Myra Bean column

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2008

Elected must consider electorate enjoyable

Tuesday morning, while mulling over some things that have been happening across the nation and reading the story of the hiring practices of county officials, I saw red.

I am now a grandmother and sometimes I look down the road of the future to what is in store for my granddaughter. When she one day walks out into the world looking for a job, what will be available for her, as a black woman?

It has long been talked about in the homes and job markets of the black community that in Panola County and Batesville it’s who you know that lands you the top jobs. It is not said aloud much in mixed company of white and black. People look around this town and county and know where the majority of blacks are working and where the whites are working.

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There is nothing wrong with a job where you work hard, but there is something wrong when they will not be considered for other work in which they are qualified.

Why am I, in my position as sports editor, writing about this subject? I have a great job, right?

You are right. Other people want great jobs and opportunities, too. I also feel a responsibility to speak for those who do not feel they have a voice.

County elected officials of both races, elected by the populace, want to hire only people they “know.” They do not really know someone from a piece of paper.

What kind of bull-malarkey thinking is that? That is so 1940s – pre-civil rights thinking. This is 2008. Get with the program.

You are elected. You do what the electorate demands. You give them an opportunity to work for you.

You were willing to hire an outside consultant and pay her an outrageous sum of money for a job someone around here probably could have done. Local consultants consult for people out of state and town because why? Are they are not “good enough” for Batesville?

What if you do not know someone who is perfectly fit for the job? Are you not even giving them or yourselves a chance? Are you, the elected officials who both races voted for, afraid you may have to look over the less qualified friend and put a more qualified person than you in your organization?

Am I playing the race card and accusing some of you of something? You better believe it. If you play the race game of discrimination or reverse discrimination – I am playing my hold card.

Some of the comments in that article were flat out ridiculous. If I were an elected official, I would have called Billy Davis and begged him to not run those comments. Better yet, I would have been thinking about the election of 2011 and kept my comments to myself. At least, I would have played the political game and given a more acceptable response.

We hope to send the 500 kids we graduate from the three schools each year to college. What is there for them to return to job-wise in Panola County or Batesville? They do not go to college in order to come back and work for a $10 an hour job. In college, they sell them on working for a minimum of $50,000 a year. That’s why the big cities draw our kids away from home.

I look at my daughter who is getting ready to go to college to become a teacher. Will she work in Mississippi when she gets finished? I do not know. We all want our children to have a better life than we gave them. Will it be better if she remains in Mississippi?

If the graduates come back here, they would come back to a town full of tunnel-minded non-potential employers, who only want to “hire people they know” and not give anyone who has grown into adulthood a fighting chance at a decent job. Why should college graduates come back to or stay in Mississippi to work and raise a family?

These children who are graduating will be sitting in those political county offices in a few years. What are you teaching them about discrimination? It may come back to haunt you.