“While I said that mixed races seem to be more comfortable down here, there are some things that are worse,” says Joe Miller, a Kansas City and Pitch refugee who now teaches college English in Columbus, Georgia. “While the black population here is a majority, there are only three black City Council members out of 10. I don’t know how you can have a majority of the population but only three on the City Council.
“And the schools down here are really messed up. It’s very segregated. Where in Kansas City you have Troost, here you have Macon Road. And down here the street names change from the white areas to the black areas, so the white areas don’t have to have the same names as the black areas. So the (racial) legacy’s here too.”
Miller’s take on KC’s curfew controversy:
“Kansas City isn’t innocent in this story,” he says. “I don’t think the curfew is going to solve the problem and I don’t think it’s a racist issue, but the problems are based on racist issues. All of these (problems) are just symptoms. The curfew law is just a symptom of Kansas City’s deep, historic racism. And it’s because there’s no where else for black kids to go.”
“Yeah, actually it’s interesting,” Miller says. “There’s an area in North Columbus, which is white suburban and there’s lots of kids of all colors hanging out there. But folks here seem to get along better. So that’s one area where they’re doing better here.
“Here people just don’t have a problem with blacks being part of the day to day culture, but clearly they have a problem with them having any power.”
Back to Kansas City’s kid troubles…
“I feel for Kansas City, Kansas City’s in a tough spot just like any other city,” Miller says. “But there’s a real violence issue in Kansas City – black on black crime – and it’s true that violence erupts when there are large gatherings of people. It’s here too, but it’s different.”
“I guess my opinion of the curfew on a policy level would be I would hope that they would address having a place for kids to gather late at night,” Miller says. “But I don’t know about a curfew, that sounds Draconian. I think the curfew and security issues could cause problems if there’s no place else to go.”
To that end, Kansas City has put in place a summer kids program.
The $64 million question being, What about the other nine months if the new curfew passes?