View Poll Results: What is the biggest reason for Mississippi's economic failure?

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  • Lack of public investment

    0 0%
  • Lack of private investment

    1 7.14%
  • Brain drain

    3 21.43%
  • Tax policy

    0 0%
  • Something else

    10 71.43%
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Thread: What is the problem with Mississippi?

  1. #11
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    Re: What is the problem with Mississippi?

    What is the problem with Mississippi?

    Too many repeating letters.

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    Re: What is the problem with Mississippi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilroddy View Post
    What is the problem with Mississippi?

    Too many repeating letters.
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    Re: What is the problem with Mississippi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Contrarian View Post
    What's the difference? Easy. When I was growing up in MS, we - meaning us racist whites (including me and my family) - would point at the race riots in other places (esp. Chicago) and we'd tell each other "see, that's where the real racists are". Tell me, how different is that one question from your diatribe above?
    The difference is I acknowledged that there are racists everywhere. Some of it was (and is) pretty ugly. I'll put up some Irish Catholics from South Boston against any racist you want to mention from Shaw, Mississippi. And since it's show and tell time, let me say that my maternal roots in Mississippi go back to when the state was founded. My great-great-grandfather fought at Corinth and Vicksburg. Some of my relatives held slaves. (On my father's side, there were Nazis. ) My grandfather was the son of a Mississippi scratch farmer--literally a "redneck" in one of the most "rednecky" parts of the state where the KKK had a solid presence during the Civil Rights Era (East Central Mississippi). My sister and I used to spend summers at my grandparents' home in Meridian. Among our playmate friends were children whose dad was convicted in federal court in the 1964 Neshoba County "Mississippi Burning" killings. They lived literally across the street. (I'm not saying publicly in this forum who the father was, but I wouldn't mind doing it by PM if you're curious.) During desegregation of the Meridian schools, I remember the father of my grandparents' next door neighbor telling my grandmother that he'd never let his kids attend school with "n*****s," just as many other white parents did. So, like I said, I'm aware of the climate that existed, in some parts of the state especially, and that still does exist to some extent. But the climate today is simply not the same as the one that existed during the worst days of the struggle for civil rights in the 1950s and '60s. Honestly, most of the old guard I came across who held these views are, thankfully, deceased. (My grandparents weren't among them. My grandmother was an elementary school teacher in the Meridian school district, who, to her credit, volunteered to teach in one of the formerly all-black schools when desegregation was instituted.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Contrarian View Post
    At least in California there were whites who would stand with the blacks (and other minorities). In MS...not so much, lest said "ni**er-loving whites" find themselves (and their families) out of work and unable to get hired elsewhere...just as what happened to the blacks.
    Whites who would stand with the blacks in California? When the LA Unified School District desegregated and began busing kids from the wealthier San Fernando Valley and West Side to South Central Los Angeles, they fled the district by the tens of thousands. Today only about 10% of the district is made up of non-Hispanic whites. And then Latin gangs such as MS-13 showed up and the blacks couldn't get out fast enough. Many of them fled from South Central to the Inland Empire. Today the district is about 70% Hispanic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Contrarian View Post
    What I'm getting at is that YES, you're going to find racism to differing extents anywhere you go (and I've been around this world, remember - got lots of stories)...but nowhere in America is it as deeply entrenched as it is in MS...and nowhere in America are the minorities so powerless to stand for themselves as are the blacks in MS, for in MS, they believe (rightly or wrongly) that no one of real consequence will stand with them. So they endure, and stay under the radar by being friendly sometimes even to the point of being a modern-day Stepin Fetchit. But if they get to really know you and realize that you're not like the white racists they've dealt with all their lives (like several did in the Delta when they saw how strongly I supported Obama even to the shame and disgust of my family there), then they start to open up...and you start hearing things you didn't know before.
    Oh, I know. I've had some of these discussions with black coworkers. Some are from Mississippi, others from elsewhere, such as New Orleans. We tend to be very frank with each other, but at the same time respectful. If, for example, we talk about cops killing blacks, I tell them that down here even I know if a cop tells you not to twitch a whisker, that means don't twitch a whisker. They're, of course, convinced that bubba cops are out to murder them for no reason other than that they're black. Personally, I'm not convinced.
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    Re: What is the problem with Mississippi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahlevah View Post
    The state has been a perennial economic backwater since the Civil War, when King Cotton, timber, and the slave economy propelled Natchez to the status of having more millionaires per capita than any other city in the United States. It's been pretty much downhill since. I think we're still on our 1988 highway plan. It is estimated that Tunica County took in more than $750,000,000 in taxes, mostly from the gaming industry, since dockside gambling was legalized in 1992. Where did the money go? Things like four-lane highways to make the driving easier for the flocks of tourists and gamblers. And now that the gaming boom has fizzled in Tunica thanks to increased competition, all of that deteriorating infrastructure seems like a cruel joke. And where are the tax revenues to maintain it going to come from now? It sure won't come from poor blacks in one of the poorest counties (still) in the country who can't even maintain their own homes. I also doubt it's going to fall upon the large county landholders who were the principal beneficiaries of the tax cuts that were put in place thanks to casinos. Meanwhile, the state is still trying to get its economic output back to 2008, and its one of only two states (the other being its neighbor to the west, Louisiana) in the South to lose population for three consecutive years.

    So what should the state do to right the ship? Is there anything it can do? Robert Reich would say it needs more public investment. Presumably, that would include education. But right now young, educated Mississippians can't wait to get out. I see it on a micro level with childhood friends of my sons. One went to California, where he writes code, another went to Colorado, where he writes code, another went to Washington, where he writes code, and so forth. So the high wage earners (and their taxes) are fleeing. Republicans say Mississippi needs to cut taxes and provide incentives for investment. It does that, often with minimal benefit. For example, Chevron, which operates its largest petroleum refinery in the United States in Pascagoula, got a 10-year tax moratorium on a $2 billion investment in a new base oil production facility. The total number of permanent jobs for that: 30. And how many of those are actually in Mississippi instead of neighboring Alabama, which is a stone's throw from the plant, is anyone's guess. Meanwhile, everyone else in the vicinity of the refinery gets the benefit of the increased pollution. And years ago Oreck was given a 10-year tax abatement in order to open a plant in Long Beach, Mississippi, but closed it at the end of the 10-year period, which coincidentally was announced a little more than one year after Hurricane Katrina. Talk about kicking people in the nuts when they're down.

    On a personal level, I moved myself and my family here more than two decades ago after my father's suicide. I was tired of the management rat race in California, where I was raised and spent most of my life up to that point. We just needed a new start in a new setting. We live along the Gulf Coast near Biloxi, about ninety minutes from New Orleans, and became casino dealers. What drew us here was the unique culture and history that goes back to when the French first landed on the Back Bay in 1699, erected a fort, and made Old Biloxi France's first capital of the Louisiana Territory. (Native Americans were here first, of course, but there is little actual evidence that they ever existed.) What can I say. I like the area's unique history, good food, music, art scene (yes, art scene), slower pace, and pretty sunsets over the Mississippi Sound. Regardless of the larger economic and social problems facing the state as whole, this is home now and probably will be as long as I'm living.
    I voted brain drain - although I almost voted "Lack of public investment".

    From my perspective MS and a number of other places suffer from a lack of education. Those who do get educated leave for the big hubs of modern industry. Modern industry doesn't come to these places because there's a lack of educated people who would be qualified to work.

    I suspect a lot of the education issues would be alleviated if MS was willing to invest more seriously in education (Mississippi State University is ranked 171 nationally - good luck attracting talent with a ranking like that).

    Also supporting this - Mississippi ranks last in education. (They're ranked 51st in K-12)
    Last edited by Gaea; 12-31-17 at 05:52 AM.

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    Re: What is the problem with Mississippi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahlevah View Post
    The difference is I acknowledged that there are racists everywhere. Some of it was (and is) pretty ugly. I'll put up some Irish Catholics from South Boston against any racist you want to mention from Shaw, Mississippi. And since it's show and tell time, let me say that my maternal roots in Mississippi go back to when the state was founded. My great-great-grandfather fought at Corinth and Vicksburg. Some of my relatives held slaves. (On my father's side, there were Nazis. ) My grandfather was the son of a Mississippi scratch farmer--literally a "redneck" in one of the most "rednecky" parts of the state where the KKK had a solid presence during the Civil Rights Era (East Central Mississippi). My sister and I used to spend summers at my grandparents' home in Meridian. Among our playmate friends were children whose dad was convicted in federal court in the 1964 Neshoba County "Mississippi Burning" killings. They lived literally across the street. (I'm not saying publicly in this forum who the father was, but I wouldn't mind doing it by PM if you're curious.) During desegregation of the Meridian schools, I remember the father of my grandparents' next door neighbor telling my grandmother that he'd never let his kids attend school with "n*****s," just as many other white parents did. So, like I said, I'm aware of the climate that existed, in some parts of the state especially, and that still does exist to some extent. But the climate today is simply not the same as the one that existed during the worst days of the struggle for civil rights in the 1950s and '60s. Honestly, most of the old guard I came across who held these views are, thankfully, deceased. (My grandparents weren't among them. My grandmother was an elementary school teacher in the Meridian school district, who, to her credit, volunteered to teach in one of the formerly all-black schools when desegregation was instituted.)



    Whites who would stand with the blacks in California? When the LA Unified School District desegregated and began busing kids from the wealthier San Fernando Valley and West Side to South Central Los Angeles, they fled the district by the tens of thousands. Today only about 10% of the district is made up of non-Hispanic whites. And then Latin gangs such as MS-13 showed up and the blacks couldn't get out fast enough. Many of them fled from South Central to the Inland Empire. Today the district is about 70% Hispanic.



    Oh, I know. I've had some of these discussions with black coworkers. Some are from Mississippi, others from elsewhere, such as New Orleans. We tend to be very frank with each other, but at the same time respectful. If, for example, we talk about cops killing blacks, I tell them that down here even I know if a cop tells you not to twitch a whisker, that means don't twitch a whisker. They're, of course, convinced that bubba cops are out to murder them for no reason other than that they're black. Personally, I'm not convinced.
    Boston, (and many other areas of Massachusetts) is by far the most racist place I have lived.
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    Re: What is the problem with Mississippi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahlevah View Post
    The state has been a perennial economic backwater since the Civil War, when King Cotton, timber, and the slave economy propelled Natchez to the status of having more millionaires per capita than any other city in the United States. It's been pretty much downhill since. I think we're still on our 1988 highway plan. It is estimated that Tunica County took in more than $750,000,000 in taxes, mostly from the gaming industry, since dockside gambling was legalized in 1992. Where did the money go? Things like four-lane highways to make the driving easier for the flocks of tourists and gamblers. And now that the gaming boom has fizzled in Tunica thanks to increased competition, all of that deteriorating infrastructure seems like a cruel joke. And where are the tax revenues to maintain it going to come from now? It sure won't come from poor blacks in one of the poorest counties (still) in the country who can't even maintain their own homes. I also doubt it's going to fall upon the large county landholders who were the principal beneficiaries of the tax cuts that were put in place thanks to casinos. Meanwhile, the state is still trying to get its economic output back to 2008, and its one of only two states (the other being its neighbor to the west, Louisiana) in the South to lose population for three consecutive years.

    So what should the state do to right the ship? Is there anything it can do? Robert Reich would say it needs more public investment. Presumably, that would include education. But right now young, educated Mississippians can't wait to get out. I see it on a micro level with childhood friends of my sons. One went to California, where he writes code, another went to Colorado, where he writes code, another went to Washington, where he writes code, and so forth. So the high wage earners (and their taxes) are fleeing. Republicans say Mississippi needs to cut taxes and provide incentives for investment. It does that, often with minimal benefit. For example, Chevron, which operates its largest petroleum refinery in the United States in Pascagoula, got a 10-year tax moratorium on a $2 billion investment in a new base oil production facility. The total number of permanent jobs for that: 30. And how many of those are actually in Mississippi instead of neighboring Alabama, which is a stone's throw from the plant, is anyone's guess. Meanwhile, everyone else in the vicinity of the refinery gets the benefit of the increased pollution. And years ago Oreck was given a 10-year tax abatement in order to open a plant in Long Beach, Mississippi, but closed it at the end of the 10-year period, which coincidentally was announced a little more than one year after Hurricane Katrina. Talk about kicking people in the nuts when they're down.

    On a personal level, I moved myself and my family here more than two decades ago after my father's suicide. I was tired of the management rat race in California, where I was raised and spent most of my life up to that point. We just needed a new start in a new setting. We live along the Gulf Coast near Biloxi, about ninety minutes from New Orleans, and became casino dealers. What drew us here was the unique culture and history that goes back to when the French first landed on the Back Bay in 1699, erected a fort, and made Old Biloxi France's first capital of the Louisiana Territory. (Native Americans were here first, of course, but there is little actual evidence that they ever existed.) What can I say. I like the area's unique history, good food, music, art scene (yes, art scene), slower pace, and pretty sunsets over the Mississippi Sound. Regardless of the larger economic and social problems facing the state as whole, this is home now and probably will be as long as I'm living.
    Culture;

    If You live in a society where social competition is defined soley through money then the maximum activity rat race is what you get.

    If you live in a more "Scandinavian" society where social cohesion is valued more (to what degree this is real is debatable) then other things happen.

    If you live in a place where conformaty and regulation rule then you get a very neat well painted place like Austria. Piant and DIY are cheap.

    If you live in a place that values artistic creativity you will get a very interesting if money poor place.

    If you live in a place that values sitting around dooing little you will get France, to some degree.

    If your society has yet to make up it's collective mind you will see lots of social problems because that society is trying to fix things it does not even agree on being the problem. Mississippi, well that plus the corruption.

  7. #17
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    Re: What is the problem with Mississippi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahlevah View Post
    The difference is I acknowledged that there are racists everywhere. Some of it was (and is) pretty ugly.
    ...
    Oh, I know. I've had some of these discussions with black coworkers. Some are from Mississippi, others from elsewhere, such as New Orleans. We tend to be very frank with each other, but at the same time respectful. If, for example, we talk about cops killing blacks, I tell them that down here even I know if a cop tells you not to twitch a whisker, that means don't twitch a whisker. They're, of course, convinced that bubba cops are out to murder them for no reason other than that they're black. Personally, I'm not convinced.
    Does South Boston or the LA Unified School District have segregation academies? Mississippi does, even today. The one I attended is still in operation. Oh, it finally decided to admit a few blacks so they could say, "see, we admitted blacks, so we can't be racist!"...but those black kids comprise less than 5% of the student body in a town that's about 80% black. Yes, it's getting better (as it is everywhere else)...but slowly, very slowly indeed.

    Here's another thing you might consider. You point at racism in South Boston and LA and imply it's worse there...but tell me, when a mixed-race couple walk down the street in either of those two places, does anyone really raise an eyebrow? Now go to the Delta - you'll see mixed-race with Asians or Hispanics...but look to see if you can find mixed-race white/black there. I've yet to see a single one in all my years. I'm sure there must be a few - if only a very few - in Cleveland since it's a college town (and as such is generally significantly more liberal than the rest), but I haven't seen it. That doesn't mean that there aren't white/black relationships there - you'll find some mixed-race children - but openly-married black/white couples? I haven't seen a single one in the Delta, the single "blackest" place in America. Ever. And I can promise you that it's not because the blacks refuse to consider such relationships.

    In the urban areas you described, it's also much easier to organize, to gather in the thousands - but in the very rural Delta...not so much.

    Are there places in the world that are more racist than the Delta? Absolutely! I remember seeing a sign on a bar in Pattaya Beach, Thailand that said, "No blacks or Arabs allowed". In Dubai, there's many Asians (yes, the ME is part of Asia, but you know what I mean), but the social separation between the Middle Easterners and the Asians is painfully obvious. In London I saw graffiti on the wall saying, "Pakis go home!" - referring to the Pakistanis, apparently. And of course there's the right-wing racial nationalists that have begun to flex their political muscles in much of eastern Europe.

    But I will say this much in defense of the racial attitudes in MS - in comparison to the rise of racist "white nationalism" in much of America with the rise of Trump (whom I utterly despise), I get the impression that MS hasn't followed the trend, that it hasn't gotten worse as other parts of the nation has when it comes to racism. In fact - and you might find this interesting - you might consider what happened during the 2012 Republican primaries. Remember how Santorum seemed to be a bit racist as compared to Romney? Santorum won the MS primary...but Romney won in the college towns (Hattiesburg, Starkville, Oxford) and in Hinds County (Jackson) and in the Delta. Now one can understand the college towns and Jackson, since those are more liberal than the norm. But the Delta? Especially considering that less than one percent of those who voted in the MS GOP primary were black? In other words, the whites of the MS Delta voted for Romney. This is all the stranger since the Delta is strongly Evangelical, and Santorum was Evangelical while Romney was Mormon...and I'm sure you know that Mormons aren't exactly popular in the Delta.

    The only thing I can think of is that as deep as the racist divide certainly is in the Delta, the whites - while living in the "blackest" part of the nation - do sympathize to an extent with the blacks, even if they want nothing to do with them socially. Maybe you can think of a better reason - I'd like to hear any idea you might have about this, because it's puzzled me for years.
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    Re: What is the problem with Mississippi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Contrarian View Post
    Does South Boston or the LA Unified School District have segregation academies? Mississippi does, even today.
    I don't think they called them "segregation academies," but private schools sprang up like weeds to accommodate all of those white kids.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Contrarian View Post
    Here's another thing you might consider. You point at racism in South Boston and LA and imply it's worse there...but tell me, when a mixed-race couple walk down the street in either of those two places, does anyone really raise an eyebrow? Now go to the Delta - you'll see mixed-race with Asians or Hispanics...but look to see if you can find mixed-race white/black there. I've yet to see a single one in all my years. I'm sure there must be a few - if only a very few - in Cleveland since it's a college town (and as such is generally significantly more liberal than the rest), but I haven't seen it. That doesn't mean that there aren't white/black relationships there - you'll find some mixed-race children - but openly-married black/white couples? I haven't seen a single one in the Delta, the single "blackest" place in America. Ever. And I can promise you that it's not because the blacks refuse to consider such relationships.
    I don't mean to imply that racism is worse there overall or that it's no longer a problem here. I'm just saying there are pockets of it all across the country that can match anything I've seen here. I don't know about the Delta, but I've seen a lot more white-black couples than I used to, both here and in other ares of the state in which we've traveled. Incidentally, my wife is Filipino and I'm white. It's never been an issue for us at all. We feel perfectly comfortable here. And people might be surprised to learn that there is a very vibrant GLBTQ community here as well. Granted, the Gulf Coast is a bit more cosmopolitan than other areas of the state, but it still might come as a surprise for anyone who's never visited here.
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    Re: What is the problem with Mississippi?

    A sense of pride is extremely important for doing any building, when we continually run down the South and damn near everything Southern we get in the way.

    I like the conversation so far.
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    Re: What is the problem with Mississippi?

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