2017-08-31 10:32:08
N.A.A.C.P. to Missouri: You’re No Safe Space (Still)

The N.A.A.C.P. has reviewed and decided to retain its recent advisory urging African-Americans to steer clear of Missouri in the wake of the finding that African-Americans are 75 percent more likely to be stopped by the police than whites and after a new state law that the organization said makes it harder to sue businesses for racial discrimination.

The advisory, the first of its kind for the organization, stated that visitors and state residents should “pay special attention and exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the state given the series of questionable, race-based incidents occurring statewide recently.” It was reviewed and renewed on Aug. 28.

“This is the first time we have ever issued a travel advisory for a state, but the situation in Missouri is so extreme that it warrants it,” said Hilary Shelton, the director of the N.A.A.C.P.’s Washington bureau and the group’s senior vice president for policy and advocacy.

The advisory evokes an era when African-Americans relied on sources like The Negro Motorist Green Book to guide their travel choices. It also prompts the question: can an entire state be too racist to visit?

The N.A.A.C.P. suggests that yes, it can. The advisory was drafted in response to race-based incidents, according to Mr. Shelton, including death threats against black students at the University of Missouri campus in November 2015 and the discovery of the statistics from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office saying that African Americans in Missouri are 75 percent more likely to be stopped and searched by police than Caucasians.

The advisory also comes after the passage of SB 43, known by its critics as the Jim Crow bill, which says that fired employees would have to prove that race, religion, sex or age was the main reason for dismissal, not just a contributing factor.

“The U.S. State Department warns us of the dangers of traveling to certain destinations overseas,” Mr. Shelton said. “This is our version of warning people about what’s going on in Missouri.”