NAACP: Travel To Missouri At Your Own Risk

You may have missed this story, for it was but a very short story … more of a blurb, really … in both The Washington Post and the New York Times, each of whom simply copied the Associated Press release, word for word.  I found the full story in the Kansas City Star along with links to verify and fill in the gaps.

The AP release:

NAACP Delegates Back Advisory Urging Caution in Missouri

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AUG. 1, 2017, 12:21 P.M. E.D.T.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The head of the Missouri NAACP says the national organization is backing a travel advisory urging caution in Missouri over concerns about whether civil rights will be respected.

Missouri NAACP President Rod Chapel says national delegates voted last week to adopt a travel advisory that the state chapter issued in June. Chapel says the national board will consider ratification in October.

The advisory cites a new state law making it more difficult to sue for housing or employment discrimination. The state NAACP says the measure could make it tougher to hold people accountable for harassment and discrimination.

Supporters argue the law will help reduce “frivolous lawsuits” in the state.

The advisory also cites a report showing black Missouri drivers last year were 75 percent more likely to be stopped than whites.

Chapel says he hopes recognition from the national organization will boost awareness.

I do not know on what page this story ran in either publication, but I had to dig to find it online.  Why?  Given that neither the Post nor the Times tend to be in the least bit racist, I can only guess that the reason this story did not make the cut was because it did not contain the name “Trump”.  If it had, it would have warranted 1,000+ words instead of a mere 143.

This is the first time in history that the NAACP has issued such a warning for an entire state.  The reason?  An increase in race-based incidents throughout the state, as well as recently passed legislation making it harder, if not impossible, for fired employees to prove racial discrimination.

From the national NAACP website:

BALTIMOREThe NAACP Travel Advisory for the state of Missouri, effective through August 28th, 2017, calls for African American travelers, visitors and Missourians to pay special attention and exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the state given the series of questionable, race-based incidents occurring statewide recently, and noted therein.

Nearly three years ago, racial bias in Missouri seized national headlines after Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., prompting widespread protests. More recently, however, there have been other disturbing incidents, such as death threats to black students at the University of Missouri in Columbia, black drivers being 75% more likely to be stopped and searched than white drivers.

Then there was Senate bill #43 signed in June that says a terminated employee must prove that racial bias was the sole reason for his or her termination, rather than simply a contributing factor.  Additionally, it removes protections for state employees — and limits punitive damages for victims of workplace discrimination. In April, the head of the Missouri NAACP tried to express his concerns about the measure at a hearing. As soon as he compared it to Jim Crow, the Republican committee chair ordered his microphone turned off. The bill was passed 98-30 and Governor Eric Greitens quickly signed it into law.

Then there are the murders.  The chart below showing a summary of homicides by age, race and gender this year as of August 1, tells the tale …

Missouri-stats.pngThe PDF showing the full chart can be found here.

The most high-profile case was that of Tory Sanders, a black man from Tennessee, traveling through Missouri who had the misfortune to run out of gas on May 5th. He walked to the nearest convenience store, was not clear where he was and tried to talk to the police officer who happened to be in the convenience store at the time. But instead of helping Mr. Sanders, the officer arrested him.  Accused of no crime, he was nonetheless jailed and subjected to pepper spray and the use of a stun gun at least three times by jail staff.  The details are sketchy and conflicting from one news source to another, but the bottom line is that by the end of the day, Mr. Sanders was dead.

The struggle for equality has been long and hard for African-Americans.  Brown v. Board of Education, the death of Emmett Till, the Montgomery bus boycott, the Little Rock Nine, Freedom Rides, voter registration fights, to name just a few.  Are we to return to the day when African-Americans must sit at the back of the bus, must use separate facilities?  Is that where we are heading?  Under Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it seems chillingly possible.

Just this week in the news the Attorney General’s office announced that the administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.  This is an abomination, and one which I will write more about at a later date.  Meanwhile, we have crimes against blacks on the rise, and a so-called Justice Department that is, at the very least, unconcerned, and at the worst, willing to roll back many of the rights African-Americans fought and died for over the last six decades.

Missouri’s state nickname is the “Show-Me State”.  I think it is high time someone “show” Missouri that African-Americans are people just like any others, deserving of fair treatment and respect.

67 thoughts on “NAACP: Travel To Missouri At Your Own Risk

  1. Dear Jill,
    I am so sick of this racism becoming more acceptable when it is not. This was a very smart move by the NAACP because it needed to be done and to get the word out. I think the State of Missouri needs some shunning.
    Hugs, Gronda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I agree … I think the NAACP, ADL, ACLU and SPLC have their work cut out for them in these troublesome times. Trump & Co. certainly turned over some rocks and let the ugly that was hiding there come into broad daylight.

      Like you, I am sick of it, but I think it isn’t going away any time soon. Sigh. Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am surprised they would even invite him! He would have made a shambles of it, likely looking around the audience and asking where Frederick Douglass is, then proceeding to regale them with bawdry stories and self-promotion as he did when he spoke at the Boy Scouts Jamboree. Welcome back … I haven’t seen you for a while!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I happened to be visiting my family in St. Louis when I saw this article too. And while it shocked me at the time, it made a certain amount of sense, based on what I know about my home town and the state, which is now a bastion of what I’ll call dipshit conservatism. It’s that knee-jerk reactionary tendency that happens when a population has almost inbred prejudices and fails to educate itself.

    Sure, there are pockets of St. Louis that have a cosmopolitan air, cultural events, nice architecture, but it’s also one of the most segregated cities in the country, and the white flight persists to this day.

    I just hope that the NAACP warning acts as a wake-up call, or that people and organizations start boycotting the state to force it to face its weaknesses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Another reader commented that the legislature and new governor are extremely right wing, so the hopes of any common sense changing things from the top seem slim. I think change, if it comes at all, will likely get its start from the business community. Travel warnings like this one, boycotts, all affect the economy. I don’t know a lot about Missouri, but the thing I see that might be the catalyst is if one large employer decides to move his factory to a different state. Funny how money drives things, isn’t it? 🙂

      Like

    • I thought so too. In fact that is a sentiment I have said many times of late … I thought we were better than this. I still think the majority are, but the others seem to speak with a louder voice. Thanks for reading and for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have lived in Jefferson City, MO for five years now. Originally from Seattle so culture shock. This is appalling, but not surprising given our state legislature and new governor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes, I can see where Seattle to Jefferson City would be culture shock! Just out of curiosity, as you are the first person I’ve heard from who lives in Missouri … have you noticed an increase in racism and hate crimes in your area? I am puzzled by the question: Why Missouri??? I would not have been surprised if it were Alabama or Mississippi, but Missouri? It is midwest, not deep south, and I thought … I expected better. Ah, but it is an alternate universe we find ourselves in these days, isn’t it?

      Like

      • I live in Jefferson City, which is about 17 percent African American with the rest of the population being mostly white. I haven’t noticed overt racism that often, but that might have a lot to do with who I socialize with. The city is segregated to a pretty noticable extent, but you could definitely say the same thing about Seattle. I do know that there is not really much of a disparity in standard-of-living; in fact, I think whites are a bit lower.

        Southern MO feels a lot more Southern than Midwestern. St. Louis is an obvious mess. A decade ago, MO was a pretty purple state, but now we are a lot more conservative. The Republicans in the legislature are impossible – incredibly right-wing, and our new Gov is conservative and a complete idiot. My husband and I work for the state, so we’re a bit more familiar with the bunch than we would like to be.

        I don’t know if racism has become more prevalent or if the attitudes that were always there are a lot louder. Trump has certainly not helped. And the internet creates safe spaces where the most racist, sexist, vile shit can be said and it’s socially acceptable.

        So basically I have no idea. Our country is definitely an uglier place now, and if the NAACP felt the need to bring attention to our state, well, they would be qualified since they devote their lives to fighting racism. It certainly shames me as a resident.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you for your thoughtful answer. I think it is not much different in most places. I live in the suburbs of a town in the midwest, and for the most part we go along thinking all is well until a black man gets shot and killed for doing nothing more than reaching for his auto registration, or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am fortunate, for my neighborhood is diverse, with refugees from Syria, Iraq and Pakistan, and also a large African-American population, so we just all try to get along, respect one another and live our lives. I do not feel racial tension here, but when I go to other neighborhoods, or into the city, I definitely feel it. It is sad that people see inferiority or superiority based on such superficial and meaningless things as skin colour, ethnicity, religion, when there are so many more important issues to concern ourselves with. Sigh. Again, thank you for your response!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so sad in so many ways. But the saddest thing about it is that it does not reflect the mentality of most Americans. Our country is hostage to a bigoted and willfully ignorant minority. It clings to the 19th Century error of white supremacy. Each nation has its retrogrades who pine for an oppressive past in which they were Kings. In the U.S. it is a mythological south where everyone happily knew and stayed in his or her place.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It IS sad … and it is maddening. I know that you are right, that it does NOT reflect the mentality of most Americans, but some days it sure seems like it. Bigotry in all forms seems to suddenly be coming out of the woodwork. Perhaps it is simply that they are the louder voices, but I cannot help but feel that the movement backward to the days of Jim Crow is gaining momentum.

      Liked by 1 person

          • I’m proud of the way the resistance has grown. We’re under attack. If you study the Ukraine you’ll see that Putin used the same methods.

            Not only were we attascked psychologically it’s probable that Putin hacked the elections in the swing states and changed the votes.

            The majority of Americans voted for a progressive agenda.

            Putin’s goal is to cause the targeted nation to fragment into chaos.

            I’m not proud of the people who were suckered into voting for Trump. But they were the unwitting targets of a psychological campaign that used their weaknesses against them.

            That said, regular Americans rose up and began to fight back almost immediately.

            They’ve protected health care, shown up at town halls, demanded investigations, and turned out by the millions for three of the largest demonstrations in decades.

            Liked by 1 person

            • All good points that I certainly cannot disagree with! I guess my shame of this country is more to do with the policies our government is trying, and in some cases succeeding, to put forth. Policies that have significantly damaged our relations with our allies, policies that are harmful to thee environment, to the citizens, and to the globe. But you are quite right … I am proud and some days amazed at the number of people who are making their voices heard for the resistance. Thanks for reminding me!

              Liked by 1 person

              • Here’s what I’m ashamed of: this trumpian Hell was preventable.

                It took us decades of violating our own principles to get us here: starting with the Southern Strategy, which was nothing, more than an appeal by the GOP to radical racists, and culminating with the use of the attacks on 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq.

                Was Saddam Hussein a rotten horrible Tyrant? Yes.

                Was he innocent of violating the weapons sanctions? Yes.

                Under the rule of law, we don’t arrest someone for a crime of which he is innocent and execute him for a different crime without a trial.

                From creating homelessness under the pretext of ‘protecting’ the civil rights of the mentally ill to the illegal invasion of Iraq, we have violated our principles and made ourselves vulnerable to a tyrant who is always a tyrant regardless of the economic system.

                Russia used to be a socialism tyranny and now it’s a capitalist tyranny.

                If we survive this, our government must return to emphasizing global human rights and it must begin by cleaning up our own violations.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Quite so! We have violated the principles upon which this nation was founded for a very long time now, and most have forgotten that the nation was founded on freedom from tyranny, freedom from religious persecution, and welcoming travelers seeking relief from the first two. Instead, we are willing to send refugees back to an almost certain death rather than anger the racists. I hope that Trump is the tipping point and ultimately people see that we are no longer the “land of milk and honey” we were once thought to be. One thing is for damn sure … Donald Trump does NOT have what it takes to “make America great again”!

                  Liked by 1 person

                    • True … the bullies with guns are one danger, but sometimes words are even more dangerous than guns. I’m working on a piece now about Stephen Miller, definite white supremacist, who is likely to be the next communication director. We The People need to put a stop to all the white supremacists and bullies in this administration, but how? I don’t know, but that is frightening to me.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • It’s gone on far too long.

                      The problem is our national denial. We need to see this repeated in every press outlet every day:

                      The United States was attacked with a sophisticated psychological weapon. The attack was an act of war. We are at War. The man in the white house is an enemy agent and a threat to the safety of the people. This is unprecedented and it demands emergency measures.

                      We need to remove Trump from office and establish and interim administration to see us through a new election..

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Those are my thoughts too, for there is nobody in the line of succession that I would trust to bring this country out of the darkness. I even thought, during the first month or two, that we should ask Obama to come back for the period of one year, during which time we would hold new elections. But I’m sure none of this will happen, and when he is impeached, Pence will be inaugurated and we will have a whole new set of problems. Sigh.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The whole lot has to go. The election was tainted and it’s obvious that many of the republicans who won the majority are in collusion with what will turn out to be the worst attack on the United States in the history of our nation. This is the only thing about trump that isn’t hyperbole: his is the biggest treason ever.

                      Liked by 1 person

    • I know, my friend. I do not understand how anybody can think the colour of a person’s skin makes them more or less of a person. I thought we, as a society, had risen above that ignorance!!! Apparently I gave society too much credit. Sometimes things give me cause for hope, uplift me, encourage me. But this … this abomination simply infuriates me and makes me wish I were a wolf instead of a human!

      BIG HUGS, David!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Facts are facts…the America that we love has always been, under its veneer of opportunity and justice, a bigoted and racist society controlled by the WASP mentality. The ethnic graphics of the population will change whether white America likes it or not. We white folks better get used to it and grow up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well … I don’t quite share your cynicism … but I am, or at least WAS until the past year or so, an optimist at heart. I came of age during the civil rights era, well remember things like the bus boycotts, KKK, and so many other milestones, battles hard fought. And I truly thought that in the decades since then we had come a long way. Sure, I knew racism was alive and well in some places, knew some people hid it well, but beneath the surface it was there. Those are the ones who start a sentence, “Well, I’m no racist, but ….” But overall, I thought that the human race had finally come to realize that it wasn’t about the colour of one’s skin, ethnicity, religion, gender, culture or anything else, that it was about humanity. Sigh. Perhaps I was wrong, but I still don’t believe that the WASP mentality is the dominant one. I think it is just the loudest and most obnoxious one. Thanks for your comment … you gave me some food for thought!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I appreciate your viewpoint, did not intend my comment to be cynical. You are right in stating that America has made great strides through the concerns and actions of its people. However, what we have now is a government, a President which does not support those gains and is trying to reverse our course. I live in a county which voted 68% Trump. Trust me, that ignorance and intolerance is still with us.

        Like

        • I definitely agree with that. Between Trump and AG Jeff Sessions, they seem determined to set us back 50 years or more, and they have convinced a large number of people, through their rhetoric of fear, that White Anglo-Saxon-Protestant is the only way to save the country. Those who do not bother to read and to think for themselves have fallen prey to the mentality. I like to think that there are more of us ‘thinkers’ than the other sort, but some days I wonder. And I hear from my friends outside the U.S. that it is the same elsewhere. The ‘populist movement’ seems to incorporate bigotry in all forms as a part of its platform. Much of that, I think, stems from the surge of refugees from the Middle East … but that is a whole ‘nother story! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • I think we can do better than that. We need to recognise the strength of character in every race. We all have much to contribute to society, and that means equal opportunity, and equal treatment of all! If a black man wants to run for congress, he must do so, if a white man wants to work as an electrician, he must do so. If a policeman apprehends someone, he must treat them the same, whether they be a Congressman, or an Electrician or unemployed and colour of skin should not be seen at all.
      The problems lie in perception. We are a species that tends to base our biases on experience and subjective misconceptiond rather than reality. If we are bitten by a dog, we tend to be wary of all dogs and it is an unfair fear! It is time for all of us to stop feeling fearful about everything! Ghandi was the first leader to get that concept… Time for the rest of us. Make it a policy that you will smile at everyone that you pass or meet…and watch the world transform!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I am saddened to see us slide on equality issues. It is not just in the States, or Missouri in particular, it is happening everywhere. I just recently read a piece by a young blogging photographer who had written a post on discrimination for Huffington Post. He is a Singapore born, Chinese descent man who has lived most of his life in Australia. On a visit to his old University, he was shocked to see signs in some areas, written in Chinese, forbidding entry to Chinese students.
    This in itself is bad enough, but in writing about it, he received a very negative response and withdrew some of the passages he had written. I felt bad for him…he is a nice lad, but perhaps lacks eloquence in stating his case, and the trolls seized on it immediately.

    The world just keeps polarising. Is that just the outcome of overpopulation, or are darker forces at work here? Either way, any survivors in the fallout of social unrest need to rise above such hatreds and preconditioning for they alone hold back our progress and enlightenment in a world that needs us to be innovative, caring and better caretakers of the planetary environment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, sadly it is all over the world. Somehow it seems worse here, especially of late, but perhaps that is just my perspective because I am here. As for why? I wish I knew. I think the Arab Spring and resulting immigrant crises has something to do with it, but I’m sure that is not the entire answer. All I can say for certain, is I don’t think this polarisation, this division amongst people, can last much longer before something major happens to change things. And since I do not want to go into that speculation, not even in my own head, I shall leave it at that. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: NAACP: Travel To Missouri At Your Own Risk – The Militant Negro™

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