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

That's a bit much, cait. There's only one way that the Civil Rights Act fails (which I believe you're confusing with the ERA), at least in my opinion, inasmuch as no one can legislate free will. You can't order people to be tolerant or non-prejudicial, everyone has a mind of their own. Yes, racism is "alive and well", though 'well' seems misplaced. And it'll never, ever go away completely 'cuz we can't eliminate ignorance or the caveman mentality of some people. But I've been pleased to see things improve with every decade that I've been alive; hope lies in our children and so on down the line. But the Act is solid on its face and goes as far to the mat as is reasonably possible. Thinking it hasn't changed things is a little silly, considering it stamped out segregation at the very least and has led to black people becoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Chairman of the RNC, Secretary of State, and President of the United States, just to name a few formerly unattainable (let alone unimaginable) positions for blacks less than half a century ago.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 11 months ago

This will be my next book. Thank you Leonard!

Richard Payton 7 years, 11 months ago

Pitts did you forget that Richard Pryor set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine? Maybe not the person the story should have quoted. I agree with the overall principle that racial bias exist even today.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 11 months ago

Why would you judge him on the stupid mistake he made and not on the wonderful comedy he gave us.

Richard Payton 7 years, 11 months ago

I didn't judge Richard Pryor I just pointed out a fact of his life. I agree it was a "stupid mistake." Nobody lives without making a few dumb mistakes in life. I do agree Richard Pryor was talented and I like that he even joked about his "stupid mistake," as you quote grammaddy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

Maybe it wasn't your race that was the problem?

Nah, couldn't be.

kernal 7 years, 11 months ago

You know, Tom, after reading your posts, I have to conclude you may have exhibited some mannerisms to get the responses you did. It's really hard to hide true feelings from those you have little respect for.

Rex Russell 7 years, 11 months ago

It's obvious that these fine, perceptive people didn't judge Tom on the color of of his skin, but on the content of his character.

worsenewsgirl 7 years, 11 months ago

"And racism is a two-way street; many also forget that." And you're not being promptly waited on in a Church's Fried Chicken, which you perceived to be racially biased, is equivalent in its outcome to mass incarceration? And so since Church's employees don't wait on white people it's okay that blacks face racism in the criminal justice system that locks them in prison and ruins their future with a criminal record? Being denied your Church's chicken is equivalent to being unjustly incarcerated--that's some good friend chicken!!

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

Wow! What a touching and sad story -- the story of a man and the hardships one must endure in order to get greasy food in a paper bucket! It is a miracle that you didn't have a mental break down and are able to tell your story at all! Ranks right up there with Alex Haley's "Roots." You should see if the FoxNews mini-series division wants to make a film out of the troubles you've seen at Church's Fried Chicken!

Oh, and just so you know, once you got the food, I'll bet there was spit in it.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm a bigot and a hypocrite because your Church's Fried Chicken story doesn't exactly rank right up there with the struggles of so many for Civil Rights in America? um... okay.

By the way, still think "Whites are powerless now"?

person184 7 years, 11 months ago

Most days, I would never defend Tom. But I know what he is talking about. STL is an interesting place and I got a taste of what many black people get in a predominantly white area. People were very hostile and rude. It depends on where you are. Couldn't wait to get back to Lawrence!!

kansastruthteller 7 years, 11 months ago

Many years ago, I was traveling through a large city. I saw a Church's chicken but despite being hungry, I hesitated for a moment because it was in a predominantly black inner city neighborhood. I mention the racial makeup of the neighborhood only for the purposes of this story. I was not worried about it being a black neighborhood, but being an inner city poor neighborhood and my being a middle class outsider.

Shirking off that thought I entered and waited my turn in line. I approached the counter and the clerk looked around me and asked the black man behind me what he wanted. I interrupted and said, "excuse me, I'm next."

All eyes in the store turned to me, but I didn't flinch. Got my order, left and enjoyed my chicken. Racism couldn't stop me from enjoying Church's chicken.

earline james 7 years, 11 months ago

... and enjoyed my chicken (...that they picked up off the floor and spit in) ... Yum.

kansastruthteller 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh yeah, I thought about them doing a Jesse Jackson to me, but fortunately, they had to fill the chicken box right in front of me LOL

Fatty_McButterpants 7 years, 11 months ago

Tom... I love it; when a black person doesn't receive prompt service or is the recipient of poor manners, this board goes nuts with cries of racism; when a white person is treated the same way by a black person, it's always because of something that they did. Freaking ridiculous.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 11 months ago

Anyone who doubts the state of affairs in many communities should read: "Black Like Me ... by journalist John Howard Griffin first published in 1961. Griffin was a white native of Mansfield, Texas ........ describes his six-week experience travelling on Greyhound buses (occasionally hitchhiking) throughout the racially segregated states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia passing as a black man...." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Like_Me =========== I suspect anyone who had the guts to try this again would have similar experiences in many towns. Another telling study of this issue is A Country of Strangers, David K. Shipler, which is more recent and scholarly but deals with similar issues and concerns. Good column, Leonard.

George Lippencott 7 years, 11 months ago

equalaccessprivacy (anonymous) says… Pitts offers a compelling recommendation!

Help me here - what was the recommendation.

A problem was stated. A cause was assumed At best a solution was inferred.

I remember a similar cry in Vietnam. Stats pointed to too high a rate of non-judicial punishment for blacks. The cause was presumed racism in the system. The solution was to force balance in the stats. Don't know if there was every a follow-up. There were allegations of reverse discrimination (blacks not punished for what whites were punished for). Don't know the truth - but perception is not always something you want to trivialize.

Oakland, I am told, has an appreciable number of minority officers. Is the presumption of racism warranted or is there some other factor at work? Do we need “toto” to pull back the curtain?

And yes I live in the real world. There is racism. It is no longer by law in this country but apparently may still exist in enforcement of those laws – not to mention normal social interaction. How do you deal with it or is there a certain amount we must accept because humans are what they are?

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 11 months ago

"Help me here - what was the recommendation."

"The result is a compelling new book. Others have written of the racial bias of the criminal injustice system. In “The New Jim Crow,” Alexander goes a provocative step further. " From the article above.


George Lippencott 7 years, 11 months ago


I acknowledged that - how do we fix it?? Is it fixable?

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 11 months ago

Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow, sounds fascinating. Pitts' article is basically a book review. White supremacist attitudes rule, in some parts of the country more than others. I think the planted drug evidence example gives Ms. Alexander's story a certain powerful credibility.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

You have a bias against mormons and catholics?

headdoctor 7 years, 11 months ago

Tarball's attempt at baiting, -10. The 4 liberal judges were against gun rights for everyone. Their stance is not race specific. I am surprised you didn't try to cloud the issue with Obama's voting record on some of the gun issues by reporting it then twisting why he voted against it.

kansastruthteller 7 years, 11 months ago

Racism, racial bias etc. exists - indisputable, but racism is not limited to one race or group. Not the same as injust incarceration, but relevant - how many whites received an award from BET last night? How many whites were considered for an award? Isn't basing something on one's race racist?

Did not race play a role in Sotomayor being nominated for SCOTUS? Of course it did, but is that okay?

Are there varying degrees of racism and some acceptable? Or is all racism vile and to be despised? If the latter is true then why do we tolerate any racism?

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 11 months ago

BET has always catered to Blacks. Not surprising that no whites were considered for an award. How many whites are actually involved in "Black culture"? I watched the Daytime Emmies last night. Awards given for the daytime television shows.There are quite a few Black folks on daytime television but I didn't see any of them rewarded either and as far as I can tell, Oprah was probably the only one nominated for anything.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

So, there have been 111 Supreme Court justices, and one of them is Latina. One.

Yep, race has played a role in nominations alright.

George Lippencott 7 years, 11 months ago

So should the next 100 all be minorities and woman?

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

No, only the next 76.

... Or, should the next 100 NOT be minorities or women?

Seriously, for someone to indicate that race is in play after ONE hispanic out of 111 is finally selected is just ridiculous. What about all the others? Was there really not a qualified hispanic before this point? That suggests that the ONE isn't really qualified, and that is just not the case.

kansastruthteller 7 years, 11 months ago

Are you saying race didn't play a role? If so, you're in denial because even Sotomayor said her latina heritage qualified her more than a white man.

Maybe you're saying it ok to give a job to someone because of their race sometimes? If so, then racism isn't always wrong?

Racism is always wrong.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

No, she absolutely did not say that! She said that as a "wise" Latina that she believed that she would come to a better conclusion than a white male. Not a better decision than a "wise" white male, mind you, but just a white male. That is what she said and that is far from saying she was more qualified than others because of her heritage.

What I am saying is that selecting a highly qualified person isn't racist just because the person isn't white.

Yet your raise an interesting point.

Since racism is always wrong, as you point out, then I guess this means we must throw out all decisions made by the court when it was made up of nothing but white men. Others weren't considered for the appointments for the longest time, so that means the court was not only racist but sexist as well! That is a history of extreme racism and sexism, and since racism is wrong then their decisions began and ended in a position of being wrong all along. Time to start with a clean slate and rule all prior decisions null and void! Correct?

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

"Since racism is always wrong, as you point out, then I guess this means we must throw out all decisions made by the court when it was made up of nothing but white men.""

Hooonk! Thanks for playing, but that's chock full of so many argumentative fallacies there's no point in listing them all. I'm sure that was supposed to be sarcastic, but even sarcasm needs to have some logical basis, and yours has none.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

Why? Please tell me why a court that would only consider white men to be members wouldn't be considered a racist court? What if it were a trial, and only white men were allowed as jurors -- think that would hold up against an appeal? Why should an all white male court's rulings stand when the formation of that court was based on the very obvious racist ideas that only white men belonged on the court? Or are you saying that it wasn't racist? How can it not be racist (and sexist) if only white men were allowed on the court?

Yes, I was being sarcastic about throwing out their rulings, but if you are going to claim my stament has no logical basis then you must demonstrate what point or points I made that lack logic and is incorrect or a fallacy. Otherwise, you are just being argumentative to be argumentative, and as such you deserve a big, fat -- Whatever Mary!

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

Why must I? If it's purely sarcastic - as you admit - what is there to prove? It's a fallacious premise to begin with, so there's nothing to prove. Just because the Court was made up of only white men does not automatically discount their decisions on the basis of LAW, therefore your argument is, was, and will always be MOOT. And if anyone was being "argumetative to be argumetative", it was you for throwing out that sarcastic bs that has no chance of being involved in a logical discussion. Sorry, charlie.

Not quite as bad as that ridiculous post of yours last night on "Republicans kill jobless aids measure", bea, but this was fallacious at best.


beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

Except, I didn't say that a court made up of only white men should automatically have their decisions thrown out. I said that perhaps a court made up of only white men that was comprised under the belief that only white men were competent and capable of serving should have their decisions thrown out. There is a difference.

The line on the other post was a simple joke, brainiac. Pull your head out and maybe you could recognize the obvious. Besides, I thought you believed it was out of bounds, uncouth, or some such nonsense, to bring up posts on other stories? Don't live by the standards you use to attempt to criticize others? Typical.

By the way, and this is the most important, I thought you were done with me? Why are you still sniffing around my posts like a sad puppy needing a home? Haven't I thrown enough rocks at you to let you know that I really don't like you? Really.

Go away little man ... shoo, shoo!

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

As long as you insist on posting ignorant tripe I'll be looking forward to calling you on it. Great rebuttal, by the way. I'll bet you really think you said something there.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

So you intend to stalk me after saying you were "done with me"? Weirdo.

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

Leave it to you to put that kind of spin on it. Typical. And quit being such a hypocrite, for the love. 'Stalking' has been your MO of late. Besides, if you'd simply refrain from posting such moronic $#*!, you wouldn't be ridiculed. Your choice.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

Here's an alternative look: "...Soon after his confirmation, Attorney General Eric Holder labeled us a nation of cowards, a people supposedly unwilling or afraid to discuss race. Based on my experience as an attorney at the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, Holder has far more to fear from that discussion than do the rest of us. If we had that frank, truthful discussion about race, we’d learn that the Obama administration doesn’t believe some civil rights laws protect every American. The Bush Civil Rights Division was willing to protect all Americans from racial discrimination; during the Obama years, the Holder years, only some Americans will be protected. Americans have a right to know and judge the racial policies of the administration they elected in 2008. The dismissal of the voter intimidation lawsuit against armed New Black Panthers in Philadelphia is the most prominent example of this hostility toward race-neutral enforcement of civil rights laws. But that dismissal is far from the only manifestation of the beliefs infesting the Department. Many other cases and decisions — some of which I will detail below — are in question and deserve scrutiny. On Election Day 2008, armed men wearing the uniforms and jackboots of the New Black Panther Party were posted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the entrance to a polling site. They brandished a weapon and intimidated voters. After the election, the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice brought a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and these armed thugs. I, and other Justice lawyers, obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the case against them. Before a final judgment could be entered, however, our superiors ordered dismissal of the claims. Congress has sought answers from the Department about why the Black Panther case was dismissed. The Department has repeatedly claimed the “facts and law” did not support the case — which of course is false. Others have speculated about a White House involvement. But I believe the best explanation for the corrupt dismissal of the case is the profound hostility by the Obama Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department towards a race-neutral enforcement of civil rights laws..." http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/j-christian-adams-you-deserve-to-know-%E2%80%94-unequal-law-enforcement-reigns-at-obamas-doj-pjm-exclusive/?singlepage=true

BorderRuffian 7 years, 11 months ago

Racism is a bias in any direction toward or against someone of a different race, simply becausae they are of a different race. Seems to me that we have plenty of racism to go around in this country. White racism against blacks, black racism against whites, white or black Americans against non-Americans, non-americans against Americans, Americans against illegal aliens, illegal aliens against Americans, and the list goes on unchecked.

I AM against racism, classism, elitism, or any other "ism", in any shape or form. Strangely, because of history past, it seems these ism's are loaded up primarily on whites. Most of whom are doing their level best not to be racist.

I am now part of the most hated and despised demographics in America. I am a white, middle-aged, middle-class male. I am white by nature of my genetics, I am middle-aged by sheer luck, and I am middle-class because I have worked all my life. I have worked to keep racism and all other ism's apart from me, and it disgusts me when people of other backgrounds or make-ups label me as racist or otherwise-ist when I am the one trying to be fair and ethical.

I am proud of who I am and make no excuses about who I am. And if the rest of you want to keep on receiving the respect I happily extend to you, you can honor me for being who I am as well.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps it is best to consider the history of racism in America and how that history continues to have a lasting effect on our country. Yes, all people of all races have had racism directed toward them from one group or another. However, who historically has really gotten the short end of the stick? Just because the Civil Rights Act was passed, that doesn't mean suddenly we are all on an even playing field.

Consider something as simple as middle class white folks being able to get their parents to co-sign on a loan -- I did growing up, and maybe you did too. Nothing big for me, just a used car, co-signed by my blue-collar, middle to lower-middle class parents. That used car got me from school to work and home, and I've been working since I was 16. But what if your or my parents, in the 1960s or 1970s, couldn't have co-signed because they hadn't been given the opportunities to get credit in the first place. (Yes, there are individual cases that don't fit this model, but I am looking at this collectively.) Now, wouldn't you say that gives one person (or group) a leg up over another? Couldn't that have a lasting effect today? What about not getting a call for an interview because you have a name that suggests you are of color, even though you are qualified? Studies have shown that this still happens. These are relatively small things compared to the major racism of centuries past, of course, but when you add many of these little things up, then it still matters.

So you might think white middle-class males are the most hated group in America, but you still have a history of advantages on your side just because of your race, and gender (but we can save that one for later). That doesn't make you a bad person for being who you are, it just means that race still matters in this country, and for the most part whites continue to benefit most.

Yes, it is getting better, but it is still far from equal for all in our country.

BorderRuffian 7 years, 11 months ago

I have heard all the arguments about the so-called "white privilege," and while some of them may be true, you simply cannot hate those who, although they may have had some advantage in the past, still are doing all they can to ensure equal benefits to all persons. Reverse discrimination, affirmative action, and fostering an attitude of self-loathing even for those who might have been inherently advantaged by skin color or any other distinctive demographics only serves to keep the petri dish of anger and racism breeding mroe racism.

Yes, race still matters. But what matters most is for all races and demographics to work equally hard to eliminate FROM THEMSELVES any tinge of hatred, prejudice, or bias that puts someone else down and elevates themselves based solely on race, creed, gender, social status, etc. Otherwise we keep on breeding bias and bigotry.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

so-called "white privilege"? Nothing so-called about it. However, who said anything about hate? Please know, I never said I hate you, although I'm not sure that is what you intended.

First off, there is no such thing as "reverse" discrimination or reverse racism. There is only discrimination and racism, and it can come from all sides. Secondly, affirmative action has been an effective tool in the struggle against institutalized racism and disadvantage. Yes, it has been abused and is far from perfect, and I do believe we are moving closer and closer to not needing it at all. It has, however, served a purpose, in my opinion.

I'm just trying to point out that you shouldn't completely disregard history, and if you really believe that in America racism is "loaded up primarily on whites," then you aren't looking at the issue realistically. Do you really believe minorities have an advantage over whites in this country? Really? Consider putting yourself in someone else's shoes, and think, would I be better off if I weren't a middle aged white guy, but were a middle aged guy of another color?

Finally, you must know that stating you are now part of the most despised demographic is playing the victim card. Whites have not suffered the effects of racism in America the way other groups have. To state otherwise is to ignore reality.

puddleglum 7 years, 11 months ago

I had a similar experience.

One time I was passing through atlanta. It seemed that popeye's applebee's and KFC were the only choices, so I chose applebee's... I rolled in and the needle came off the record. Only white dude around. Hostess was fake-nice and sat us at a Jim Crow table next to the bathroom. Waitress threw silverware on table as everybody in the restaurant stared. Of course, I am very attractive, and soon enough-these people overcame their bigotry and began asking for my autograph, and asking for me to pose with them as cameras snapped away-bulbs flashing, cheeseburgers flying, golden sunshine flowing from my silky smooth locks of auburn greatness, shimmering in the cascade of strobe lighting like a comet flying around saturn.
after all was said and done, I found that these people could appreciate my beauty. But had I been simply average looking, or ugly-the outcome could have been dour. It would have been an ugly display of racism towards a poor white starlet such as I.

George Lippencott 7 years, 11 months ago

Hay CAIT you did not answer. I don' want to read the book. Since Mr. Pitts chose to bring it up in his column I think it appropriate he do a complete job. What do we do about it - set more quotas

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

He was recommending the book.

If you don't want to read it, fine.

George Lippencott 7 years, 11 months ago

And I was complaining about his book review as he did not tip me off to any conclusion.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

That's what the book is for, not the review.

JustNoticed 7 years, 11 months ago

Kudos to Puddleglum. But, the most interesting thing to me about race is that it is a social construct created out of those genetic differences that stand out to us. There is nothing real about it at all.

novalissuperstar 7 years, 11 months ago

genetic difference are more than skin deep. why wouldn't they be?

Mike Ford 7 years, 11 months ago

this conversation is hilarious... you have tom shewmon getting bad service because he is tom shewmon... and you have caucasians complaining about service in minority restaurants. I've been stared at as a mixed choctaw person more times I can count in rural restaurants yet been served and had great conversation in minority restaurants in places like greenville, mississippi. The people here have no idea what racism is. I remember seeing the KKK as an 8 year old at the intersection of U.S. 90 and Miss. Hwy 57 in 1978 near Ocean Springs, MS collecting donations in boots at that intersection. Right around the corner from the Nunih Waiya Mound north of Bok Chito, MS was the Nunih Waiya Missionary Mennonite Church. The original church was burned by the KKK when the Choctaw people told the FBI where the burned station wagon of the three civil rights workers was. You all have no idea...

jaybark 7 years, 11 months ago

Thank you for being the voice of reason. Shewmon likes playing the "reverse racism" card at any opportunity as an excuse for making unapologetic, bigoted commentary. But comparing the history of ungodly treatment of Blacks and other minorities (as a person of Choctaw descent, a subject with which I'm sadly sure you have just a bit of familiarity) in America to poor customer service at a fast food restaurant is likely the most laughable juxtaposition in North America. Unbelievable of what people can convince themselves. I even think someone said "I understood what it's like being Black in a White community" because he or she, as a White person, went into (again) a predominantly Black community restaurant. THIS is the reason Pitts' book recommendation needs to be heeded.

puddleglum 7 years, 11 months ago

and YOU obviously have no idea what real suffering is about. I'd like to see you try, just TRY to have a meal without a napkin. just do it once! Or have a dirty bottle of ketsup on your table...UGH! I can't even stand to thnk about it-it gives me nightmares and will haunt me forever.

jonas_opines 7 years, 11 months ago

I was at a predominantly black Chicken and Waffle House in LA and I got prejudiceded against too! Nah, I'm lying. I actually was there with a couple of other kids from my HS church in a predominantly black Chicken and Waffle House in LA, looked to the right and saw the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who we approached. He shook our hands and took a picture with us. It was kind of neat. (not lying)

Granted, we had been in the LA sun for a week, so we weren't really white anymore. More of a. . . glowing bronze. Maybe that helped.

emaw 7 years, 11 months ago

In my experiences, some of the most racist people were the ones who actually knew the least about the culture or race they claimed to hate...that being said, I am tired of having things that happened 40, 50, 200 years ago being brought up time and time again. Sure, we should never forget what happened but we will never be able to heal and get over this nation of hate and racism until we let it go and decide to move forward.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

40 or 50 years ago is in our lifetime ... well, in the lifetime of some of us anyway. We shouldn't dismiss history.

emaw 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm not saying we should dismiss it...and no, it is not in my lifetime. All I am saying is when are we going to get over it and move forward.

jafs 7 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps when the ongoing effects of the past have been corrected.

George Lippencott 7 years, 11 months ago

jafs How do you sort those out? Take from those who are guilty of nothing to give to those who may or may not be the vicitms of history?

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

I once got bad service at a Cracker Barrel in Oklahoma.

Since everyone involved was white, can someone explain this episode of double-reverse racism?

jonas_opines 7 years, 11 months ago

It was in Cracker Barrell in Oklahoma, and you're a pinko hippie commie, Bea. Did I really need to spell that out for you? Sure, you might not look it on the surface, but a true 'Murican can smell teh socialism(tm).

verity 7 years, 11 months ago

Everybody gets bad service in Oklahoma.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

I was thinking maybe they just objected to my "I Heart Gun Control" t-shirt, but after reading of the horrors of Tom's experience in Church's Fried Chicken I realized -- it must have been double-reverse racism.

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