And seeing as how we’re from “up north,” we all know about racism “down south.” At least we thought we did.
Enter these observations by former Pitch heavweight Joe Miller.
Miller is currently an English professor in Columbus, Georgia. And reading of Kansas City’s ongoing trials and tribulations with black youth on the Plaza and in other entertainment districts about town got him thinking.
“One of the things that really struck me when I got down here is it’s not like Kansas City,” Miller begins. “You know, all the nicest restaurants and bars are on this three block stretch and there are several black nightclubs there. And on weekends and other nights there are big crowds of blacks out on the town. Regularly. And that’s something I seldom saw in Kansas City.”
That is, without a gaggle of nervous business owners, security personnel and rent-a-cops.
“Chris Rock had this little bit where he said the people that thought they were the sexiest people on earth were fat, black women,” Miller continues. “And when I got down here I saw a lot of 300 and 400 pound black women dressed in like two piece leather tops and bikini bottoms and fishnet stockings. You know, it’s basically like they’re fucking naked. It’s a sight to behold.
“And I thought, is that something that’s just in the south and then I thought, ‘You never see blacks out in Kansas City,’ and when you do, it’s a state of emergency. That’s one of the things that I’ve found down here; people don’t have a problem with blacks like they do in Kansas City.”
There’s also a quaint southern custom of people chatting freely with one another – including strangers – and including blacks with whites and vice versa, Miller says.
“And that’s something I didn’t see in Kansas City,” he says. “I wouldn’t say there’s not racism down here, but it’s different and in some ways it’s not as bad. There’s obviously a history of blacks and whites being in close proximity down here. So there’s not the same discomfort that there is in Kansas City.”
The kind of discomfort that caused the Country Club Plaza to station 18 off duty cops, a handful of on duty police and horse mounted officers in front of the entrance to the Cinemark Palace on the Plaza theater at 9:40 p.m. the Saturday before last.
“You never, ever experience big groups of mostly blacks in Kansas City without someone calling in the National Guard,” Miller quips. “But blacks and whites will chat and shop in the same grocery stores down here, that kind of stuff. And like there are several black nightclubs in the main area here.
“Do you think you’ll ever see a black nightclub on the Plaza? People here are just not as uptight and fearful (of blacks) as they are in Kansas City.”