Monday, March 12, 2012

"Thank God for Mississippi"

So, we have a saying in Arkansas: "thank God for Mississippi". The reason behind it being that, as far behind the rest of the country as we may be in Arkansas (48th or 49th in things like education, poverty, &c), things were usually reliably slightly worse on the wrong (east) side of the Mississippi. I've been away now for a long time, first having gone to live up in Yankeeland (Wisconsin) and now the West Coast, but I see from today's news that some things never change. Here's the quote:

Interracial marriage laws were overturned by the Supreme Court
in 1967, but a significant minority of Mississippi and Alabama
apparently still long for their return, or are at least ambivalent
about the idea. In Alabama, 67 percent of respondents said interracial
marriage should be allowed, but 21 percent said it should
be illegal and another 12 percent were not sure.
Mississippi Republican voters were even more divided:
Only 52 percent said such marriages should be legal,
versus 29 percent who said they should be banned
and 17 percent who were unsure.

Of course it cd be worse: it's better to have just over half of the Mississippians to be on the right side of history than the other way around. But looks like it's going to be a long time before they're ready to join the rest of us in the twenty-first century.

Here's the link for the full article:

And, just to show we've got problems of our own, just today came the news that there will be not one but two 'initiatives' for the fall trying to ban gay marriage. There may turn out to be an many homophobics in Washington state as there are racists in Mississippi. We'll see.


Pax said...
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Pax said...

I was struck by the words "significant minority". At what what point is a minority considered significant? Especially on an issue decided a fairly long time ago... I'm also curious as to what the pollsters' motivation was in asking the question. It seems an odd ploy for Democrats to be stirring up racial issues now, so I'm pretty sure I'm not grasping something.

Murilegus rex said...

I'm not sure if I got you right, but when a poll shows that one third of the interviewees are racists, then why are the ones who are asking the questions "stirring up racial issues"?

Pax said...

Anubis, that's a fair question. I meant they are "stirring it up", in the sense that, as far as I know, there's no legislation pending in either state to try and ban interracial marriage so it seems to me to be inflammatory rather than useful.

John D. Rateliff said...

Dear Pax
I suppose the simple answer is that what is and isn't a "significant" minority depends on who's doing the evaluating. But if you combine the number of people who think such marriages shd be illegal with those who waver on the point, you get a surprisingly large percentage: 33% in Alabama (21% illegal plus 12% undecided) and 46% in Mississippi (29% illegal plus 17% wavering). That's a solid third in one state and almost half in the other, which is pretty dang high.

As for any pending state legislation, that wd be moot, since the original article mentions that such state laws were struck down by the Supreme Court.

It's probably good for us all to find out how much or how little support there is for long-established laws. I suspect these questions were sparked by the recent arguments about whether or not women's rights were being rolled back fifty years, to see if other civil rights gains from sixty years ago were similarly vulnerable, but that's just a guess.

Thanks for the comments, all.
--John R.