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The NAACP is recommending that people of color take extra care when traveling in and through Missouri due to a troubling piece of new legislation.
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Missouri’s NAACP has warned travelers to exercise “extreme caution” because they could be vulnerable to “discrimination and harassment” under a recently signed bill. According to CBS, Missouri’s Gov. Eric Greitens signed a bill into law, which will require alleged victims of discrimination to prove that race, religion, or gender contributed to any injustice they face in a given situation.
As Nimrod Chapel Jr., president of Missouri’s NAACP, told CBS, “They’re legalizing discrimination in the state of Missouri.” He calls the new law “The Jim Crow Bill” because “in the eyes of the NAACP that’s what it was breathing life into.”
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The law will take effect later this month, and Chapel believes that it puts undue burden on prospective victims because racially, religiously, and gender motivated bias are incredibly tough to prove.
“You would think that the best evidence would be, like, a memo. ‘We discriminated against so-and-so because of who they are.’ Nobody writes memos, or when they do it so rare,” he explained, “and then getting that kind of evidence can be very, very difficult.”
A woman named Pat Rowe would be one such victim. She sued the state in 2010, claiming that she had been subjected to sex and age discrimination. Last year, she won $3 million in her case. While a jury sided with her in her case, Pat is concerned that this new law could make it harder for victims to file their complaints. She told CBS that she also believes the legislation “is just another example of not being progressive.”
She’s unclear on what would have motivated lawmakers to sign such a bill, questioning, “If we want to be a progressive Missouri, why are we going backwards?””
Gov. Greitens, for his part, pointed out that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission uses the “motivating standard.” However, the NAACP has pledged to continue issuing travel advisories.