Certainly the South has a special brand of racial disharmony, that being, that the color lines are a little more obvious than most elsewhere; particularly in the rural South. It’s more apart of the ingrained culture of things, yet; racial disparity and tension is all throughout the United States and always has been. North and Mid-western states owned slaves too; and as Malcolm X said, "the South is South of the Canadian border". And must we go into all the police brutality, unjustified police shootings of blacks, or the likes of white Boston adults throwing rocks at Black children going to school.
The Jena situation is definitely born out of Southern segregation that was never fully resolved, and Jim Crow ideals of justice that have persisted. I fear though, that non-southerners, when reading about something like this, think this is really representative of the South; i.e. that Black people are walking around down here bowing to white folk, or that we live in tolerance of obvious signs seen on a daily basis.
I've lived in the South most of my life and have never experienced anything remotely like what has transpired in Jena the last year. I was just telling a friend before the march, who is from Iowa (though she's lived in Nashville for a while), that I've never seen the Klan in my life, accept on television. I grew up in Louisiana (in Bossier City, about 2.5 hours from Jena)and she's asking me what was it like...and I'm like, hell if I know what living in a place like Jena is like; I've always lived in cities, not backwoods towns. Even with Bossier being the smallest one, I still don't relate to that stuff; at least certainly not on that level.
People outside the South have this ideal that we live like the television show In The Heat of the Night or some Eyes on the Prize documentary -- It's 2007; come on. The actuality is, whites often move over on the sidewalk and look down when we walk by. Some think that Jena stuff is prevalent even in big cities. I know because folks from up north have told me so; as if there's Klan riding their horses down the street in front of our 250 million dollar football stadiums.
Sista Souljah, who's from New Jersey spoke at Tennessee State a few years ago, and I was talking to her after the event. She had never been to the South before and was talking about she was worried about coming down here and that she didn't know if the KKK would be out in the streets - LOL. Again, I've never seen the Klan accept on t.v. Them fuckers would get they ass lynched; they don't want to see us.
I'm not saying there isn't all kinds of racist stuff, but in the vast majority of places it's nothing as overt or physical as what has transpired in Jena.
Though all around the country, to me it seems it’s starting to be become more overt; like beating up “Nappy Headed” Black girls over cake crumbs .