My Experience in Racist South Carolina

South Carolina isn’t really a state many people in St. Louis think of that often. It wasn’t until I moved to New York that I encountered a lot of people from that state.  Just as you’ll find a lot of families in St. Louis with roots in Mississippi due to the Great Migration you’ll find a lot of African-American families in NYC with roots in the Carolinas. 

One of the results of gentrification in New York has been an exodus of African-American Muslims to the south.  The primary destinations are Georgia and the Carolinas.  Egyptian-American sheikh Muhammad Syed Adly left New York and in the 1990’s led a thriving predominantly African-American congregation in Columbia,  SC. Even before that the Muslims of the Americas jamaat purchased land in York County,  SC to establish a Muslim village.  The majority of the inhabitants of the Muslim village came from New York and other parts of the northeast. 

A few years back I traveled to York County,  SC for Eid al-Fitr. I had a wonderful time with the Muslim community and enjoyed myself at a halal restaurant in Rock Hill, SC. That night while visiting the Muslim village a pickup truck came speeding onto the property.  It was full of short haired white guys yelling out “come on Niggers”. That led to a brief car chase between the Muslim brothers and the white guys.

At my hotel that night (at a time when Facebook searches and privacy tended to be much lower) I found the profile of a white guy who said he “played Islamville”. As evidence to having played this game the guy showed the Islamville community sign he’d stolen. I forwarded the information to community security. 

The guy who stole the sign wasn’t a fringe-figure or a lost kid. He was a college educated adult employed at the YMCA at that time.

On my next trip to South Carolina I got some film developed at Walgreens.  The film was of my time in the Muslim community.  When I went to pickup my film the feds where there waiting on me. Your average Joe South Carolina redneck could’ve had photos chillin next to an atomic bomb and not got harassed!

To say the least my experience in South Carolina outside of the Muslim community wasn’t positive. I’m sure there are good friendly white South Carolina folk who just wanna eat their Bojangles and drink their Cheerwine I just didn’t meet to many of them….and Lindsey Graham isn’t helping their reputation.


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