Missouri loves company… just not yours.
The state of Missouri is known for many things: Famous for growing corn and drug addicts at astonishing rates, having half of the world’s largest McDonald’s logo, being home to two supposedly-major league baseball teams, and now it also has high distinction of being the first state to ever receive a travel advisory from the NAACP.
The Kansas City Star Reports: Missouri became the first because of recent legislation making discrimination lawsuits harder to win, and in response to longtime racial disparities in traffic enforcement and a spate of incidents cited as examples of harm coming to minority residents and visitors, say state NAACP leaders.
Those incidents included racial slurs against black students at the University of Missouri and the death earlier this year of 28-year-old Tory Sanders, a black man from Tennessee who took a wrong turn while traveling and died in a southeast Missouri jail even though he hadn’t been accused of a crime.
“How do you come to Missouri, run out of gas and find yourself dead in a jail cell when you haven’t broken any laws?” asked Rod Chapel, the president of the Missouri NAACP.
“You have violations of civil rights that are happening to people. They’re being pulled over because of their skin color, they’re being beaten up or killed,” Chapel said. “We are hearing complaints at a rate we haven’t heard before.”
The NAACP’s advisory also cites the most recent attorney general’s report showing black drivers in Missouri were 75 percent more likely to be pulled over than whites. Those reports have been showing the disparity since the attorney general began releasing the data in 2000.
But how do you get pulled over in Missouri? I’ve driven through the entire state not too long ago (family was on a bike ride and I was the SAG.) Once you get away from Kansas City, Jefferson, and St. Louis there’s absolutely nothing in the whole state! Unless the cops have their cars hiding in the corn fields or behind all the confederate flags (there were a lot of those) I don’t know where they were at!
This is completely of topic, but as a history buff I would like to also point out that Missouri fought for the Union during the Civil War. It was a very contested state, to be sure, but all the rebel flags are still a little bit ironic.
Anyways, back to the story. No matter your skin color, take the travel advisory into account when planning your next road trip. I’ve driven across all of Missouri once, and that was more than enough for me. Adding racism into the mix probably would’ve made it a lot worse… and a lot more confusing considering I’m the whitest of white guys.