March 17, 2023

City council in a Georgia town just proved racism is alive and well

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Neo-racism is no different than traditional racism, but for the fact that under the Trump administration it’s become trendy and less hidden in the shadows than in recent years.

Blatant racism now pops up so often that one would think that some high arbiter of behavior published a decree establishing its current social acceptability.

Few examples are as blatant as the everyday racism as practiced in Camilla, Georgia, however. Visiting Camilla is like stepping back to the era of widespread segregation as if time stopped in the 50’s and the civil rights movement never happened.

Wait, someone points out. Camilla has a black mayor. How can you say that?

Well, Rufus Davis, the mayor of Camilla, will say it to you himself.

According to an article on Blavity, the city council of Camilla is refusing to give Davis the keys to the mayor’s office after David began boycotting city council meetings after accusing the city of  “widespread discriminatory and segregationist practices”.

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The town of 5,000 people is 70% African-American, yet doesn’t have a single black police officer and few black employees in city government. Even the schools have fallen victim to de-facto segregation since the white students all go to private schools leaving the public schools with all black student bodies.

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According to Davis, even the local cemetery is segregated, with African-Americans buried in the shoddily maintained section of the graveyard. Davis called out these racist practices to the city council, leading to their voting to deny him access to his own office.

The racism is so prevalent in Camilla that Davis told a local radio interviewer that:

“If the white council members had the authority to reinstitute slavery, one of them would probably make the motion and the other would second it.”

Davis’ account of the day-to-day discrimination taking place in Camilla is a cautionary tale about how quickly the country can return to the bad old days, particularly in those places that never actually left them behind.

They say progress always moves two steps forward followed by one step back. A year into the Trump era, it’s time that this country starts to move forward once again.

Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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