During the 1900’s life for African-Americans in Mississippi was very frightening. The streets were filled with discrimination, segregation, and death due to the Jim Crow Laws. Innocent colored men were being lynched for reasons like looking at a white woman, crossing in the path of white individuals, and even for the simple reason of being black. The dynamic between the races was clear to see, whites were the superior race and blacks lives were placed in their hands. When lynchings occurred many people would gather around, point and laugh as an innocent black man hung from a tree dead.
It’s amazing how many years have passed since the Jim Crow Laws ended, sadly discrimination particularly in Mississippi persists. On September 20, 2011 in the state of Mississippi, Deryl Paul Dedmon a 19-year-old caucasian man was charged with capital murder for the death of James Craig Anderson. In the article Video Intensifies Interest in a Mississippi Killing, it is stated that Anderson was beaten and killed by a group of white teenagers that were looking for any African-American to “mess with”. The death of an innocent man was clearly intentional and premeditated. The article states that a witness heard one of the teens shout “white power” after beating Anderson nearly to death. It is significant to analyze this because it shows that the assumption this teen has on what white power means is expressed by the maltreatment and abuse of a colored individual. This teen clearly defines white power as the overpowering of another race, making sure that it is noticed who the superior race is. In this case a black mans life is perceived as disposable because he is black and an inferior race. Deryl Dedmon wasnt satisfied with simply beating up on Anderson.
As Mr. Anderson stumbled along the edge of the parking lot, the police said, the driver of a green Ford F250 pickup truck, Deryl Dedmon, accelerated and drove over him.
The act of running over Anderson after beating him nearly to death is mind-blowing. Through the eyes of Dedmon the most severe crime Anderson had committed was being black and that was to punished by taking his life away. At whatever cost Dedmon wanted to make sure Anderson was dead.
When speaking to Robert Shuler Smith the Hinds County District attorney he states
Still, parts of the area “are very polarized, he said. “It’s still highly segregated in most ways.” And racial tension remains high among some groups, he said. “There’s no way to get around it,” Mr. Smith said. “It is what it is.”
Mr. Smiths declaration was quite saddening to read because it seems as if people have lost hope in having equality for all. As if the abolishment of racial differences and tensions were never to come. In essence I think Smith has apoint there will always be a race commonly the white race, that is represented as the superior race. Segregation is illegal but sadly still exists. Some people still have the mentality that some deserve more or less than others simply based on their race, their color of skin.
This is certainly a hate crime in which an innocent black man was victim to. Just like in Mississippi during the 1900’s where black individuals were victims to white dominance and discrimination, it is occurring all over again. This is a clear example of the race relations in Mississippi between whites and blacks and how they havent advanced much from the 1900’s to now. Jim crow laws were part of society in the 1900s but not any longer the law must take action and punish Dedmon to the fullest extent. He had no remorse and as stated in the article “laughed bragging “about how he took the life of a black man away. Killing someone isn’t something to be proud of it just shows how vile, cynical, and full-out crazy you are. Now the controversy is presented between if Dedmon’s actions were simply of an angry stupid teenager or if the killing was premeditated racial violence a clear example of the racial and cultural divide?
I think there is more than enough evidence to prove that Dedmon is a murderer whose intentions were to attack and kill not just any individual but a black man. He aimed and achieved and now he must suffer the consequences. In a world where there have been so many advances, acceptance amongst races is something I can’t say has advanced very far. It’s sad to see how people like Dedmon can be so close minded and enjoy the death of an innocent man just because he is black. This isn’t the 1900’s where lynching was done for amusement purposes, killing an innocent man deserves the death penalty!
Below is a video from CNN that reenact what occurred that night on June 26 when Anderson’s life was taken away. Viewer discretion is advised.