Wow, just watching the big Red Cross telethon concert being broadcast on NBC. They have celebrities coming on and talking about the disaster, intersperced by musicians.
Mike Meyers and someone else by the name of Kanye West were talking, and Mr. West obviously got off the script. He started rambling about how the lack of attention to the disaster thus far was a race issue, because most people in New Orleans were black and of lower class. He continued as Meyers looked obviously uncomfortable. “I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family it says they’re looting; you see a white family it says they’re looking for food.” he said, later adding, “they’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us”.
Meyers tried to recover the scene, scratching his face and picking up Kanye’s statements by saying how even in “many ways more profoundly defestating is the lasting damage to the survivors will to rebuild and remain in the area.” Ouch, I’m sure did didn’t help to have a white person follow on with a statement like that. The other person proclaimed, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people!” The camera stayed active just long enough to catch Mike Myers shoot the guy an exasperated, outraged look with a mouth gaping wide, then immediately switched to another announcer. He was obviously caught unawares and in shock at the previous comments, and tried his best to pick the show up.
That’s just ridiculous. People sometimes like to skew statistics into distorting the reality of things. Certainly Hurricane Katrina isn’t racist, and certainly the massive amounts of aid that is pouring into the area from the Federal government isn’t either. Now, the slowness to which aid in large amounts were sent to the area is another thing all together, but that’s not a race issue; aid was slow to getting to all areas of the gulf coast.
Let’s look at this closer: every nation, every country, every culture is going to have poor, afflicted folk who are struggling to get a foothold. So, someone has got to be poor. Now, it was less than 150 years ago that a war was fought in this nation to free the slaves. Those slaves were criminally treated, oppressed, and exposed to horrendous crimes against human dignity, truly one of the bleakest spots on our nation’s history. However, it does stand to reason that now, so many decades later, the poor of the nation is going to be the people who were previously repressed. Also looking at things statistically, Wikipedia reports that New Orleans is 67.25% African American, making them the cultural majority. Hence, most of the New Orleans scenes we see on television are indeed of African Americans.
Finally, let’s also take a look at gangs. It is the organized gangs that are causing so much trouble in New Orleans. Many people are just trying to get out with their lives. The (African American) mayor of New Orleans himself said “Now you got some knuckleheads out there, and they are taking advantage of this lawless — this situation where, you know, we can’t really control it, and they’re doing some awful, awful things. But that’s a small majority of the people. Most people are looking to try and survive.” Stastically, there are very few caucasians in gangs in New Orleans; the majority is predominantly African American. Those are the people that the people are going down to subdue.
They ended the show with the announcer saying, “Emotions in this country right now are running very high. Sometimes that emotion is translated into inspiration, sometimes into criticism. We heard some of that tonight, but it’s still part of the American way of life.”
I will be so glad when the people of this nation stop using color, black or white, as enabling devices to either end.