As the physical symbols of slavery are finally being removed from Southern states, an elected official in Mississippi has provided a reminder that there are still far too many in the deep South who harbor the white supremacist and racist legacy that dates back to the Civil War.
Last Friday, the last of four monuments in Louisiana dedicated to Confederate Civil War military figures – a statue of General Robert E. Lee – was removed. For years, it had been a reminder to African Americans, minorities and members of the enlightened new South that state-sanctioned racism and violence still existed and that the ideals of white supremacy are still as strong as ever.
The “Dixiecrats” who continue to embrace the horrific terrors and racism of the past today are members of the Republican Party. Among them is state Rep. Karl Oliver, who is upset that the state of Louisiana has finally removed Confederate era monuments praising those who supported slavery and breaking up the American union of states.
Oliver posted on his social media account: “The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and i use this term extremely loosely, ‘leadership’ of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our state.”
The use of the term “lynched” is particularly offensive, as it refers directly to the targeted killing of hundreds of black Americans committed by white terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan following the Civil War.
Mississippi still has a Confederate symbol on its flag and a few relics of the past continue to exist both on state and private property.
Oliver was elected from an area that includes the town of Money, Mississippi, where in 1955 a 14-year-old African American boy was lynched by racist domestic terrorists.
Among those who has spoken out about Oliver’s racist post is Mississippi State Senator Derrick Simmons, an African American attorney, and businessman, according to The Root.com.
— Sen. Derrick Simmons (@SenDTSimmons) May 22, 2017
“I am offended and outraged that a public official in 2017 would, with an obvious conviction and clear conscience, call for and promote one of the most cruel, vicious, and wicked acts in American history,” Simmons told The Root.
Another African-American Mississippi elected official, Rep. Chris Bell, shot back at Oliver that he was “angered beyond words by the inflammatory remarks.”
On Facebook, Bell wrote: “His constant and consistent disrespect for those who are offended by the images of hate is unacceptable! I will fight with vigor and tenacity to ensure not only our current state flag is removed along with those images that glorify hate.”
The state of Mississippi’s legislators have repeatedly refused to take down or change the racist flag or like Louisiana remove all of the monuments to the horrors of the past.
The stubborn resistance to moving into a future that is welcoming to all of the state’s residents is a sign of a state that is willing to be second or third class in order to protect the sensibilities of a few who refuse to acknowledge the murder, rape, illegal acts and outright discrimination other states have put behind them.
That speaks to why Mississippi is regularly among the lowest in rankings of income, education and the continuance of poverty. It is a self-destructive and stupid approach to modern life that is an insult to many of those who live, work and raise families in the state.
The racists say that these statues are just symbols, which they are, but symbols are very powerful and are designed to remind everyone that skin color and how long they have lived in a place is what is important, instead of the character of the person, how hard they work, how well they treat their family.
Oliver and the Confederate sympathizers are offensive to those who are loyal to the entire United States, the one that exists because the stubbornly ignorant, backward-thinking white supremacists who hang on to our poisonous past thankfully did not win the Civil War.