Racism alive and well in hospitality state

by Brody Burns

MCT Campus
MCT Campus

Racism isn’t dead. It’s seething in the deep South, occasionally rearing an ugly head of hatred, intolerance and ignorance, and proving that some of America still has much to learn. The latest instance surrounds a recent political poll conducted in Mississippi, which found unbelievable bigotry. The poll was conducted via phone interviews between March 24 and March 27, attempting to gauge early preferences in the 2012 presidential election, as well as the 2012 Mississippi State governor’s election. Of the 400 registered Republican Mississippi voters polled, 46 percent supported outlawing interracial marriage. Another 14 percent expressed views of uncertainty on the topic. meaning 60 percent of the Republicans polled do not outright support interracial marriage. In related news, Jim Crow is leading the governor’s race in the state. From all the latest hot topic issues of the upcoming presidential election, the budget deficit, unemployment and multiple foreign wars, I didn’t realize interracial marriage carried any significance to voters. It clearly shouldn’t.

World class bigot Seaborn Roddenbery, a U.S. representative from Georgia who served in the early 1900s, was a champion of the anti-miscegenation cause. His own personal hatred prompted him to promote this virtue all the way into the U.S. Constitution, and was evidentiary of the racial intolerance of the times. The restriction of interracial marriages was formally declared unconstitutional in 1967 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia. Their argument, which happened to be very rational, was that under the U.S. Constitution, a person’s individual freedom to marry could not be discriminated based upon race. Apparently the Pony Express still delivers news in the South, because it took Alabama until 2000 to officially recognize this ruling. In the landmark amendment No. 2 of 2000 to the Alabama State Constitution, 59 percent voted in favor of abolishing the prohibition of interracial marriage within the state. Still some 545,933 people felt that marriage should only be a one-race union, and voted against abolishing the prohibition. In the esteemed election that first delivered the country former president George W. Bush (well sort of, but not as a result of democratic voting), the last state in the U.S. finally recognized the legality of interracial marriage.

These heinous views bring large questions to the table: If interracial marriage were to be deemed illegal, then who is to decide what is interracial? What specific test could be administered to ensure that the racial sanctity of marriage isn’t desecrated? Shall we regress to segregation to ensure no borders are crossed? In a hypothetical situation, do I need to provide proof of genealogy to ensure the clean lineage in the breeding process? Will the state of Mississippi go a step further and implement the act of breeding humans similar to the practice of dog breeding, where the best of each race is paired to breed, all in order to provide the world with a superhuman offspring? Can we then pit these superhumans against one another in a best-in-show contest, (after all, we all know the South loves pageants), and officially recognize the most valuable in each race? And when can we trade the state of Mississippi to Mexico for Puerto Vallarta?

Sarcasm aside, Mississippi actually claims to be the “Hospitality State. Alabama was home to many notable aspects of the civil rights movement. The Supreme Court decision overturning prohibitions of interracial marriage came during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, more than 44 years ago. Is change moving that slowly, to the point where a sizable segment of the population is unwilling to leave their comfortable positions of hatred? The act of restricting someone’s inalienable rights should never occur. Equality is something guaranteed regardless of the feelings of the voting public. The Supremacy Clause within the U.S. Constitution plainly lays the framework where U.S. Supreme Court decisions and the Constitution carry the distinction of being “the Supreme Law of the Land.” There is no debate on this topic. Furthermore, isn’t the Republican Party constantly clamoring for government to keep out of their lives? Or is it only a hands-off mentality when the potential government action directly affects you? Restricting someone’s rights isn’t noble, patriotic or any other representation of anything American. It’s pure, unchaste hatred.

The U.S. is one of the most diverse countries in the world. It is imperative that the diversity of viewpoints is not restricted, but any act that aims to denigrate, restrict or subordinate another person cannot occur. The foundation of this country is equality, guaranteed to everyone regardless of sex, race, religion or in this case, marital lineage.

In a startling twist, Republican Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi recently described growing up in times of segregation, “I just don’t remember it as being that bad.” There is no limit to the absurdity of Barbour and his fellow Republicans in Mississippi. It’s time for he and his racist cohorts to join the rest of us in the 21st century.

—Brody Burns is seeking a master’s in business administration.

— The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.