On November 14th, eight-year-old Jordan Jackson and his four-year-old sister J’Niaha were accosted at a Louisiana primary school and told by classmates to “Go back to the cotton farm.”
Jordan, who is an athlete and honor student, defended his little sister while the attackers beat him until he had a broken arm and a concussion.
The oldest attacker was 13.
The incident occurred at Spanish Lake Primary School in Geismar, Louisiana. School officials have not reprimanded any of the students who assaulted Jordan.
You can read the full account of what happened here.
Stories like this make my stomach turn. They make me want to switch off the news. Yet my broken heart knows that Jordan and J’Niaha need to be heard. And so painfully I listen and encourage others to do the same.
One of my (white, upper-middle class) aunts has gotten on to me for reposting articles like this one. She says that the problem with our society is that we complain too much and are too quickly offended.
That’s easy to say when you live in an ivory tower.
If she (con)descended a bit closer to earth, she might see that there is a vocal minority who have become emboldened to spread hatred and terror among the marginalized in America. And if we remain silent about it, we are tacitly approving of their horrific behavior.
Jordan and J’Niaha Jackson are babies–they are someone’s babies.
Look at those little faces–the chubby cheeks, the dimples, the beautiful brown eyes, the joy they have posing for a picture. Hearing their story is uncomfortable, but as a mother with babies just like these, I must not look away.
I must be angry as hell that we live in a world where people inflict hate crimes upon small children.
I must remember that Jordan will now always wonder whether he’ll be safe at school and if he will make any friends.
I must remember that tiny J’Niaha had to go to the emergency room to visit her brother with a head injury.
I must remember their mother, Alana, who will have to go to battle with the Louisiana educational system, likely facing micro-aggressive whispers in the grocery checkout line in her small town.
I must give these innocent babies the voice they need by sharing their story with anyone who will listen.
I must not look away.
And neither should you.