For the first time, the NAACP has issued a state-wide travel advisory due to unsafe conditions for minorities. Missouri – where reports found Black drivers are stopped 75% more than white drivers – has just passed a bill that the NAACP feels will lead to open discrimination similar to Jim Crow.
“Individuals traveling in the state are advised to travel with extreme CAUTION,” the organization said in the advisory. “Race, gender and color based crimes have a long history in Missouri. Missouri, home of Lloyd Gaines, Dredd Scott and the dubious distinction of the Missouri Compromise and one of the last states to loose its slaveholding past, may not be safe.”
The travel advisory isn’t suggesting that people completely avoid the entire state of Missouri. It is, however, making them aware of the risks of traveling in the state.
The history of Missouri’s troubled relationship with discrimination is referenced in the statement but may make one wonder why now? Why not after Ferguson or the University of Missouri protests? The NAACP claims hat’s due to the state government’s recent actions by passing a bill that makes it more difficult for employees to prove they were discriminated against.
Missouri politicians suggest that Senate Bill 43 simply places them on the same playing field as most other states in regards to discrimination lawsuits. The bill was passed in June and signed into law by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens soon after, according to CNN.
“This does not follow the morals of Missouri,” Conference President Rod Chapel Jr. told CNN. “I hate to see Missouri get dragged down deep past the notion of treating people with dignity.”
The initial plan was for the travel advisory to be a temporary measure, but the bills being passed into law so easily led the NAACP to keep it in place until further notice.