Monday, June 16, 2003

Bittersweet In Tulia

Bob Herbert's coverage of this story I think deserves at least a small chunk of credit for seeing that this story got the attention that it did. NPR's "Morniing Edition" mentioned the outcome but not Herbert's series on Tulia, which was the first time I ever saw anything on the story.

Reading this for the first time, despite everything I know about racism in this country, I was floored by the bold-faced bigotry of this town. No evidence, rock solid alibis, and the worst still happened. If anyone doesn't believe that racism is alive and well, this story will certainly disabuse you of that notion.

People often say that the rural South has the unfair reputation of being racist and it is unfair to generalize. But towns like Tulia and Jasper are two examples of why this generalization applies. Cities like a Atlanta, Montgomery, and Memphis have to deal with national scrutiny and public outcry; thus, they are forced to become more egalitarian and progressive. Small towns are isolated, insular, and go unnoticed until something terrible happens. Nobody asks them, or forces them to change, so they don't.

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