Sunday, March 19, 2023

In Your Face Racism, 21st Century Jim Crow. CNN. Opinion: Republicans’ end run around Black Mississippians is being copied in other states.

Opinion: Republicans’ end run around Black Mississippians is being copied in other states

State education officials in Austin plan to name a new board to run schools in the district, usurping the authority of local authorities. The move ostensibly is meant to address lagging academic achievement in a school district that has seen a substantial decline in the number of failing schools in recent years.
Derrick Johnson
The takeover is a playbook that is all too familiar to residents of my city of Jackson – Mississippi’s majority Black capital city – which has been battling the hostile takeover of aspects of its local governance for years.

The racist undertones of what’s happening – in Jackson, in Houston and elsewhere around the country – are undeniable and unacceptable. Mississippi’s White leadership – in a state which has the highest percentage of Black citizens in the nation – does whatever it can to ensure that its Black population remains second class citizens.

Last month, the Mississippi House reestablished a racist precedent from a seemingly bygone era with the passage of HB 1020. The intent behind this legislation was to create a separate, unelected court system and expanded police force on the people who live in Jackson.

Republicans’ overwhelming majorities in Mississippi’s state legislature give them the ability to ram through racist legislation against which Democrats – who represent a majority of Black Mississippians – have no recourse. It’s the opposite of what democracy is supposed to be about.

Water is another weapon that has been wielded against Black people in Mississippi. For decades, residents of the capital city Jackson, where 83% of the population is Black, have had to contend with a tainted water supply the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined could become a breeding ground for E. coli and other pathogens.

The problem became even worse in February 2021, when late winter storms damaged the city’s aging, deteriorating water system, leaving much of the city under a boil water alert. Some residents were left without any running water at all.

But the problem is both systemic and institutional: For years, the state underinvested in Jackson’s basic water infrastructure, turning a blind eye to the water system failures and elevated levels of toxins such as lead, failing to provide even basic maintenance for infrastructure relied upon by Black parents to bathe their babies and tapped by the mostly Black schools for their drinking fountains.
The reaction from our state leadership, including from Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, has been to blame the victim, pointing a finger back at Jackson for alleged mismanagement of a water system state officials never adequately funded.

Eventually, in late 2022, the EPA stepped inlaunching a probe of Mississippi’s discriminatory water practices. But the state’s White leadership once again stood in the way of efforts to improve the lives of its Black citizens. The state Senate last month passed legislation – SB 2889 – putting Jackson’s water under state control and siphoning away millions of dollars in new federal funding to help fix the failing water infrastructure. Once again, the White, Republican-run state government has gone out of its way to try to dispossess Jackson’s Black residents.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Search This Blog

ARCHIVE List 2011 - Present