People like me with illnesses are isolated and angry as the myth of Southern hospitality has given way to something much uglier, with just one in three adults here vaccinated.
Kevin Lee serves as arts editor for the Mobile, Alabama newsweekly Lagniappe. He won Mobile Press Club awards for Best Commentary Print and In-Depth Reporting for Non-Daily Newspaper in 2004 and 2005 and has been published in Miami’s ARTPULSE and New Orleans’ The Pelican Bomb.
The willful ignorance, the racism, the ecological disregard, it’s all maddening for us. But it also means that this is where we’re needed the most.
Mobile, Alabama, sold itself as a place that was different than other Southern towns and racially tranquil. That wasn’t the experience of police officer Wilbur Williams.
I’m middle aged—in my 50s—but was diagnosed with genetic emphysema in my late 30s. Alabama is not where someone like me wants to be right now.
For a moment, it seemed like the discovery of the ship’s wreckage and a lawsuit for environmental damages might bring some overdue recognition and justice. Then the moment passed.
Mobilians always thought: We’re not Selma; we’re better than that. Well, yes—and no. And there’s a new determination to make sure people acknowledge the “no” part.