I shouldn’t have to write this but, nevertheless, here I am stating this so-called controversial topic that black people aren’t ruining Oxford or Ole Miss.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, black people accounted for 37.8 percent of the state population — the largest percentage among all 50 states. With that percentage in mind, Ole Miss’ student population isn’t close to that number. Additionally, the Oxford and Lafayette demographics, both of which have percentages around 25 percent, destroy the idea that such groups — out of nowhere — have harmed our environment.
This stereotypical idea that black people automatically correlate to an increase in crime and a decline in property values is absolutely heinous. Given that various economic policies and the market actually attribute to the increase or decrease of such property values, it is just “easier” to implement racial fear mongering into our society — which is already struggling to try to create a better environment relative to that of our community and university’s past — than to consider these other factors.
There is this double mindset going through some people’s minds, including mine, like a sword. This mindset concerns the relation between understanding how much Ole Miss offers and having, at the same time, the idea that I am not welcome due to external actors not holding to the university’s values. The outside comments that line social media threads — whether they represent the LOU community or don’t — still paint an image to the world.
You don’t have to be a liberal or progressive to call out racism or sexism; rather, you have to view your common fellow as an actual equal. This seems non-existent in casual discourse about countless articles — from assuming things that aren’t true to supporting stereotypical ideas that haven’t died. This, to be honest, is complete ignorance on the part of people who don’t care about improving social and racial relations in our communities.
Defending people’s humanity shouldn’t have to be a thing in 2018 America. But once again: Blacks or minorities or women aren’t destroying the community. Property values, for example, can change based on a plethora of things — from the change of economic growth, near or far, to changing interest rates of mortgages and even changes in political policy. This ideal of blockbusting where “blacks” are walking around with a mission to destroy Oxford is ignorant. The idea that the university’s decline in population can be attributed to the myth that women are dressing more provocatively is nothing new. Of course, once again, this argument fails to note that collegiate decline is ultimately a nationwide issue complemented by declining birth rates of potential college students, rising costs of attendance, which are never talked about.
Finding this information doesn’t take much effort, but using hasty generalizations to ostracize a group of people and appeasing others for social status points continue to be much easier. It’s not 1962 — it’s 2018. But the same issues and mindsets of that time are still here, and such viewpoints are now available via a medium by which they are spread quite quickly.
When you’re on your deathbed — whenever that time comes — think of all the good, the bad, the happy and the sad of your own lives. Would you have lived a life of loving others and not have lived based on assumptions? Do better, because it takes one person to improve or influence a decline in a community. The LOU community isn’t perfect, nor has it had quite a rosy past. But we have the resources, both in capital and population base, to be a national leader in a country where politically, racially, etc., we all need to do better.
Jonathan Lovelady is a senior sociology and geology major.