When one Nettleton mother approached the school board, wondering—among other things, obviously—which "category" her mixed-race kids (Italian and Native American) fell under, she was told the following:
They told me that they "Go by the mother's race b/c with minorities the father isn't generally in the home." They also told me that "a city court order is the reason why it is this way."
I'm not trying to defend my adopted state or this small Mississippi town. There's no real excuse, and unfortunately this is fairly representative (from what I've experienced in northeast Mississippi, and part of southern Mississippi). In many cases (and this is not just Mississippi) these types of things alternate from year to year. One year's prom king/queen or class president, whatever, will be black, the next year will be white.
You probably cannot understand the way the Deep South or Mississippi works unless you live in it. Mississippians are very resistant to change. This state has seen tumultuous change in its history; but it has mostly been forced into this change (for the right reasons, completely.) There is virtually no level of trust between whites and African Americans. People grow up with segregation in every part of their lives. I've actually questioned a few natives and the general consensus is "that's how we like it," or "that's just the way it is." [...]
"Student elections have not yet been held at Nettleton Middle School for the2010-2011 school term. The processes and procedures for student electionsare under review. We are reviewing the origin of these processes,historical applications, compliance issues, as well as current implicationsand ramifications. A statement will be released when review of these processes is complete."
"The Nettleton middle school has about 400 students, and about 72 percent are white, according to a source familiar with the school board's operation. The majority of the remaining students are black.
The city of Nettleton has a population of 2013 and is located 15 miles south of Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley."
"After being notified of a grievance regarding upcoming student elections at Nettleton Middle School, research was conducted that evidenced that the current practices and procedures for student elections have existed for over 30 years. It is the belief of the current administration that these procedures were implemented to help ensure minority representation and involvement in the student body. It is felt the intent of these election procedures was to ensure African-American representation in each student office category through an annual rotation basis.
It is our hope and desire that these practices and procedures are no longer needed to help ensure minority representation and involvement. Furthermore, the Nettleton School District acknowledges and embraces the fact that we are growing in ethnic diversity and that the classifications of Caucasian and African-American no longer reflect our entire student body.
Therefore, beginning immediately, student elections at Nettleton School District will no longer have a classification of ethnicity. It is our intent that each student has equal opportunity to seek election for any student office. Future student elections will be monitored to help ensure that this change in process and procedure does not adversely affect minority representation in student elections."
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