jump to navigation

Soldier Boys June 22, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
3 comments

You need to read this today. In fact, don’t read another world I’ve written until you read it.

This is not how I grew up in this same city, out on the Bunny Bread lakefront. A person needed to be ready to fight when cornered, but there was nothing like Cliff describes at all. Once when another gang of guys came to our neighborhood specifically looking for trouble, we all stood there in two tableau as artificial as a scene from West Side Story until our friends in the Levee Board Police showed up and everyone scrambled. What was funny about that day was we ended up helping the guys from the other hood through out thicket of shortcuts in Lake Vista, as secret and secure as as the Ho Chi Minn trail, so they could escape the police. At some level we were more alike than we thought ourselves to be.

I think I’ve understood the situation Cliff describes to be a large part of the problem we have in New Orleans, but this is the first time someone has summed it up so clearly. (You did go read his post, right?)

I don’t know how to change this anymore than I know how to take all the folks in Lakeview or Metairie (some my oldest friends) and shake the ingrained racism out of them. We were fed it with our mother’s milk, and I know there is a lot of reinforcement all through life if you choose to seek it out, to make that a part of one’s identify. I also know that it can be overcome if only like an alcoholic’s journey, one day at a time because we decide not to be that person we were somehow programmed to be.

We are all like dogs over bred to some task and liable to neurosis if deprived of sheep to herd or the right sort of a hunt. We can change ourselves, one at a time. How we change whole neighborhoods, whole wards, whole peoples: I don’t know any more than Cliff does. He can behave one way at home, but is forced to behave another to run the gauntlet of a grocery trip to Wal-Mart at River Place.

But we have to think of something. We have to start somewhere.

Advertisements