After 25 years of drunken foolishness in the Big Easy, I believe that I have a bird’s eye view on the way this entire country operates. New Orleans is a mystical land of blissful fuckery. Where brown people of all shades; quietly, perpetually, and more often than not, happily take positions of lifelong servitude. While neighborhoods are gutted and home-grown New Orleanians are displaced…the biggest question posed to brown people by their white counterparts? “Um…could you bring out some more bread?”.
I didn’t always harbor such ferocious contempt for New Orleans, for there was once a time I too relished in the opportunity to serve the white man in the world-famous French Quarter.
It wasn’t until I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Ireland for several months that I finally saw New Orleans for what she was; a land of overt, masterfully hidden, normalized racism. Covered in glitter, soaked in vodka, and with just a tiny dash of…absolutely no shame.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Ireland definitely still has some work to do. For I was definitely judged by the color of my skin. But. Generally it was in a ferociously more positive light. Instead of being profiled as a “thug” or “Tyrone”…People saw my skin color as a badge of fortitude, masculinity, strength, creativity, and natural soulfulness. These categorizations are, indeed, super racist, haha, BUT, no one gets shot in the face because of the color of their skin. It sincerely humbled me to see what can happen when images of black people acting a fool aren’t CONSTANTLY shoved down the throats of a nation’s people. Like, NO ONE THERE HAS SEEN MADEA…ANYTHING. But. They have seen “Scandal” and “Roots”.
And I don’t even need to get into the gross contrast that is American media.
The Big Easy, of course, is no exception to the rule of media in America. You may not know this. LOL. But. New Orleans is one the most dangerous cities in America and home to some of the highest murder rates in the country. Soooo…what does that lead to?? You guessed it, a shit ton of black dude’s faces plastered across the local evening news every single night. While these men ARE committing crimes, the representation of black people, black culture, and black criminals are grossly disproportionate. What do I mean? I mean when it’s time to discuss the bad things about New Orleans, black and brown faces cover the pages of the stories. But. When it’s time to promote… I do not know…anything in New Orleans (Jazz Fest, Vodoo Fest, Mardi Gras, SOUTHERN DECADENCE, etc..) white faces cover the brochures from cover to cover. (Please keep your example of the TWO black people in one of the brochures to yourself). When seeing these ads, everyone suddenly forgets that New Orleans is 64% black and none of these promotions of the amazing things that happen in New Orleans feature black people. We wish we could say it was just a couple ads, but, every day, in a city that is 64% black, we walk around wondering “where the hell are all the black people at?”.
But white people just don’t notice because they just went to Brennan’s this morning and a very nice man named Jamal waited on them…so everything must be fine, right? But what my white people fail realize is, nah, none of it’s fine.
That this a city where white folks from Michigan, Ohio, and Denmark can come up, live, and FLOURISH in black New Orleans culture and then in turn be chosen to represent New Orleans over the men and women who have created and maintained this culture for the last century. It’s literally like, “Alright ladies and gentlemen, here with some authentic New Orleans Jazz, here’s… Peja Stojakovic.”
Before you beat me to it, no, it’s not that we don’t want to share, that’s kind of the whole point, but it’s not being shared, it’s being taken from us.
I mean, like literally. The French Quarter, Marigny, New Marigny, and Bywater are laughably white. People make jokes about it, all the time. The crazy part? People aren’t noticing.
Let me rephrase, their noticing, but it’s not effecting them on the same level as brown people…so…umm..go America, right?! Nah.
Even the tourists and transplants, who are also in the midst of taking New Orleans from us, look around and wonder where in the hell this fucking so called melting pot is located.
With such gems as “Where can we find some ‘authentic’ jazz, I mean, it’s not that those cats on Frenchmen weren’t getting down, but…uh…Louis Armstrong is from here, right?”….”Dude, I guess our server was black, but this is one of the whitest places we’ve ever been to, and we’ve been to Vermont AND Toronto….twice.” And my absolute favorite from my new, brilliant, educating, latina sista, from New York…”So, umm…where the black people at?”.
And the most puzzling part of the maze? Very, very few white, native and white, naturalized New Orleanians are asking same the questions. It’s as if they’re content with sitting in a sea of white faces at the bar.
Like, omg, how could I ever come to be the only black person at a bar in New Orleans, and be the ONLY one to notice. ROFL.
#tobecontinued #improbgonnarunformayor #wakeup #staywoke #getthecoffee #wegotworktodoCelie #itmaybebig #butitainteasy