How does one claim that systemic racism doesn’t exist while also dedicating a full month to the celebration of a thing that only existed because white people wanted to keep Black people in chains?
Well, we can pose that very question to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R).
For three decades, Mississippi Republicans have been celebrating the Confederacy in the month of April. According to the Mississippi Free Press, Reeves, for the third year in a row, declared that April is Confederate Heritage Month.
“April is the month when, in 1861, the American Civil War began between the Confederate and Union armies, reportedly the costliest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil,” he stated in this year’s proclamation. The proclamation—which is the same proclamation verbatim as the one he signed in 202—notes that the last Monday of April is also Confederate Memorial Day in Mississippi.
First, let’s be clear on one thing: The Civil War was fought for the same reason the Confederacy was formed in the first place—slavery.
Between the Constitution of the Confederacy and the articles of secession, slavery is mentioned more times than Donald Trump mentions “fake news” in a given week, and they all center the institution of free negro labor as the reason for the Confederacy’s existence.
Gov. Tate Reeves, for the third time in a row, designated April to honor white supremacy and Black people being owned as property. For 30 years now, the state of Mississippi has dedicated an entire month to commemorate southern states seceding from the Union because the idea of Black people roaming free and chainless didn’t sit right with southern whites.
There’s no way around this.
The proclamation, of course, doesn’t mention that the thing Mississippi has celebrated for three decades was formed to preserve slavery. But that’s what it is. And the fact that after signing the proclamation last year, Reeves went on Fox News to declare that “there is not systemic racism in America,” only shows the depths of his delusion, privilege and adherence to white lies, white fragility and white supremacy.
Anyway, Reeves has also designated April as Genocide Awareness Month, where he defines genocide as “the systematic destruction of all or a significant part of a racial, ethnic, religious or national group by destroying a group’s political and social institutions, culture, language, national feelings, religion and economic existence, and destroying the personal security, liberty, health, dignity and lives of individuals belonging to the group,” according to the Free Press.
You know what that definition of genocide sounds like? It sounds like the systemic racism Reeves says doesn’t exist. It also sounds like what happened during the establishment of the transatlantic slave trade—the thing Confederates fought to preserve. The thing Reeves continued the Mississippi tradition of honoring.
Reeves is proof that systemic racism is alive and well in America, he’s just too much of a coward to admit it.