Elected Official In Mississippi Says Black People ‘Became Dependent’ During Slavery

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Nicholas Elias Contributor
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Mississippi Supervisor Harry Sanders, in an interview Monday with The Dispatch, said that black people “became dependent” during slavery.

Sanders made the comments Monday to The Dispatch while discussing how he felt about the black community protesting against Confederate monuments. Sanders said he felt other ethnicities had “assimilated” better than African Americans and that they are “The only ones that are having the problems.” (RELATED: Police Officer Resigns After Allegedly Using Police Database To Find A Woman On Facebook)

The comments came after Sanders was one of the three supervisors who voted against relocating the statue that serves as a monument honoring Confederate soldiers as “our heroes,” according to The Dispatch. The monument sits in front of the Lowndes County courthouse, where a 3-2 vote against its relocation was held.

Sanders said that moving the monument wouldn’t “solve any problem” and that “history is going to repeat itself” if it were to be removed, per The Dispatch. “We need to be reminded of some atrocity that happened,” said Sanders.

Sanders then said that the black community had become “dependent” since slavery and dismissed protesters, reported The Dispatch. “In my opinion, they were slaves,” Sanders said, “Whoever owned them took care of them, fed them, clothed them, worked them. They became dependent, and that dependency is still there.”

Sanders specifically named the Irish, Italian, Polish and Japanese as ethnicities that he feels have “been doing just fine” and that the black community exclusively has these problems, per The Dispatch. “We didn’t do the Japanese right here in World War II, we put them all in a concentration camp and everything and nobody said a damn word about it today,” said Sanders, “Are the Japanese all upset about that, burning stuff down and all that? No.”

Democratic State Rep. Kabir Karriem of Columbus, Mississippi, told the AP that Sanders’ remarks were “appalling.” “His revisionist history is not accurate at all,” said Karriem, “Our ancestors didn’t want to be slaves.”

“We are not saying tear it down, we are saying relocate it, so when people come to the courthouse and they look at it from a certain angle, they don’t see something that looks like a Ku Klux Klan,” said supervisor Leroy Brooks, one of the supervisors who voted to remove the statue, to The Dispatch.

The Mississippi town of Gulfport voted Tuesday to stop flying the state flag because it contains a Confederate battle emblem, per the AP. The flag was quickly removed from the Gulfport City Hall. A 2001 statewide election voted to keep the flag as it is but several Mississippi cities and counties have stopped flying the flag, saying the flag represents racism.