Meridian, that little town on the eastern portion of Mississippi bordering Alabama. We got the three-foot building and the Jimmie Rodgers Museum. But that’s not the only thing Meridian has. Racism? We can offer you that as well, it’s a little bit more under the table you know. White and black people are friendly, say hello to each other but nobody really hangs together. You may get the exception once in a while but mainly the two colors are separated mentally and physically. As a kid, my mom never spoke on racism or the KKK in Mississippi in the 1960s. She said a couple of things to me.
She knew the civil rights activist James Chaney and when she was small an old white lady order her dog to chase my mom. As I said before, as a kid you don’t understand your environment and its history. I will say something that will offend a lot of people but it must be said. I really do feel ALMOST every white person who I went to school with was racist even if they didn’t know it themselves. I think as a kid you are a reflection of your surroundings that your parents set for you. And I dare to say the grandparents and parents of my schoolmates were probably racist and probably did oppose black Americans integrating into the white schools during the 60s.
I remember in elementary we kids all played together without the stress of color interrupting our childhood. But even by the time of the 6th grade, I remember the strangest thing. Every morning before class would start all the white kids would hurdle together and not a single person of color would be among them. It was clear they didn’t want to have anything to do with anything that wasn’t white. That trend they started would continue for the rest of their lives. I imagine as they were old enough their parents explain to them that blacks should serve them and nothing else, “remember you are more intelligent and superior to those blacks.” As a teenager racism slowly started to show its ugly head even though it was all around me. Hmm, all round me… the racist school system, the racist school teachers and the police just to name a few.
The summer of 95 a group of us black kids would wandered into the white neighbourhoods. We were in awe of the clean-cut lawns, the big mansion houses, the country clubs and just the overall structure of the areas. It was like we stepped into another town but unbeknown to us the reason why there was a difference between the black and the white areas. While walking in those areas one time a cop stop his car to ask us “why were we walking in this area?” That same cop harassed us the whole summer resulting in the end with me being almost choked to death by this racist pig. I never told my father about what happened-I did tell my mother years later.
Later, when I moved to Ohio I was amaze to see black and white people living together side by side and hanging out. London and Paris were wonderful and the very definition of multiculturalism. When you visit my home town you will notice the difference. Even till this day, the black areas have abandon houses, drugs, gangs, murder and the poor are economically disenfranchised. All by design of course. Then you look North of town and you see big houses, clean lawns and economic freedom.
You would be hard pressed to find protest in Meridian. Maybe the people demanding the city council put more funds into better housing, more community centers for the youth, safer neighbourhoods and more job opportunity? I guess I might pissed a lot of my former white high school classmates off with my statements but it’s facts not an opinion! Anyway, truth most be told, my mouth and words doesn’t have a censor. You know what? Fuck Meridian native Susan Akin and Jimmie Rodgers.