Beam: Baton Rouge judge genuine role model

By By Jim Beam / American Press

What does it mean to be a role model? We often hear athletes talk about wanting to be better role models, but that is easier

said than done. Anyone looking for an example of an outstanding role model should check the achievements of state District

Court Judge Trudy White of Baton Rouge.

First, however, let’s talk about the

latest athlete promising to be a better role model. He is LSU running

back Jeremy Hill,

who has been in trouble with the law on more than one occasion.

Hill has been reinstated on the team, and made the following

statement during a news conference:

“First of all I want to thank Coach (Les) Miles and this university for giving me another chance to play football,” Hill said.

“And I would like to apologize to first my teammates, and the community. I made a poor choice in judgment, but since then

I’ve learned from my mistake, and moving forward I’ll continue to be a better person, continue to be a better teammate and

continue to be a role model for the kids in the community. And thank you.”

Other LSU players have had their legal

problems, and they didn’t succeed at being good examples for the younger

generation.

We hope Hill becomes an exception, but it wouldn’t hurt him to

give serious consideration to what Judge White told a recently

convicted hit man.

The Advocate said White and hit man

Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding have something in common: both were born

and raised in the

crime-plagued 70802 ZIP code area of south Baton Rouge. White last

month sentenced Louding to life in prison without benefit

of parole on a murder charge. The newspaper said Louding was

expelled from Westdale Middle School as a seventh-grader in 2008

after he was caught with a gun on campus. He never attended high

school.

White had some strong words for Louding during his sentencing hearing.

“What is the difference between those

who achieve and those who don’t?” the judge asked at the hearing.

“Simply stated, education.

In fact, correctional officials look to the percentage of children

who never make it past the fourth-grade reading level to

help gauge the number of future prison beds that will be needed.”

Parental and societal support are also critical for success, the judge said.

White noted that others from the 70802

area have also become success stories and great role models. Among them

are former

Southern University System President Delores Spikes, the late

legendary Grambling State University football coach Eddie Robinson

Sr., Court of Appeal Judge John Michael Guidry of the 1st Circuit

Court, Southern University Law Center Chancellor and retired

Judge Freddie Pitcher Jr., blues singer Buddy Guy, “American Idol”

host Randy Jackson, former LSU basketball players Glen

“Big Baby” Davis, Tyrus Thomas and Ethan Martin, and a number of

prominent businessmen, attorneys and educators.

“Has anything good come out of south Baton Rouge?” White asked. “Absolutely.”

A look at White’s record says it all. She is a native of Baton Rouge, a graduate of Howard University and the LSU Law Center.

She is a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

In 1999, White was the first African-American female elected to the Baton Rouge City Court. She became a 19th Judicial District

Court judge in 2009. She has been called “the People’s Judge” for her active involvement in the Baton Rouge community.

The YWCA recognized her with its “Racial Justice” and “Speak Truth to Power” awards in 2008. The Louisiana State Bar Association

selected her for its 2009 Crystal Gavel Award for her efforts in educating the public and students about legal matters.

Unlike some, Judge White acknowledges there is a “culture of violence in our society involving black youth and young adults.”

The Advocate said Louding, 20, who is

black, was found guilty in the 2009 murder-for-hire of Terry Boyd, 35.

The newspaper

said prosecutors contend Louding, 17 at the time, fatally shot

Boyd at the behest of gangsta rap artist Torence “Lil Boosie”

Hatch.

White said gangsta rap lyrics typically are known for promoting crime, violence, profanity, the hatred of women by men, sex

outside of marriage, street gangs, murder, drug-dealing and materialism.

“Gangsta rappers have bought into the

belief that a negative image is necessary to elicit high volume sales of

CDs, DVDs and mp3s,” the judge said. “The producers and promoters of gangsta rap

have coldly calculated the potential profits available

from positive and negative messages” and “have concluded that

antisocial messages are more profitable than pro-social messages.

This is a business that is designed to profit from harming its

consumers and our society.”

For demonstrating rare courage, White

deserves a “Tell It Like It Is” award. Others have talked about problems

in black communities,

but have found only a handful of black leaders willing to face the

facts.

As White said, there are many black

role models who live up to the title. Unfortunately, not enough of them

get the recognition

they deserve. Maybe that’s where black leadership needs to focus

its attention. However, nothing is going to happen until

black leaders are willing to admit there are serious issues in

some of their communities that have been ignored much too long.

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Jim Beam, the retired editor of the American Press, has covered people and politics for more than five decades. Contact him at 494-4025 or jbeam@americanpress.com