Yesterday, it was reported that a baby born with HIV had been cured, making this only the second time in history when such an event has occurred and the first time a child has been deemed free of the viurs. The now two-year-old’s mother had not received any kind of HIV treatment or prenatal care during her pregnancy, received treatment just a day after it was born. The child received treatment for the first year. Now, at 23 months, the child has been deemed more or less cured.
Now, admittedly the wheels of the conspiracy-slash-apocalypse wing of my brain started turning upon hearing this news. I’ve been corrupted by pop culture, namely Will Smith movies, and could do nothing but think about Emma Thompson’s character in I am Legend very calmly confirming that she’s found the cure for cancer when I heard about this. (Something world-altering happens. *Cue Fresh Prince movie.* Rinse. Repeat.) Although I’m admittedly on the lookout for Darkseekers and Cookie Johnson proclamations, assuming nothing terrible (that can be sourced to this apparent cure) happens to this child or all of humanity, I’d like to give a high-five to western medicine. Way to go, folks. I’m also really happy for this child and its family and all the researchers who will be able to help children and other folks with this discovery.
But you know who I’m mostly happy for? The state of Mississippi.
As an NPR article noted a few weeks back, Mississippi often serves as Hollywood’s–and frankly the rest of the (northern) United States’–shorthand for racism. And, in a way, Mississippi earned that title fair and square. If the American South is the nation’s Id, then Mississippi has become the Id-est of the Id, the metonym for all the terrible things Americans thinks only happens in one of its 50 states. Despite the outright freaking genius of its writers, for example, Mississippi has long held a reputation of being not only racist, but ignorant, backwards, and behind these ever changing times.
News that the one of the most troublesome medical issues of our time may have met its match within the walls of the University of Mississippi Medical Center may indicate that the Magnolia State will be able to take at least a little reprieve from being the state we blame a whole lot of larger cultural stuff on.
Maybe now’s a great time to rebrand the state, come up with a new tagline: Mississippi: Hey, while you were hating on us for just now ratifying the slavery amendment, we were busy curing HIV. Or something. I’ll keep thinking.
Way to go, Mississippi.
P.S. For your second act, I suggest a meme of white kids doing a dance called the Crooked Letter. They’re really good of evacuating things of history and meaning. And since this is the best time for you to change your image, employing a few might prove a great move. Ask Harlem.