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Old 01-08-2013, 03:50 PM
2,031 posts, read 2,316,346 times
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My family and I recently visited Jackson. We got a tour of the capitol building (gorgeous) and then decided to walk around town.
My wife had read about Farish St (its historical significance), so we strolled down there. It is in abysmal condition. The neighborhoods around it are absolutely horrible, too...and scary. We got in our car and drove around the area to cover more ground: There were empty houses, hollowed out by fire (?) and/or sheer emaciation. I guess I don't need to mention the drunks and homeless walking around like zombies.
My question to locals: What is going on with downtown Jackson? How did it come to this? It was my first time in the city, and I was--quite frankly--appalled.
One of the great ironies of our visit was that you could see the capitol building from much of the worst areas. It was like a shanty-town in India or Brazil. I've been to every major city in the country, and the only comparable experience I've ever had was East St Louis.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:30 AM
Location: Lake Oswego, Manhattan, Aspen
3,141 posts, read 3,982,306 times
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Demographics are destiny.

Learn those words, because they form a truism which will become the dominant axiom of this millennium.

There is something that Jackson; Detroit; Gary, Indiana; Camden, New Jersey; and Oakland, California have in common.

That "something" may be 'lack of team spirit', lack of 'leadership', lack of funding, lack of an industrial base, or just plain lack of 'jobs'. Maybe it's about attitude. Maybe it's because of a history of oppression, or repression, or depression, or regression.

Or maybe it's something else.

Sad thing is, America is becoming one big Mississippi. Yeah. It's like the Third World in Jackson. Third World demographics make a Third World place.

But before you decide that the poor in Jackson are poor because they have been cheated and oppressed by the rich up in the Capitol Building(s), I think you should know that Mississippi's comfortable/affluent/rich lead the nation in giving both their money and their time in helping the poor.

Not only do they help local poor, not simply do they fund missionary work worldwide. When the Iron Curtain came down, Jackson businessmen came to the rescue of St. Petersburg. When insulin was being rationed to only the young, and the city had no Cat Scan machine, Jackson sent many millions of Dollars in medical supplies, and medical equipment (including a Cat Scan). St. Petersburg was so grateful, that the city allowed many treasures never before allowed out of the country to be sent to Jackson, for what became the first in a series of unprecedented museum exhibits.

As a Native American who grew up in dire poverty (caused by my Mom's substance abuse, not 'oppression'), I can personally attest to the kindness and generosity of the middle and upper classes of the state. It was they, not my "own people" who plucked me out of that mudhole of a 'community', got me the scholarships, drove me up to college, bought me a suitcase, gave me jobs at school...

Later, rich white people cosigned the mortgage for the first apartment building my new husband and I bought while students. An on and on, every step of the way up the ladder... kindness and generosity... until here I sit in Beverly Hills, waiting for our new fine, formal & French limestone house in Portland to be completed. A family of extremely blond people from the Deep South are lending us one of their homes, after our old one sold a bit faster than we expected.

But for every story like mine; for every person who made the most of the opportunities offered, there are a hundred other people who simply cannot. No matter how much effort and money is thrown their way, those people just can not be sustainably helped. It's not their fault they can't be helped. It's not the rich people's fault. It's just the way Nature made those people.

It is not just intelligence that is heritable. A host of other traits are partly inherited. Foresight, freedom of thought vs conformity, susceptibility to religion, susceptibility to addiction... all these things correlate highly with heritability. And there is such a thing as Familial Retardation. Just as brilliance runs in some families, the opposite of brilliance runs in other families. Mississippi (until California nosed its way into the lead) led the nation in people who did not inherit enough intelligence to function competitively in a modern society.

There are three main reasons for Mississippi's dominance in this arena. First, Mississippi's climate is miserably hot, and very humid. Smarter people, and highly-motivated people, tend to get happy when it gets cold. The wealthy moved away. Students went off to school in cooler places, and decided to stay. Men went off to war, liked the North or the West better, and stayed. Remember that before the 1920s, most people lacked even electric fans. Imagine nights, four months a year, of lying drenched in sweat, trying to sleep. People who could (generally smarter/richer people) moved away. This is a trend which began even before the Civil War.

The Civil War devastated Mississippi, and made the state vulnerable to exploitation by outside interests. Our forests were felled by the timber barons. Profits from our crops went to commodities brokers. Our state's sons were harvested as cannon fodder for a whole series of filthy wars serving no purpose but to enrich armaments manufacturers and international bankers. A hundred years of poverty descended upon the state, following the war. Opportunities, for most, lay outside Mississippi. As with all animal populations, it is the best and brightest humans who tend to move away. The dull and incapable tend to be the ones left behind.

The third reason is that the state's agricultural economy called for cheap labor. The lower classes and oppressed ethnic groups of the British Empire were tricked into indentured servitude (or simply seized and sold). Plantation owners purchased these hapless people on the auction blocks of South Carolina and Virginia. Generally, the men were allowed to "perish of exertion" in the sweltering heat. Other people deemed suitable as slaves or serfs were imported from foreign lands. Lack of intelligence was seen as an asset. The cheap labor stayed. The labor-importing elites moved to greener pastures.

Because of the brain drain and the wholesale importation of cheap labor, when Kennedy and Johnson began their meddling and social engineering, Mississippi already had a vastly larger underclass than any other state. The welfare state encourages the multiplication of those who cannot. And because it taxes the capable to support the incapable, the welfare state subtly discourages the multiplication of those who can and will be productive.

Just like everywhere else in America, smart, motivated people with good degrees, who work and pay taxes, have to wait until it's nearly too late, to have their one or two children. Often, it is too late, and they have no children. Meanwhile, those who consume tax dollars start having babies whenever, and keep on having them until whenever. Doesn't matter. If you're pitiful enough, somebody's going to pick up the tab, no matter how many babies you have.

Yes. There's nothing unique about that, except that this trend has been more pronounced in Mississippi, because the state started out with many more welfare-ready people. Mississippi just had a head start.

Used to be, California led the nation in trends. Now, sadly, as goes Mississippi, so goes America. Your tour of Jackson was a glimpse into America's future. Yeah. It's kinda like Brazil (except Mississippi's rich are more generous and more involved in improving the lives of the less fortunate).

Want to know what your kids' lives will be like? Look into the Alphaville fortress communities in Brazil (and elsewhere). Inner perimeter, outer perimeter, private armies... What you saw in Jackson is nothing, compared to what's coming. Jackson's slums are luxurious, compared to the favelas. And the favelas are paradise, compared to Mogadishu and Port au Prince.

Oh, and if you're wondering where everybody ran off to, all-of-a-sudden (it looks like that, and that's pretty-much what happened a few years back), then meet the ghost of Frank. Frank scared the bejesus out of everybody, and pretty much sealed the doom of the city. Mississippi is the kind of state that votes for "The Daddy Candidate". Frank was a daddy type. Frank Melton had a great 'old-tyme preacher man' act, which masked a passion for spanking boys, and much, much more. You could spend a month reading up on his many exploits. Here: I'll get you started... DEHIBITION: Psychopath For Mayor! The Jackson Free Press, the local liberal rag, was his greatest nemesis. I suspect that they'll have the best articles... went on for years... former Jacksonians loved reading about him, from the comfort of our new homes outside Jacktown: Ghosts of Frank Melton | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Oh, and it wasn't all Frank's doing. Organized crime ran the city for many years prior to his tenure. That caused the drug-fueled crime wave that started the exodus. Frank just added insanity and incompetence to the mix, and accelerated the decline.

Last edited by GrandviewGloria; 01-11-2013 at 04:20 AM..
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:37 PM
2,923 posts, read 2,923,215 times
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Farish Street has had a long history and I applaud the plans to return it to its heyday. But back in the 70s, our friends used to dare each other to drive down there to see the prostitutes and the general dangerousness of the whole area. We would take our overseas relatives so they could get an idea of the other side of the American way of life. Too bad no one warned you in advance. It can be dangerous, even with all the redevelopment work in progress.
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