Unbelievable arrogance, extreme ignorance
“The only ones that are having the problems: Guess who? The African Americans,” Sanders said. “You know why? In my opinion, they were slaves. And because of that, they didn’t have to go out and earn any money, they didn’t have to do anything. Whoever owned them took care of them, fed them, clothed them, worked them. They became dependent, and that dependency is still there. The Democrats right here who depend on the black vote to get elected, they make them dependent on them.” ~ Harry Sanders, Lowndes County Supervisor, Mississippi; June 17, 2020
My friends have often heard me refer to what I call the Molotov cocktail of the American south. It is a unique mixture made up of unbelievable arrogance and extreme ignorance. The quote above is a great example of it.
Mr. Sanders also went on to say that Black Americans haven’t “assimilated” like other cultures. (Not that I’m fond of the word “assimilate.” It reminds me of The Borg: “Resistance is futile.”) Anyway, County Supervisor Harry Sanders plum forgot about dozens of Jim Crow laws prohibiting Black people from “assimilating.” Here are just a few from Mississippi alone:
1865: felony for any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto to intermarry with any white person. Penalty: Imprisonment in state penitentiary for life.
1867: Negroes declared incompetent to serve as jurors.
1896: Separate districts established for the schools of white and black children.
1904: Railroad commission to provide separate waiting rooms for white and black passengers. Separate restrooms were to be provided also.
1942: Marriage between white and Negro or Asian void. Penalty: $500 and/or up to ten years imprisonment. Anyone advocating intermarriage subject to fine of $500 and/or six months.
1956: Firms and corporations authorized to choose their clientele and the right to refuse service to any person.
As far as the slaves not having to “do anything,” what he forgot to say was “except all the work.”
But this is largely the problem in states like Mississippi: There was never any repentance around slavery; simply reluctance and semi-compliance, and a refusal to believe southern whites were wrong (a refusal for literally the past 154 years). Notice the term, “worked them.” I mean, who says that about other human beings?! You speak that way about mules and sled dogs.
And yes, the Democrats, which is to say the ones who are more Federally minded at this point, have helped somewhat.
Today’s Republicans prefer to “kick it to the states,” which, of course, if you’re in a state like the great state of Mississippi is, well, not so great. But in his ignorance, Mr. Sanders thinks Black people are “dependent” on Democrats… No, not “dependent on,” but (in a reverse of the Reconstruction days) we do “depend on” the Democrats to be a little fairer (especially with the Trump-supporting Republicans in office now).
Wouldn’t it be amazing if Lowndes County Supervisor Harry Sanders of Mississippi were to visit the Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture and spend a few hours winding around the three vast lower stories, and actually get an education about the “ones who are having the problems” — and about why?! I imagine that would be like trying to drag a demon into a church!
* * * * *