What country is this again?

And what year is it?

COUSHATTA -- Nine black children attending Red River Elementary School were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children.

The situation has outraged relatives of the black children who have filed a complaint with school officials....

After Richmond and Williams filed complaints with the School Board, Transportation Supervisor Jerry Carlisle asked Davis to make seat assignments for her passengers, Sessoms said.

"But she still assigned the black children to the back of the bus," she added.

And the nine children had to share only two seats, meaning the older children had to hold the younger ones in their laps.

Davis called to apologize, apparently, but given the rest of the story, you've got to wonder just how much of that apology is just trying to save her job.

It should be no surprise that we're still fighting racism at this late date--there will always be racists, those who scapegoat the other in order to make themselves feel better about themselves. But it seems lately that there's been a resurgence in the open, vituperative racism, that it's become socially acceptable to be publicly racist again. CBS's ludicrous Survivor stunt, Pat Buchanan's latest screed, Limbaugh's rundown of the Survivor story, George Allen's use of macaca and the subsequent wink at the camera during his apology (see Daily Kos for details of that one)--these stories are just the most recent examples of how racists have been emboldened by these political times, and how they're not bothering to hide it anymore.

I'd like to think that the public will rise up and smack these people down again. I certainly saw that potential in my poetry students this past Thursday when we discussed Dudley Randall's Ballad of Birmingham, which is about the 1963 bombing of the Birmingham church that killed 4 young girls. But then again, I live and teach in a very culturally diverse area, where you can't get away from the reality that the world is filled with the other. Shreveport, that's not so much the case, from what I understand, and so I can't help but not be surprised about this story.

And that's the saddest part of it all.

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