November 23. 2007, 2:50PM
Response should attack the problem
“Why do you live here? I never dreamed racism and discrimination thrive like they do here!”
That statement was said to me last summer by a middle-aged white man from Wisconsin who had spent a month in south Louisiana volunteering in the Katrina cleanup effort.
When I told him it’s because it doesn’t snow, he gave me the same doleful look I get from my Ohio grandmother when I give her that answer.
The bayou region has experienced three highly publicized race-related occurrences in the last month.
They were answered by overreaction, shrill grandstanding and thoughtless predictions.
The opportunity has not been taken to open dialogue and improve understanding, but it still can be done.
The question is: Who has the standing, the courage and the initiative?
In the nine years I’ve lived in south Louisiana (eight snowless!), the same racial problems and discriminatory situations re-occur, and they are answered by the same ostrich or fireworks approaches: either by ignoring them or with a bright blast of grandstanding that has no lasting effects.
No politician, minister, businessperson or civic organization has shown the
courage or leadership in racial understanding and harmony.
Harriet Tubman was presented with an award for freeing thousands of blacks from
In accepting the award, she said she could have freed thousands more if only they
had realized they were slaves.
So maybe that is the problem, no one realizes the depth of the racism and
discrimination that exist here.
Here’s a recent example.
The black state president of the Louisiana branch of the NAACP predicted race riots
will occur in Louisiana within a year.
Not a word of caution, protest or indignation was said by any white or black politician, minister or civic organization. If that incendiary prediction of violence was made by a white person in an equal position, all hell would have been raised.
When all people aren’t held to the same standard of reasonable responsibility,
that’s discrimination, and all people suffer.
Let the dialogues begin (and give me the microphone)!