Any American who believes that the South has changed since 1865 has chosen to be ignorant. Racism and bigotry remain as prevalent today as they were 70 years ago. The illusion that change has come to America is completely false. Hatred and an inclination for violence remain, especially in our southern states.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 meant nothing. In 1965 I was on a United States Air Force bus traveling from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas to Keelser AFB in Mississippi. We stopped at a small restaurant in Alabama to get food. We saw a sign which had an arrow directing black men and women to the back of the building; they referred to blacks as “niggers.”
The truth is that any American who believes that racism and bigotry in America no longer exists has reached a level of ignorance which is unacceptable. With the leader of white supremacy living in the White House hate crimes have increased by more than 800 percent according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Let’s look at a recent statement by a Tennessee state lawmaker today.
“We’ve got a queer running for president, if that ain’t about as ugly as you can get,” Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst said to the crowd after telling them to “wake up.”
“I’m not prejudiced, but by golly,” continued Hurst, waving his finger in the air, “a white male in this country has very few rights, and they’re getting took more every day.” While one member of the crowd walked out in protest, Hurst was met with whistles and applause from the audience after he finished speaking.
The response from Hurst’s crowd is demonstrative of the attitude in our predominately white southern states.
I am a liberal and very proud of that fact. If you agree with Hurst, you are not an American
Op-ed by James Turnage
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