OpinionThe Mississippi State Fair's Frontier Village is disgusting

The Mississippi State Fair’s Frontier Village is disgusting


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Racism. It is a six-letter word that makes lumps form in people’s throats. A six-letter word that means more today than it ever has. It is a word that the South was built upon, and one that still carries a significant amount of weight. Despite all of this, the state of Mississippi still seems to not want to acknowledge its own racism at their annual state fair.

This year, the 2021 Mississippi State Fair features a “Mississippi Frontier Village” designed to bring visitors back to the 1800s, a time where being a person of color was heavily looked down upon. Why would the state of Mississippi want to remind its inhabitants about such a grim time in American history? 

In the 1800s, many people of color, especially in states like Mississippi, were not considered free citizens and therefore were not extended the same privileges as their white counterparts. Even though Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, enslaved people were not truly free until the end of the Civil War in 1865. 

Even then, this “freedom” was largely conditional, especially during the years of Jim Crow. It was not until after 1964, when the Civil Rights Act passed, that people of color were finally able to begin receiving equal rights. That is almost 100 years between when people of color were supposed to have rights and when they were lawfully given them. 

Nothing about the 1800s was positive for people of color. In the world we live in now, with COVID-19 killing thousands of people and systematic racism abusing millions more, we should be celebrating who we are. Why should we now be forced to remember such a horrifying time in history at a state fair, a place that is supposed to be fun and relaxing? 

No one really knows the answer to this question. As a state, Mississippi is already two steps behind the rest of the United States in education, healthcare and poverty rates. But despite the effort of movements like Black Lives Matter, Mississippi still seems set on continuing onwards without considering the perspectives of others in even basic matters like the state fair. It should be working on ways to move forwards, not backwards. 

This is a slap in the face to people of color by the state of Mississippi. It makes people of color realize that we still live in a world where people see the color of their skin rather than what they contribute to society. If the Mississippi State Fair Commission truly cared about people of color, they would not have dedicated a section of the state fair, which is supposed to be all-inclusive, to such a disgraceful time in American history.

This is also a slap to the face to many poorer Mississippians. Many struggled to make ends meet before COVID, and looked forward to the fair as an affordable way to make fond memories with their families. And now those “fond memories” are tainted by blatant ignorance. Everything about the Frontier Village is distasteful, and it should not be tolerated.

No one should be supporting this year’s state fair, especially people of color. If they’re so determined to keep their Frontier Village, they deserve to lose the monetary support of the people it hurt the most.

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