Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What of Rural America?

I want to do a short series on my neck of the woods back in Louisiana, brought on by a number of recent events. I'm prompted by a post to the St. Louis White Citizen's Council of the 21st Century Council of Conservatives Citizens' blog. I was going to link, but I'm not trying to leave trackbacks.

Anyway, the post was about the nationally televised case at Spearsville High in which two fifth-graders had sex in school. Initially, the poster was alarmed because wikipedia said Spearsville was 96.7% white and it just couldn't be white kids having sex. It couldn't!!

Fortunately for his psyche, a Spearsville resident wrote in to let him know that the students were black and that Spearsville High was nowhere near majority white. He was relieved and started going on about how black children mature (sexually) more quickly and he knew it couldn't have been white kids, and how the guy who responded to him wrote about Spearsville High going to hell in a handbasket because of black children in school there.

And I thought...

1) Not once is anyone talking about how the census counted not one black person in Spearsville in 2000, when I know that the village has a significant black population (there's an all black subdivision, for one). Let me just say, the fact that the historical trend of undercounting (and not counting) people of color/ignoring our communities continues ought to tell you something about our life in North Louisiana.

2) The letter-sender-inner glossed over the horrible state of education and schools in Union Parish (which I will happily tell you about in an upcoming post). No money, corruption, overpaid administrators, underpaid teachers, you name it, they got it.

3) In the high-speed car chase mentioned in the post (in which a black Spearsville High School student was killed), black people in Union Parish are very loudly suspecting foul play. The kid was being chased by police who (allegedly) left the scene of the crime then returned and were (allegedly) seen doing something questionable to the car. Now, whether or not that is true, my point is to give you an indication of how very much the police are distrusted by the black community in Union Parish. And trust me, it's for a good reason.

4) The racial divisions there are so sharp it's almost unbelievable. Almost.

So I will tell you about how this little area of rural America is dying and how so many of us who care, who crack about our country, backwards homes love them and worry and have absolutely no idea what to do.


Anonymous said...

i can't wait to read more! and yes, the census undercounts so badly!!

Kevin Andre Elliott said...

You know I had to go and find the blog and read what was written. Unfortunately, that meant looking at the content on the front page as well. My god, Elle. It took everything I have in me not to write a bunch of obscenity filled comments at the ignorance and racism posted on that site.

elle said...

justme--i hope i live up to your expectations :-p

kevin, it's disgusting. "if philadelphia, pa was like philadelphia, ms" the former wouldn't have any problem, according to that guy.

that was one reason i didn't link.

Nonpartisan said...

Elle, consider yourself tagged.

RageyOne said...

Oh gosh, that is just too much. I haven't searched the blog you referenced (I'll do so later), but I think the state of rural America is declining everywhere.

I look forward to reading more.

Zan said...

I understand what you're talking about Elle. I grew up in Allen Parish, not exactly known for our forwardthinking and progressive values. In fact, the only anyone ever remembers about us is that the federal prison was burned down by Cuban inmates in the 80s. Go us.

Racism is rampant in Louisiana. You should check out the bboard at the Alexandria Town Talk, where I used to work. It's all over the place and people just go on about it like it's normal.

And please, white kids aren't having sex in 5th grade? What universe does this guy live in ???

Leslie M-B said...

Argh. The thought of my 19-month-old having sex in a mere nine years scares the hell out of me.

Even more so, of course, does the racism.

AcadeMama said...

My 8-yr. old daughter, who's in 2nd grade, came home not too long ago and asked "What's humping?"

Me: "Why do you ask, and where did you hear that word?"

H: "At school. Somebody said Girl A and Boy A were 'humping' in the gazebo at recess."

And these *are* white kids..In the *whitest* part of town.. In the *whitest* school district in town. The idea that sexual maturation (psychological & cultural, rather than physical at least) is dependent upon race is misleading at least and critically dangerous for both parents and children at best. And unfortunately, I don't we can chalk it up to a rural/urban distinction either. Sex is everywhere in our media and culture, so it can't be too big of a surprise that 5th graders are copying what they see on t.v. or hear about in Top 40 radio.

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...