I live in Baton Rouge. I am a transplant, but I consider it my home. I had to get off of social media last night because I didn’t have adequate words to describe my thoughts about what is happening in my town. Our town. Even if you don’t live here.
Last Thursday, before any of this happened, I had a conversation with my oldest about white privilege, specifically white male privilege. It’s a conversation I have frequently with our sons, because I refuse to raise assholes.
I got off of social media last night and had a conversation with both boys about what is going on. I told them about my friends that I love and respect worry that their boys won’t come home one day and that this is a real fear. My heart aches for them. My heart aches for Alton Sterling’s children and that they will never be able to open a computer without the fear of seeing the videos of their father being killed. My heart aches for Alton Sterling’s aunt who has raised him and has watched her greatest fear play out in real time. My heart aches for our city.
I am also appalled at the racist underbelly of OUR TOWN that has come out in droves in the comment sections of our local news. APPALLED. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
The way it works for me when I write is usually something percolates in my brain and then I sleep on it. Then the words come together. I went to bed last night with a storm of thoughts of all of my friends who had to have conversations with their sons about how to act around police, and even as I type this the next morning, it brings tears to my eyes. I know a very tiny fraction of this fear, because I worry about how my sons might react since they are autistic when put in a situation without me present to keep them from acting out. This is a TINY gnawing fear, minuscule in comparison to the GIANT looming fear my friends went to bed with last night. It brings tears to my eyes to know that they fear that one day they, too, will watch their son’s death play out on the national stage.
Last year, I wrote this piece around the time of the Baltimore riots. It’s not enough for what is happening in our town, but it adequately sums up my thoughts on acknowledging race relations in our town. I moved to Louisiana with my family in the 80’s. I swore growing up I would leave the state and then I fell in love with the state. I love the people, the food, the outdoors and everything that makes it Louisiana. I do not love the racist underbelly. I actively choose not to associate with people like that, but I know they exist and it is my biggest disappointment in our state. My biggest pride is watching our state come together in a time of crisis, as it has done so many times before. I am hopeful I will watch that happen again and people’s hearts will be changed. This is a parenting issue and needs to happen for the sake of our children and the next generation.
I will speak up for injustice and raise the next generation to do differently. It’s my responsibility, and yours, too.
Read the post I wrote last year about race here: Let’s Talk About Race