Senator Hyde-Smith and her supporters

One wonders why Cindy Hyde-Smith, Senate candidate in Mississippi would be so bold in her racism. Earlier this month she told a crowd at a campaign event that if a favorite supporter invited her to “a public hanging,” she “would be on the front row.”

Amazingly, she said this in 2018 in Mississippi, the state that lynched more African Americans than any other. And she never really apologized.

At another campaign rally, she let the Republican black voter suppression cat out of the bag saying “…there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”

Hyde-Smith did not specify which “other schools;” however, we can reasonably assume that she was referring to the HBCU’s in Mississippi, and therefore, African Americans.

One possible reason for her racist boldness is that she is honest and is putting her mouth where her actions have been. For example, in high school, she attended an all-white segregation academy.

Perhaps we should not call her racist for attending Lawrence County Academy in the 1970s since that was on her parents; however, we can call her racist for sending her daughter to Brookhaven Academy, another segregation school.

Fifteen years after the Brown decision, the Supreme Court ordered Mississippi to desegregate its public schools in 1969. As he announced his forced compliance the Mississippi governor began to facilitate the establishment of private white academies to minimize the amount of integration. The legislature even provided private-school vouchers for white families.

Another possible reason for Hyde-Smith’s racist boldness is that she had support in many prominent places. She received campaign donations from many corporations, including Google, Union Pacific, Boston Scientific, Walmart, AT&T, Pfizer, Amgen, and Ernst & Young. After being exposed by the newsletter, Popular Information, at least nine companies asked Hyde-Smith to return contributions.

But it gets worse. Dave Zirin of The Nation magazine tells us of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) participation in this ugliness. The League gave several donations to Hyde-Smith’s campaign, including $5,000 after several major corporations asked for the return of their contributions.

While other corporations were recanting, MLB was pitching in. It asked for a refund only after Popular Information revealed its donation.

Why would MLB do such a thing when there is no MLB team in Mississippi? After all, this is the League that has long stated its support for Jackie Robinson’s legacy. These actions support bigotry, not Jackie.

This action by MLB underscores the title of Jackie Robinson’s autobiography, “I Never Had it Made.” Maybe this episode will cause more African Americans in MLB—the few that are left—and others of us to realize that we do not have it made.