I've tried to stay away from race in New Orleans as everybody else has. That I think is the problem. Everyone wants to slide by. Nobody wants to make waves. Nobody wants to create a problem.
Everyone should watch the Star Trek episode 70 "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". Which side are you on?
It seriously reflects on our situation in New Orleans (As an aside one of the characters is named Lokai).
Bele and Lokai
In New Orleans there are three races. They are the Whites, the Blacks and the Politicians.
For at least 140 years, probably longer, the Politicians have played the Whites and the Blacks against each other to maintain power. Politicians may have changed complexion but that is mere substitution. The game remains. The people both Black and White are being fleeced by the Politicians.
Martin Luther King famously said;
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.Why have his successors forgotten this simple measure, to look beyond a persons skin and look, as well as you can, into their character? I have always believed that you should always credit the other person with honest motives and if you disagree, as honest people can, attack the validity of their views, not the person.
Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C., on August 28, 1963.
I also believe that you should not be stupid. As Peter Finley Dunn said;
Trust everybody, but [always] cut the cards.I am disappointed to observe that we seldom have real debates in our political system any more. We now have contests where no advantage is too small and no trick is too dirty. The only discussion is how much money to this or that group, not what to do with the money. The personal has displaced the principle. Spoils have displaced ideas.
Later, as Dr. King moved from racial equity to economic equity as his primary focus he said;
If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.If someone wants to become Politician, why should that person not strive to fulfill the responsibilities of the office as well as they can? Why should any Politician seek personal aggrandizement at the expense of their constituents.
Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967.
The voters have been played time and time again. Clarence Ray Nagin was sold as "the best possible alternate", all of the Whites voted for him. After his first term he became the savior of the Blacks, all of the Blacks voted for him. As far as I can tell Clarence has been looking for his next gig ever since he was re-elected.
Demographics dictated that Harry Connick would be replaced by a Black DA, predictably we got a member of the Third Race, an incompetent attorney, a Politician hand picked by a corrupt machine.
I'm not a native of New Orleans, although I've lived here more than thirty years, far longer than I've lived anywhere else. LOnger than most voters. I don't understand why the Blacks and the Whites who share so much can't bridge the gap and make this city what it aught to be.
I've never understood why the hordes of Politicians here seem to have so much influence. I can only conclude there is a cult of personality and power which leads people to seek the favor of politicians when it should not be necessary. A cult of power where politicians seek control beyond their normal sphere.
I think a lot of it is sham. It's the Soprano method, you take advantage of people by intimidation and innuendo. Seldom do they need to actually do anything, just give the impression of doing something and occasionally giving an object lesson.
I lived in New Orleans while the City developed a corpus of Moratorium Law, more that 200 specific moratoriums on all manner of endeavors that required the supplicants to appear before the political potentates and offer up sacrifices. I can remember several telling incidents.
I can clearly recall a former city councilman berating supplicants for "not coming around to see him", before the council meeting. Why that should have been necessary is beyond me. I can recall political coronations as well known and well connected members of the elite were granted special favors. The whole process was unseemly, distasteful and on TV.
The Blacks seem to have been convinced they need protection from the Whites. That any attack on any Black is an attack on all, regardless of the validity of the charge. Racial solidarity is more important than Truth.
Yet I look around and there is no dearth of Black people in power in New Orleans. Either all public officials are race traitors or they are the tools of the White establishment. How else can you explain the need for protection?
One possible explanation is the the Politicians have a finely tuned ability to manipulate their constituents emotions for their personal benefit, much like sexual predators.
The same game was played with Whites in the fifties and sixties. Apparently some Whites still blame Moon Landrieu for bowing to the forces of demographics. They must be idiots not to have seen it coming and even more stupid not to have reconciled themselves to the demographic reality. The Isle of Denial has serious meaning.
When will the current power structure in New Orleans take some responsibility to cleanse itself?
If you look at the failed institutions in New Orleans from Public Housing to Public Schools to Criminal Justice there is no lack of Black people in charge, yet there are precious few Black officials willing to stand up and call a spade a spade.
I just want to be a New Orleanian.