For most black people, life has changed dramatically since the 1950s. So it can be difficult to believe and realize that there are still places where America has not seen much racial progress. Raymond Ivy, whom I wrote about last year, lives in Charleston, Mo., pop. 5,500, and kitty-corner from Rush Limbaugh’s hometown of Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Raymond, who has lived there since 1996, says life for black people hasn’t changed much in over 60 years. There is still an atmosphere — spoken and unspoken — of white superiority and black inferiority. And adding insult to injury are blacks who go along with the status quo.
Let me refresh you as to why I wrote about Raymond Ivy. He has two young girls who were in the same school. The youngest was in kindergarten at the time and the other in second grade. Ivy made a request to his local school that every parent would make. Rather than have the kindergartner go home on a different bus (kindergartners got out 20 minutes earlier), could both girls ride together? The school agreed and would normally send the youngest girl to the office to wait for her sister to be dismissed. But at some point, that changed. Rather than wait in the office, the young girl was escorted to the waiting school bus.
One day the kindergartner, rather than being escorted, was sent over to the waiting bus. When she got there, the door to the bus was closed and she didn’t see the driver. So she turned and started walking back toward the school. According to her father, the bus driver then appeared out of nowhere and came behind his daughter. The man asked the child if he could pick her up by her backpack. Please note that Ivy’s daughter was heavy and big for her age.
Ivy’s daughter told him no, but the driver picked her up by the straps to her bookbag. At some point, the strap broke. The bus driver then took the girl onto the bus and stood behind her with a knife and proceeded to cut the broken strap of the bookbag. The little girl was scared and as soon as she got home, she told Ivy what had happened. Ivy has since been on a mission seeking answers to what any parent would want to know. Why was his child left alone with the driver before pickup time? Why did the male driver pick up the little girl from behind by her bookbag? Why did the driver have a weapon on the bus? And, oh yeah, another point, why had the driver been giving his child gifts?
When I wrote about the case initially, someone wrote back and pointed out that Raymond Ivy is a convicted sex offender. I hadn’t known when I wrote the first column. Here are the details. In 2001, a teenager approached Raymond’s car while he was visiting in another town. She asked for cigarettes, but he didn’t have any. She told him she was hungry and he offered to take her to Burger King for food. She got in his car and they went to BK and in the drive-through was a police vehicle. He got her some food and took her back home and down the block from where he dropped her off is another police car, its lights flashing. Days later, he was arrested and charged with having tried to assault the girl. Ivy, who has been an activist since coming to Charleston, by his own stupidity gave the close-knit, in-control forces just what they had been looking for: a chance to put him on the hot seat and shut him up — because he had been filing discrimination charges and had the corporate offices fire his boss. Reading the transcripts of the sex offense case, the timeline is impossible. But then again, we live in a state where 13 men were released off of death row, so we all know that the legal system when it so chooses can make possible the impossible.
Mr. Ivy has been fighting ever since the backpack incident to discover what happened with his daughter. His background (just like in rape cases) shouldn’t be used as a hindrance to stop an investigation into why a grown man would pick up a child by her backpack.
When an individual fights the system and powers that be, the fight is never fair. The struggle will be long and hard. Fight on, Raymond Ivy, father and activist. There are many like myself willing to help you in your struggle. All of us have seen the Catholic priest scandal and Sandusky scandal, and we know that if they are fighting that hard not to respond, then something is up and your battle will reveal it.