The Spanish Town parade in downtown Baton Rouge is known to be one of the most offensive parade’s in the state. It seems they pride themselves on going too far. This year is no exception, but enough is enough. Eric Garner and Freddie Gray, two black men killed by police, were used as satire in the parade this year. The truth is, nothing AT ALL is funny about unarmed men being killed by police.
Now before I go any deeper, to all those who want to defend this garbage, you are a part of the problem. We are not whining victims of racism, we are fed up CITIZENS of this city, state, and country. This isn’t playing the race card, it’s stating the truth of how black people feel when blatant racism is on display in the streets of our city. A city where even the poorest citizen pays into the tax system, when they make purchases around this parish.
After reading a post on ColoredSouthern.com by Shelley Moore, I knew something needed to be said. According to Moore, “One float depicted a flamingo with a sign around his neck with the words “I Can’t Breathe” emblazoned across it. Another mocked police brutality victim Freddie Gray by including him in a list as “Freddie Grey Goose.” What is funny about a man being choked to death by the police? Where is the humor in a man being placed in the back of a police vehicle and thrown around so violently that his spine was almost severed?”
Moore asked a perfect question. This is the type of racist trash that comes out every year around Mardi Gras – its cast off as satire and the black community is called “sensitive” or told we are “playing the race card” when we address it. No, it’s racist hatred and it’s not funny.
There were floats that mocked the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, with #PinkLivesMatter, and whites are already out saying that their goal is to be equally offensive to everyone. Well there is a difference in making fun of a senator who slept with prostitutes and dead bodies in the street. Would it be funny if they mocked dead American soldiers? No. It would be called un-American, and disgusting. It would be national news and those who spoke out against it would be considered fighting for the right cause, because our soldiers protect and defend the flag. All of which would be true, and is true about the #BlackLivesMatter Movement being mocked, because the movement is to make America live up to the words of its constitution and declaration of independence.
Baton Rouge has such a long way to go, and it’s proven by the “satire” of the Spanish Town parade. It’s also proven by the lack of medical facilities and economic development in north Baton Rouge which is mostly black, or the median income of blacks in Baton Rouge – $39,000 for blacks and $90,000 for whites, it’s proven in so many ways, but it is mocked at the Spanish Town parade.
At some point we need to have a real conversation on race in Baton Rouge, one that is led by blacks with white participation. Why? Because as a father, I haven’t taken my 6-year-old little girl to a parade this year because I don’t want to explain to her why the white people are walking around with a flag that isn’t the American flag. I don’t want to tell her at 6 years old that racism is alive in Baton Rouge and that some people think it’s funny to make fun of dead black men, because when she looks at me, her father, I’m a black man…and then my little 6-year-old daughter will wonder if her daddy is a target.
I don’t expect white people to always understand why we get offended on certain issues, but this one is a no brainer. This one is too much. The truth is Baton Rouge isn’t a progressive town. Our metro council has 7 white men, because the lines are drawn to make it almost impossible for blacks to win in certain districts, which also shows the segregation of our city. Our mayor is NEVER vocal about racial issues, because he was purchased by the white business community. You see, Baton Rouge has figured out how to hire just enough black people to keep our leaders silent, how to include just enough black people in the Business Report 40 under 40 to say we were included, how to do just enough to say we are doing something. Yet really Baton Rouge is far from the city on a shining hill it could be. This parade took aim at the black men who have been killed in America, but let us not forget it happens to black women also, today Sandra Bland would have been 29 years old.
Bigger than Spanish Town being racist is the deeply rooted subtle racism that is on display in Baton Rouge every day. Subtle racism gives way to BOLD racism. Which is exactly what was on display at the Spanish Town parade. Call it satire, call it a joke, but there is absolutely nothing funny about unarmed dead black men in the streets of America. If we don’t think dead soldiers is a joke, we shouldn’t joke about dead citizens, because soldiers are the citizens who chose to fight.
Baton Rouge has a deficit in leadership, and its election year. Let’s not elect people who will remain silent on the subtle racism that gives way to the BOLD racism of the Spanish Town parade, because dead black men isn’t a joke, its racist trash….
Oh and Happy Black History Month, this trash shows us why we must teach about the racism of our past. For those who say that all the floats aren’t racist, I say all blacks aren’t violent thugs. The difference is when thugs of ANY RACE, break the law they go to jail, Spanish Town has no rules so the hatred is excused.
Spanish Town is a black eye to Baton Rouge, its BOLD racism will expose Baton Rouge’s subtle racism to the nation.
Feb. 7, 2016 1:49pm