Thursday, September 01, 2005

Observe the survival instinct / Don't knock it until you've tried it

As an Englishman in America, I have been shocked and perturbed by much of the coverage of the conditions in New Orleans for those who didn't get away. There has been a great big conflicting message today, namely:

People don't have enough food and water and there is no power

BUT

People are wrong to take stuff without paying (hmmm, funny, but no-one seems to be working the cash registers right now), to secure food and presumably bottled water for themselves (as well as sensible "purchases" such as tobacco, alcohol, and a range of electrical items that they cannot make any use of right now - "Damn! When this water recedes, I can't wait to watch HBO on my new 60 inch plasma screen...")

I saw pictures of one woman running out of a store clutching boxes of Huggies. Huggies! Because, yes, a baby needed its diaper changed. So what's the problem?

Taking things from the shops that you need to survive doesn't bother me. No-one who is taking stuff just to survive is looting. For sure, there's some looting going on, but it should not distract from the main event here, that it's basically every man and woman for themselves down in New Orleans at the moment. Instead, there are self-righteous people living in cities that aren't underwater and they are bellyaching that people in New Orleans cannot be stand-up Americans and starve to death instead of self-serving at their local supermarket.

The Media needs to stop demonising the people there, and yes, maybe they're demonised more quickly because they are poor and black. I've already seen right wing blogs festooned with footage of looting with "Yo mama would be proud" etc. The inference being that black people return to savage ways when there aren't police around to keep them in check and regularly thump them on the heads. Nay, nay, and thrice nay! I believe that we all quickly become survivalists if our city is 20 feet underwater and there's no power, no food, and no water. It happens all over the world to every shade of people when disaster strikes. It's the height of arrogance once again from a right-wing section of White America to contend otherwise.


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3 Comments:

Blogger Claypot said...

The media has a LOT to answer for in their portrayal of 'looters'. Just how dumb is the rest of America that they can't comprehend the horror of an entire city being pretty much wiped out? Too used to seeing it on the big screen I supposed, to realise it's a lot of people's reality right now.

2:46 AM  
Blogger banana said...

oh, and the media seems to think it's ok for the police to loot for survival but not civilians who happen to be black folks.

i can't believe that the national guard, instead of rescuing people, are going through survivors' bags to find anything that they might have "unjustly taken" from the stores, including cigarettes and booze.

rescuing poor black folks is not as important as preventing "those people" from relieving their stresses by a cigarette and a a drink.

5:29 PM  
Blogger L said...

I completely agree. Most of the things being said by social conservatives is disgusting. They're still sore that lynching is illegal, I think.

8:53 PM  

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