Two LSU Indian Students Dead: Let’s Not Jump to Conflict

By Jonathan Adams Dec 17, 2007

Last Friday, two Indian PhD students at Louisiana State University were killed. While many things are still unknown about the murders at this point, the combination of murky details and sticky race relations have created a peculiar climate in Baton Rouge. After police originally declared the murders were the result of a home invasion, recent reports have included three Black men fleeing from the scene and mention the possibility of a hate crime. Hurricane Katrina and the ‘Jena Six’ are devastating proof of the state of race in Louisiana, and it is clear that no person of color has anything to gain from this tragedy being framed as a hate crime. Rather, this statement from the Baton Rouge police seems like an attempt to divide communities that have more to gain together than apart. Just remember the LA Riots in 1992, when Koreans and Blacks responded to their desperate situation by blaming each other. This conflict was not well aimed and did not help to rebuild their community. It is up to members of the community to be skeptical until all the facts are available and to talk about the things that they have in common instead of the things that are different. Louisiana recently elected Bobby Jindal. The Republican Indian American Governor-elect (He will be inaugurated on January 14), Jindal ran on a platform that criminalizes people of color, so I am certainly not counting on him to lead a connected community. If we have learned anything from Katrina, it is that we, as a community, cannot count on the government and we have to be responsible for our healing.