PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Sanctioned racial splits aren’t good

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Go figure: We recently learned that at least one school in our area was still electing student officers according to race.
Oh, I understand that some of this may have begun as a sincere strategy to ensure that minority students had a shot at being elected to something.
But that cynically suggests that students vote according to race and give the racial majority the power every time.
If that were so, how could the once-race-driven University of Mississippi ever have elected student body presidents who are black?
If so, how could Eric Powell, a black man, be elected to the state Senate from the Corinth area, when the voting demographics don’t seem in his favor?
If so, how did Mitch Landrieu, a white man, become the new mayor of New Orleans?
Or Barack Obama the president of the US of A?
You get my drift.
As for this school election apartheid, I thought that ended with the dawn of the 21st Century.
Don’t get me wrong, I well remember the days when a high school had six white Homecoming maids, and six black Homecoming maids, and one white Homecoming queen and one black Homecoming queen. Similar arrangements were in place for cheerleaders, class favorites, etc.
Then they’d wind up with two Homecoming dances, or proms or whatever to avoid any socializing between the racially divided student bodies.
By perpetuating race-based elections, racial division is preserved.
Oh, sure, some people might not have gotten elected in general population voting. But isn’t a strategy of seeking office to get out there and convince the voters that the candidate is the best choice?
Doesn’t this non-racial environment force candidates to meet new people and widen their horizons?
The opposite could be said for racially segregated situations.
When people choose to fit themselves into a small box, they narrow their world.
Some people like this. They fear the larger world. They are suspicious of people who are different from them.
These people are going to be left behind in this fast-paced, ever-shrinking world of ours.
People who cannot allow themselves to grow with new ideas and adjust to different styles of politics, commerce and social interaction will not be the people who succeed.
And so, it’s a good thing that one of our schools’ leaders have decided racially segregated elections are not appropriate for 2010.
It’s a good thing their students will have the opportunity to reach out and widen their circles to earn the respect of more of their classmates, if they are to win elections.
Thanks for reminding us that this way of thinking still exists but holds little future for those who espouse it.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 6781-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.