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Tennessee rivaling Florida in racism

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

Tennessee is being sold as a friendly, hospitable state welcoming tourists and transplants from all over the country. People are relocating to Tennessee in record numbers for a myriad of reasons, including: low cost of living, the music industry, jobs, beautiful scenery, mild to moderate winters, and many sports venues. At one time it was the availability of affordable housing which was a big attraction for people locating to Tennessee.

Nashville is probably the most celebrated city in Tennessee, attracting newcomers from all over the country. Along with Memphis, the state’s two largest cities are the liberal Democratic strongholds in the state. This may be attributed to many people relocating from northern and western cities not drenched in the idea of honoring and celebrating the Confederacy like most southern states. 

Unfortunately, many southern states and their cities are adamantly continuing to adhere to racist and discriminatory practices of their slave owning ancestors. They don’t seem to understand that the actions taken by these southern states in the Civil War branded them as treasonous. Too many southerners don’t seem to realized that they lost the war. They seem to believe the South will rise again.

You’d think most people would count their losses and move on; however the suburban and rural areas surrounding Davidson country and Shelby County are inundated with diehard Confederacy fans who for, the most part, are bleeding Republicans bent on harboring the views of their slave owning ancestors.

Many African Americans feel that Whites residing in these predominately White areas have an agenda to continue to promote White supremacy in their actions politically, socially and economically.  Many people are quick to claim indigent White southerners’ united goal is to stifle the progress of Blacks or people of color—even if results in harming themselves in the long run. Remember the adage ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’? Racist followers are committed to enacting laws and policies they feel will hurt Blacks, not realizing that often these laws and policies do more harm to Whites in the long run.

Tennessee seems to be following Florida in their mission to deprive the nation (especially African Americans) of the right to learn and embrace all American history. When all is said and done, Black integration into society is thwarted by assimilation of Eurocentric values.

There is a calculated attack on African Americans and other groups with the banning of books, spearheaded by a handful of disgruntled parents who feel they have the right to handpick and judge what is right for all children in a state. The success of these choices denying people their rights is made possible by a super majority Republican state legislature. Many within the legislature are descendants of former slave owners, sharing discriminating views.

There is an attack on African American history, especially as it relates to the true teaching of slavery. The main incentive is to omit or whitewash slavery in American history so as to not make White children feel uncomfortable or upset. Of course, they think it’s alright for Black children to walk around with low self-esteem because they are not taught about their historical greatness.

Then, we have the Republican super-majority-legislature’s actions to micro-manage TSU by replacing its board of trustees. They are taking away TSU’s authority to govern itself, saying the university ‘lost’ $2 million. It’s obvious that this political move is reprehensible and nefarious, because the Republican legislature has been recognized by the federal government as having ‘lost’ $2.1 billion itself of TSU’s federally mandated funds on five state audits. The Republican legislature has charged TSU’s administration for being incompetent in handling its own affairs; however, this is obviously hyperbole, a smokescreen and a diversion, to get into position to control or manipulate the $2.1 billion the state owes TSU. It is speculated that the state will try to find a way to keep from paying TSU the money it is owed or attach a myriad of strings to that money.

There is shame in the actions of the Tennessee State legislature in disrespecting the state of Tennessee’s only Black land grant HBCU (Historically Black College or University). Those Blacks making excuses or siding with the state in replacing Tennessee State’s trustee board may appear suspect to other Blacks. But the bottomline question should be this: is the new trustee board, 100% vested in helping TSU attain the $2.1 billion owed by the state?

TSU is nationally and world renown. But instead of honoring the university’s accomplishments and achievements, the state finds any way they can to degrade TSU’s integrity and significance. The legislature does not give TSU the same respect as its PWIs (Prehistoric White Institutions). That more than borders on racism. It seems like the state of Tennessee, as a whole, is competing with Florida in manifesting racism. Tennessee should take into consideration that most people are not attracted to a state labeled as overtly racist.

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