Hate crime in Mississippi

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, August 8, 2011 13:23 EDT
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While Matt Drudge cranks out a constant flow of propaganda to convince his easily-bewildered audience that there's some kind of black-on-white race war going on, CNN is reporting an actual hate crime in Mississippi. Warning: while the video isn't gory or anything, they do run surveillance footage of the murder.  

The reporter in the video twice says that this crime is something out of Mississippi's past, but the grim truth is that while crimes like this are far less common than they used to be, this is still a reflection of Mississippi's present. Deryl Dedmon is the 18-year-old charged with running over James Craig Anderson and ending his life, and the reason this looks like it's going to be an open-and-shut case is Dedmon felt so much social support for his racist views that he spent the hours before and after the murder bragging about it.  This doesn't surprise me.  Growing up in Texas, my experience was white people saying horribly racist shit usually went unchallenged, and Mississippi is even worse on this front than Texas.  Take, for instance, this story about how a Charleston, Mississippi high school had racially segregated proms until 2008.  And simply integrating proms doesn't exactly stop the problems, as evidenced by a girl in Kentucky who sued because she wasn't allowed to deck herself in the Confederate flag for her prom. (A Google search for this story shows widespread support for this young woman's cause from conservative bloggers, and makes me wonder where they stand on the issue of designing prom dresses around swastikas.)  By the way, her story shows how empty the "Southern heritage" excuse for the Confederate flag nonsense is; she said that's her reason for wanting to go to prom dressed in a Confederate flag, but really, since when is your prom dress chosen to reflect your "heritage"?  Most girls choose theirs with an eye towards displaying other assets.  

The youth of the perpetrators is a reminder of how racism and hatred perpetuate themselves, and why conservatives make such a big stink over "parental rights" to impose complete control over their children, to make sure they instill their "values". Thus the enthusiasm for home schooling and rewriting textbooks to reflect conservative propaganda instead of historical fact.  The result of all that hard work of insulating kids from other points of view and making sure they grow up in a thick of conservative "values" is that these kinds of racist views get planted and grow without any outside interference to challenge them.  In that kind of environment, hate crimes are basicaly inevitable, since hate crimes tend to be perpetuated by people who believe they have the support of the community for their racist views.  

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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