Black & White: An In-Depth Analysis of Racism in Tallahassee, Florida

Courtesy of Janelle Floyd

Without a doubt racial relations between Caucasians and African-Americans have been turbulent to say the least in Tallahassee, Florida.

Tallahassee historically was no different than any other city in the deep South. There have been lynchings, rapes, and Ku Klux Klan appearances. Gerald Ensley, a retired writer for the Tallahassee Democrat gives some historical background information on Tallahassee.

"In 1937 three [black] men were taken from the Leon County Jail and taken to what is now the Mahan Highway and shot to death," Ensley said. "In 1959 a Florida A&M student, Betty Owens was taken captive and raped by four white men… It was a highlight in Tallahassee racial relations because all four men were convicted. Something that might not have happened in the past."

Although racial relations in Tallahassee have graduated from overt to covert racism it is still terrible in Tallahassee because it has evolved to being mental. Joshua Parson a security officer shares his experience with covert racism.

"When [white female] residents see me they try to get in their apartment before I get behind them and I clearly have on a bright security vest," Parson said. "It's just extremely ironic because I'm security and I'm here to protect them."

Housing is a tool for discrimination and racism property owners use rental prices and vacancies to maintain segregation. Mitch Jacobs gives some insight on the method used to foster housing discrimination.

"You'll have a black guy walk in a complex and ask for a place to stay and the owner will tell him no, but a white guy walks in 30 minutes later and he gets helped," Jacobs. "So the black family is pushed to a lower income area where the apartment owner feels that they will fit in better… It's not the owner being racist it's just them wanting to keep their housing their way."

The Police are a major factor in maintaining interracial hatred between blacks and whites in Tallahassee. Ryan Albert, a fourth-year sociology student at Florida State University gives facts on police discrimination.

"African Americans are more likely to be stopped for no reason and receive a fine or harsher penalty than any other race," Albert said. "I'm not sure if that’s racism or discrimination because discrimination is acting upon the belief, and that's clearly what they're doing in that case which is really wrong."

The consensus amongst everyone who was interviewed was that the solution to racism is that we must realize that there is only one race and that is the human race. Undoubtedly they all agreed the world would be a better place if it wasn't for the visible and invisible lines that divide us all.