I love Baton Rouge.
I’ve lived in this city since 1991 and have never left. Baton Rouge is to New Orleans as Long Island is to New York City. We’re an hour away from a big bright city that everyone loves but we’d rather our “small town” feel. It’s the city of the LSU Tigers, good food, the state capital…
But it’s also one of the most racially divided cities in the south.
Baton Rouge is 40% white, 54% black and 6% miscellaneous minority. When I was a teenager I was instructed “don’t go North of Florida Blvd.” Private schools are predominantly white and public schools black. Housing laws, education system, even public transportation favor the white (rich) and not the black (poor). It’s a city divided.
The video of the Alton Sterling shooting has put a spot light on our community. First, because an injustice has been done (that was finally caught on camera.) And second, because the many of us know that it won’t get the proper treatment it deserves. Louisiana literally protects our police from hate-crimes.
Now, the same people justifying Alton Sterling’s death spouting “But he had a gun in his pocket!” are the same people who defended concealed carry less than a month ago. We’re quick to defend the police department for not releasing their body camera videos because they “were dangling.” But we don’t trust the video we have or any witness statements. The bigotry is palpable.
Not much has changed in the south since the Segregation days. White people want black people to “stay on their side of the town.” Unarmed. And to be quiet. The divide grows stronger.