If you watch CBS’s Survivor (if you don’t, just Google it), there are 2 names that are causing much heated discussion and controversy that are being talked about every where it seems.  If you say, Colton Cumbie, you’d be correct. While some people believe any publicity is good publicity, I can’t help but wonder what some of the city officials and prominent people in Monroeville have to say about the native who’s representing the city of Monroeville…and not in the best way.

Cumbie, a gay youth, who grew up in Monroeville, AL has unleashed some comments that have people all over cringing and couldn’t come at a greater time to be honest. Candidly he speaks very ignorantly about  a black contestant, calling him “Ghetto trash” because of his decision to pursue his passion for comedy, as well as his address of a question about him having any black people in his life, his reply was “His maid”.  The irony is that his being vocal about his feelings, which clearly are a result of his upbringings and his attending an “All White” private school, comes prior to a huge symposium being hosted in Monroeville on March 15-16 to discuss partnerships with China. The symposium will be involve some of the world’s most prominent business owners from all over the world.

However, that’s incredibly funny that in a town where diversity isn’t appreciated and blatantly disrespected amongst most of the wealthiest in the community, they want to hold this forum to talk about building a relationship with China. It would seem to me if you can’t accept nor want to get a better understanding of the blacks in the community, what makes them think they’ll be more successful at building relationships with the Chinese?

While I saw many people who were angry over what Cumbie’s views are, I’m not surprised and actually welcome the attention. Because I do think it needs to be addressed. Monroeville’s always been notorious for hiding things under the rug, all the while continuing it’s reputation as a modern day Payton’s Place. The racial tension here is very thick, and I have to believe that the celebration of  Harper Lee’s one and only novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a big contributor to it. For those who have read it and/or saw the movie, you’ll understand why. And the coverup continues, depending on which side of the color line you reside.

I’ve never been one for playing the race card. I am by a number of people’s standards in both the black and white communities fairly conservative. But I believe in calling a spade a spade. Racism exists pretty heavy in this area and someone needs to be willing to admit that it is indeed a key reason for why industry may/may not be interested in locating their businesses here. I seriously think they need to diligently seek to resolve some of the tension, or I don’t see much economic growth for the town itself in the future.

In the county of Monroe Alabama, you have only 1 private school, which is “100% white”, which is the one that Cumbie attended. If you are only exposed to white people and the only television news station you watch is FOX news. You’re sure to have distorted views about black people. The sad thing is when they have to go out into the real world and interact with those very people they tried so hard to avoid. Sidenote: I actually read a comment from one of his supporters stating that she enrolled her children in the private school to avoid the black impact on them:(  (Check out this link:

Really??? But this person isn’t alone.

Unfortunately in December, I attended a forum to discuss ways to resolve the issues in Monroe County. Unfortunately, in a room of 30 people, only 5 were black. And the people were in total denial about the state of our community. They tried to paint a picture that all was roses. But what does it say that the one private school is busting out the seams with the white people trying to get their children in. While the public school system has become heavily populated with black children, although blacks only account for about 39% of the Monroe County population? The sad part about the discussion was when one of the “prominent white males” in the community approached me after the forum to let me know that I was “A different type of black person” based off of the way I spoke and my views on the problems they deemed as “black issues”.

The male assumed that he was giving me a compliment. But when I encouraged him to expand his horizons and get to know more than what he’s exposed to thru the commentaries of “Bill O’Reilley”, he told me that I was jaded and out of touch with reality. He told me that I was the exception of black people, not the rule. Both of my fathers were in me that night. My Heavenly Father told me to pray for him, while the words of my earthly father (who fully experienced the civil rights era) rang true. My dad used to tell me that when someone shows you who they are that you should thank them. Because that way you know for certain who they are, where they are, where they stand and you don’t have to wonder. He spoke about the fact that they used to see openly clan members back in the day. He was appreciative, because he was always on guard and knew who the enemies were.

So in some crazy way, I think we owe Colton a big “Thank You” for showing black people where we stand with him. Hopefully, he won’t have to depend on those very black people for anything in the future. And he can live happily ever after in his lily white world.

Tanisha’s Savvy Two Cents



    • Thank you, Mrs. Blanche. It was how I was feeling and have been feeling for a while. God gave me a voice and expects me to use it appropriately. I appreciate the comment.

  1. Id like to start off by asking who do you think you are to talk bad about Monroeville have you lived your entire life here? Do you have family here? Do you know how the public schools are with the gangs (yes i understand they are everywhere) but in a small town as this it is very intimidating for teenagers and children i do not blame parents for wanting to send their students to a school where their education comes first and they dont have to worry about their children having their lunch money stolen from them. I am from Monroeville I also am absolutely not a racist i have many friends who are african americans. But i do understand how the public school system was when i was in school and how it is now. It has completely changed things we didnt worry about 4 years ago these kids face every single day my brother has been a victim of these gangs in the public schools stealing his money picking on him etc it is very wrong. Is also very wrong of you to talk about My town like that saying we only have one television channel you make it seem like we are nothing but a bunch of back woods rednecks well i can assure you we are not. And neither is Colton I know him personally went to PUBLIC school with him before he transfered to Monroe Academy because of being picked on for being gay and let me tell you one thing Colton Cumbie is not racist he is one of the most caring people I know he would give you the shirt off of his back. He was involved in many charity and communtiy service projects in the county where I am almost certain there may have been 1 or 2 african american “children” show up to help out. But we are supposto get to know afterican americans and help them in any way we can why should we? it seems the african american children today in monroe county dont care about our community what condition it is in or anything to make it a place to be proud to say we are from. My question to you is why should we expose ourselves and our children to the violence that in majority they are bringing to our public schools and our community? Another thing we dont “try” to avoid african americans. we get along and coexist and interact with them just fine, as i mentioned earlier i have many african american friends to this day whom i speak to nearly on a daily basis! It is appalling to me that you look down on us because we want to protect our children. and that you think we are a bunch of red neck hicks because we live in a small town shame on you.

    • Heather,
      Thank you for coming to my post and leaving your comment. I am a resident who was born and raised here. Additionally, I attended school here, as well as a majority of my family is here.
      My post was merely to raise and awareness and open up dialogue about the racial tension that does exist. I don’t know if you’re active in the community. But I am and have been for the last several years. I’ve sat thru a number of events and forums that resulted in sweeping the issue under the rug. I never stated in my post that all the white people in Monroeville were rednecks and as you stated “only have one television channel”. But what I did say is that you have to be willing to be a part of the solution and “segregation” isn’t going to make it go away.

    • So the poor public school teaches how to write a readable essay and your parents paid for you to make the cluster junk .
      I wasn’t going to post Tanisha until I saw how you are getting responded to.
      And to let you know this is written by a 50 year old that went to public school in Uniontown . The private school snobs did not like us either

  2. You honestly know nothing about the children that attend Monroe Academy or Colton Cumbie. Most of the children that attend the private school do so because their parents want them to get the best education they can. I do agree that there are parents who put their children in the school because of race but with most of the parents that isn’t the case. In the City of Monroeville the schools are not very good and not everyone can live in Excel and Uriah, there is nothing wrong with a parent wanting the best for their child. I’m from Monroeville and personally know two prominant black people in the town that have told me to my face if they could get their children in the school they would. And that would be fine with me. If the subject every comes to vote at the school I will vote to allow anyone who wants to and can keep their grades up to attend. My daughter attends MA but she’s isn’t a racist, she actually has black friends and three black cousins.
    I do agree that what he said wasn’t right, but do we actually know the whole story? A show is cut and edited and the producers air it they way they want too. If you had looked into this more before posting you would know that Bill has stated that he isn’t made at Colton, that he is just young. Don’t you think if he actually took everything that was said to heart he wouldn’t have stated that and he would have had terrible things to say about Colton.
    Now as a resident of Monroeville I was embarrassed by his comments but I took a moment to think about it and it is a show, a reality show with producers that love high ratings, the whole show could be rigged, we don’t know – only Colton, Bill and the people on Survivor know for sure. But I do find it hard to believe that Bill would have anything nice to say to Colton if those words had actually been his words, don’t you! Colton has also said that he and Bill still talk!
    I also attend a lot of meetings and forums in Monroeville and you are right there are not a lot of blacks attending, that’s their choice, and no one else’s fault. I attended the chamber banquet last night and their was only a hand full of blacks there. They are as welcome to attend the meetings as anyone else is, but in most cases, they just don’t care enough too and then they play the race card when something doesn’t go their way. If you are a white person living in Monroeville you know that a majority of the blacks are highly racists and feel like everyone owes them something. I do wish that both, the blacks and whites, could get past the issue and then maybe Monroeville would strive.
    The symposium next week could be a great thing for Monroeville and Monroe County and saying that the people of Monroeville won’t be able to build a relationship with the Chinese because they haven’t with the blacks is way out of line. Building a relation is a two way street and that would take both parties to make that happen, it will be the same way with the Chinese, the blacks and whites are both going to have to build that relationship with them, not just the whites.
    Saying the whites aren’t trying to understand the blacks is racist within it’s self.

    • Lynn,
      First let me say that I appreciate your taking the time to comment on this post. Secondly, I didn’t say that every child that goes to MA is racist. But what I did post was only one of the experiences I’ve had with white parents who do and/or have sent their children there to avoid the influence of blacks on them. You’re right. I don’t know many of the children at MA presently. However, I’m well acquainted with many of their parents and I have a couple of friends (they’ve been to my house and I’ve been to theirs) who did attend there, as well. They understand the purpose of my post and aren’t offended by it in the least.
      I didn’t have the opportunity to attend the chamber banquet, as unfortunately the invitation wasn’t extended to us this year. However, if you read my post, I don’t hate Colton nor am I angered by his actions/words. Because it’s causing people to speak about a huge elephant in the town that this very December at a Community Foundation forum, was admitted as needing to be resolved.
      It is my hope that we do work to get a better understanding of one another, so that we won’t need a segregated private school in our town at all.

      • The chamber banquet was open to anyone, there is or was a large sign above the resource center by the Cannon announcing the banquet and the cost to attend. They did not send invitations to everyone that was there, it was a choice to attend. And I agree I do hope that one day everyone will understand one another but that has to happen from everyone. The blacks need to learn to understand the whites as much as the whites need to understand the blacks.

      • Lynn,
        I agree that it takes both efforts. But you can’t truly have nor gain a proper understanding without interaction…and that isn’t possible with segregation….

    • Lynn, since you use it as a supporting point in your argument that your private school does not discriminate, why couldn’t those two prominent “black people” get their children into your town’s private school? I mean, since they would have if they could. I have to say that a 100% white school is odd even in Sweden.

  3. Is the private school (which is Monroe Acadamy an “All White private school”…”100% white” by requirement or by choice? I was looking at their site for admission requirements, wondering if being white is one of them, but I don’t see a lits of requirements? Do black families have the option to enroll their chilren in MA or do they choose not to? Just curious.

  4. I assume that came from Lynn’s comment: “If the subject every comes to vote at the school I will vote to allow anyone who wants to and can keep their grades up to attend.” But I wonder if that is just an assumption or hearsay (Lynn, please explain). I’m curious as to MA’s official stand on “selective admissions”; what their laws/bylaws says as the admittance. Can private schools discriminate based on race? This is where I think it becomes tricky. Private schools with 15+ employees are covered by Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act which forbids discrimination based on race. However, religious schools are exempted from the requirements of Title 7. How this
    becomes tricky is that many private schools include “Christian” somewhere (MA includes it in their mission statement: “Monroe Academy is committed to excellence in education in a Christian environment…”). But if MA receives any federal funding then they are not exempt. If they are acting outside of the law then formal complaints should be made. I agree with alot that you’ve said…”Racism exists pretty heavy in this area…” but it also goes both ways. White folks experience racism these days too. I am from Monroe County. I am a white woman with a black husband & bi-racial kids. I, personally, have experienced racism from both white folks & black folks but I have received the most from black folks (directly & indirctly). Bottom line is that ignorance & fear cause people to say & do crazy things. People are afriad of what they don’t know. I’m sorry for carrying on so long on your post, lol…but this is a topic close to home & I can see it from both sides. I can’t assume that every parent/student at MA is racist because I don’t know them or their motives for going. But I feel quite strongly that not all white folks in Monroeville are racist no more than all black folks there are ignorant. “Can’t we all just get along?” (in my Rodney King voice), lol.

    • Jassie,
      I understand and appreciate your comments. In the past they have not received any federal funding, unless they have done so within the last couple of years. However, it will take both parties willing to be inclusive, instead of exclusive to clearly get to the root of the issue.
      I’m not implying that any one who attends MA is automatically racist. But the fact remains that if you don’t formally educate yourself on what’s different from you, you will naturally feel a certain bias, that doesn’t always equate to what’s right.
      And on my facebook post, a recent graduate of MA said that they were taught that what’s different is bad. I didn’t say that…the young lady did.
      The problem is if people keep the barrier up, how can you truly get to know someone. I’ve been exposed to both sides. And I don’t pretend to know all there is to know about white people. But I will say in the last several years that I’ve tried to get involved in the community, there’s been a wall up. So you can’t get an understanding why, if they don’t let you in to explain nor see your point of view.

  5. Thank you Tanisha for enlightening us on the ongoing Social Darwinism in Monroe County, AL. With hate groups on the rise, up 733% in the last 3 years, I can see no prospect for racial peace in the US in the future. And judging from some of the reply’s, it also seems that there is a willful ignorance in your community. That, to me, is inexcusable. And all of you who defend bigots like Colton should be ashamed of yourself. How can you think that God will take you home if your heart is filled with hate?

    • Thanks for your comments, Niall. It’s unfortunate that hate groups are on the rise. And I do believe everything is cyclical. But I’m optimistic. I think things will get better. It’s just going to take the likes of you, me and countless others who are willing to speak openly and candidly about the issues and work together to get to the root of the problems.

  6. Wow, hmmm…I don’t even know how to respond to some of the things posted. What I do want to say is, thank you for an informative post. I experienced several different emotions while reading it and the comments. Anger, deep sadness, pity and pride. I was angry with alot of things, but i wanted to touch on a particular response ” But I do find it hard to believe that Bill would have anything nice to say to Colton if those words had actually been his words, don’t you!” How Bill responded is called class. Its a reflection on how he was raised in that “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” That doesn’t mean that he understood where Colton was coming from, or understood that he was just being a character in the game. I was sad, when it was brought up that some people felt the need to protect themselves from “us.” Then I felt pity upon those people that have to live in a state of fear. In the end I felt proud, that we could discuss this civilly (for the most part) without venomous tongues.

    • Thanks Naomi,
      I appreciate your comments. It is quite sad that after all the years after the civil rights movement, we still have these issues. We’ve come a little way, but we’re not there yet. However, I do hope that we use these incidents as teachable moments and time for reflection. Because in the end, if you’re goal is to make it to heaven…you’d best learn how to live here on earth together first. There’s no segregation there either.

  7. Old Colton made me ashamed to be a white southerner. He is the product on his environment all right, but he’s damned lucky he wasn’t born 40 years earlier when fags were not tolerated at all, even if they were the sons of wealthy, fat, white republicans.

    He will get his in the end. And in my opinion it will not happen soon enough.

  8. I tried to stay away from this page because I get so upset about all the racist stuff. I was listening to the Steve Harvey show and they did a little research on that bumper sticker (I’m sure everyone has seen it) and only to find out it was started in Alabama. Why was I not suprised? If they have so much hate for us this is the perfect day to go back with the people here from China and leave us alone. Little do they know, it is some of us that feel the same way about them that they feel about us. I’m not where I need to be yet. I wonder if their Bible reads the same as ours or if they think it’s a BLACK and a WHITE heaven?

  9. All I can say is anywhere that segregation is practiced there is NO hope of ever getting to the roots of race issues in this Country. I live in the North and can’t believe this stuff is happening in the year 2012!

    I have friends from all walks of life here and immigrants from different Countries around the World. Diversity is the only cure for ignorance…

  10. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if we could all switch races one day as easily as the Survivor members switched tribes….just long enough for all of us to learn some new perspectives.

    In my opinion, the best learning comes when we are humble and the best lesson that Colton could learn would be that of humility.

    My 2 cents from Canada.

    • That would be great, Stephen! But since we don’t have that ability. We should work to get to know the other races and a better understanding of them and their situations. I think it’s more about the individual, as opposed to putting everyone into one category. Thanks for the comment.

  11. My 17 year old son attends a private school in the same athletic league as Monroe Academy (we’re African American BTW) and when I asked him without any background as to my reading this blog what’s the most racist school you all have played, he immediately responded Monroe. As a parent was I disrespected when visiting for sporting events – No. But did I feel welcome – absolutely not. And before someone replies that opposing teams aren’t necessarily welcome, there’s a difference between being a rival and being looked down upon. In conversations with blacks from the area who attend for the joy of seeing other blacks on a field where they aren’t allowed (or accepted), there is a definitely a line drawn in the area. Is it because of race or socioeconomic status. That remains to be seen. I do know that growing up in a small town in Alabama doesn’t automatically make you either racist or elitist (I grew up in Marengo), but growing up in a home where it is regularly believed and spoken does.

    • Wow, I thank you for sharing your story. You’ve provided a side of the situation that I honestly never even considered. It’s definitely something that people need to look with clear eyes about.

  12. What Im trying to figure out is how can a gay man who is considered to be a “minority” and took a hand out from black woman on the show had the nerve to even say what he did on the show. I blame CBS as well, pawning for much needed ratings. It just goes to show you that class ism along with racism still does exist in the US, Im glad that he chose to speak his mind, and truth be shown to millions around the world that racism does exist even with a BLACK PRESIDENT.

    • It seems that gaining a Black President is what brought the racism out more passionately. People can only mask who they really are for so long. What I see is that the freedoms we thought we had gained were really sort of an illusion to pacify the black community. And Pres. Obama in office was the fuse that popped the top. Thanks for your comment!

      • I totally agree Tanisha. If you really look at it the only reason why Obama even got in office is a much needed face lift that the US needed after 8 years of Bush. We can all see black or white left or right how thats going. AT the end of the day its about us coming together as one to bring the much needed change that needs to happen. The individuals who really run the system want us against each other and have for many years and want the divide and conquer theme to continue.

        Thanks again Tanisha for your candid and thorough analysis on this.

      • Thank you for taking the time to comment. Unfortunately, it is still an issue that people still refuse to see and address. It’s not going away. So, I’m using this method and others to bring awareness and hopefully we can all learn to live in harmony.

  13. The wonderful thing about racism is that it can be unlearned. So although people can be unmasked for who they are, they can also change…..even Colton.

    BTW….I’m looking forward to my trip to Florida next month. Its been 15 years since I last ventured down south. As a biracial young man I had some interesting experiences in South Carolina way back in 1997. On one occasion, the waitress served my white friend but refused to take my order. I dug in until I got served. I later drew the line on a club where I felt uncomfortable…countless number of Confederate flags hanging and a sea of white faces.

    In Canada, you can be comfortable almost everywhere even if you are the only non-white. With immigration this is becoming rarer though as our communities are increasingly becoming more racially diverse.

    Tanisha, Thank you for providing an opportunity for engaged discussion. Keep up the good work, eh!


  14. I grew up in m’ville and went to the same school as Colton. While I loved my childhood, ignorance is one of the biggest problems in this town. It not only rings true for the white community, but in the black community as well. Terribly sad. Luckily, I am one of the fortunate ones who left after high school to learn there is a better life and thinking of coexisting in all worlds. Incredibly beautiful!!!!

    • PS. MA does allow anyone to go to the school whether they are black, white, Asian, etc., as long as they can provide the tuition. It’s just that no other race has chosen to go. Remember, the town has become very depressed from factories and mills closing, so there is not much opportunity in this community for other races to exist. I am proud to have gone to this school, so please understand, it is not the school one should be upset by, but the county as a whole.

      • Andrea,
        I appreciate your comment. I’m not blaming the school. But indeed it’s the people. However, I’m baffled at how blacks are supposedly accepted there. Yet, I do know of several blacks who have the money, who have stated that they are waiting for the approval of blacks to be admitted to be brought into play. And I also saw another lady who responded to my post, say that it would have to be brought before a committee to be accepted.

        Once again, I thank you for your comment. And I do agree it should be a county effort.

  15. Colton will regret his disgusting racist behavior on Survivor when he looks at the tapes in a few years.

    This outrageous behavior from an admitted homosexual is unbelievable and absolutely out of place. How embarrassing for him.

    We are all Gods children and as Americans we should be ashamed of attitudes like his.

    I live in central Florida and racism exists in its purest form here.

    I cannot believe in a modern society such as ours people are still judging complete strangers based on skin color alone.

    I am white and I like black people. I actually think black people are cooler than any white racist will ever be.

    It works both ways though. Many blacks don’t like whites. The only difference is black people have a reason to not like whites: slavery. What is the white man’s excuse for hatred? One word- ignorance.

    It’s time to move on and let these racist pigs die off. Eventually we will all come together as one. Like on Star Trek.

    You are a very intelligent woman and I admire and respect your opinions.

    You are beyond your years in intelligence and tolerance, and your writings are helpIng people open their eyes to the issues of racism.

    Eventually racism will disappear and future generations will figure out we are all in this together.

    God bless you. Much success to you.

    Matthew Lind

    • Wow, thanks so much Matthew for those kind words. I really appreciate them. I’m indeed optimistic that we will one day come to realize that if we can’t live in harmony with each other here on earth…there’s very little hope we make it to heaven:) God bless you too!

  16. This is so true of our area. Ignorance is rampant here. I am a person of color and did attend MA but there is a racial divide in this part of the country. The media calls our times “post-racial america” but many of us know better than that. Keep the discussion going Tanisha… progress depends on it.

    • Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with me. Indeed, not talking and getting to the root of the issue, only prolongs the issue from getting resolved even more. I appreciate the comment.

  17. Wow, so – I just found this post and first off thanks TRankins! Your ability to express your POV effectively without reducing the candor and integrity of your post is what opens true dialogue. Keep doing ya thang!

    Now that we got that out of the way, I honestly can care less about what the cubiie whoever comment. 2 words, SHOCK VALUE!!

    Let’s talk about something that plagues black and white alike in Monroeville,
    MONROEVILLE SUCKS…………….. maybe suck is too crass a word, so how about – Monroeville is in such economic disarray WE CAN NOT AFFORD TO BE DIVIDED ANY LONGER!!! There are so many people that commute to Mobile and Montgomery that there is traffic now. The youth leave and can’t return because there is nothing to return to and the crime is going through the roof. People are robbing and vandalizing churches!! We take our money out of town to shop because of lack of product and variety. Our entertainment dollars go to the “bingo”or greenville when we don’t want to drive an hour to Mobile,PCola or Montgomery. We don’t have decent restaurants to accomodate tourists. After 9pm what is there to do? You can only go to Walmart so many times. Our youth have no real social outlets. AND WILL YOU NOSY PEOPLE PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR SCANNERS AND GET A LIFE!! The only thing to do is Get Jesus, Get Drunk, or Get Knocked up ( yes horribly put, but nevertheless true) – Good Jobs have dried up (40k -50k+) and people are losing there businesses left and right.
    I am behind black and white alike in Walmart and Winn Dixie using their EBT cards. A dialogue about race is an important topic but in Monroeville we need to truly look at the bigger issue. Bring jobs back to the city!!

    • Sorry I didn’t see your comment sooner. Yes, I understand your frustration. However, I have read that the MMCEDA is aiding in getting more retail businesses next to the new Wal-Mart center, and it should include a major sit-down restaurant. Maybe these are signs that the economy may be strengthening for Monroeville. Thanks for your comment.

  18. Colton is a product of his environment. This is the south and there are a lot of racist people lurking everywhere. The only way you can smother racism is being educated and praying to Jesus Christ our Savior.

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