The victory of Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election has shown us signs of improving race relations in this country. Sadly this isn’t the case some areas of the south where the election of the United States first black president have increased already high racial tensions.

In North Carolina State University, four students spray-painted threatening and racist graffiti aimed at the president elect.

Baylor University students reported a rope tied in the shape of a noose was spotted in a tree on campus, and Obama campaign signs were burned in a fire pit. Verbal altercations also arose.

“Given Mississippi’s long history of race relations and the struggle we have had as a people, I’m not surprised,” said Jackson State political science professor Leslie Burl McLemore.

“I think these incidents reflect the long history of race relations in Mississippi and in the American South,” he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi has released a statement saying:

[…] we want to remind Mississippians that student speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution. A complete prohibition of political speech violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and will not be tolerated. This election should serve as an opportunity to educate students and encourage tolerance. Speech regarding the President-elect and this historic election should not serve as an antagonist or be used to suppress the political voice of students or teachers.

We encourage students and parents to contact us if they are subjected to or witness any form of restrictions on speech, discipline or sanctions in response to protected speech activities or any questionable conduct by school administrators, teachers or district employees as a result of students or others discussing political views at school or school-related functions.

For more information check out The Clarion Ledger, Jackson Free Press, and also the NCAC’s stance on hate speech.