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“George Bush doesn’t care about black people” September 5, 2005

Posted by Matt Hurst in Uncategorized.
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So says Mr. Kanye West, and I am inclined to agree. The crisis in New Orleans is just the latest example. A more astute assesment would be that Dubya doesn’t care about poor people. Like father like son.
Here’s the thing – I’m not gonna harp about politics so much here, because this mess is awash in red, blue, and brown like the river of mud. Mud and gasoline, sewage waste, chlorine, and whatever it is that happens when bodies decompose in open water. I want to talk about poor people for a moment.

For years now the media, and hence those who are informed by it, have been proclaiming the internet as the final egalitarian democratic platform. We would all soon be interconect and involved in a participary culture – fit as our mind, happier with our new friends, more produtive at work. Most of all we’d be better informed (then again, it is the media telling us this), and hence better citizens, maybe even better people. The enlightment promises from liberalism and democracy of citizens were at the beckoning.
The reality of course is never as equal; the internet is still largely an upper and middle class priviledge (in the 1st world). Like everything else in our economy the service requires money (which isn’t exactly going to public libraries you know), and those who have it can use it to the betterment of themselves and their children. Those in poverty (and some who can’t justify it in their tight budgets) do not have the priviledge of using the internet (even to write journals with). Even just those in poverty in the US, not counting illegal imigrants, number 37 million or 12.7 percent of the population*. These people have been left behind in the dust storms of the new economy since the reagan era, able to lift themselves out with the excepttion of a small period during the clinton era. they have never been more than one mistake or emergency away from falling into poverty again or worsening their lives. Perhaps you are one of them, and you understand what i’m talking about when i say that you have been forgoten by your own neighbors and fellow citizens.

The evacuation plan from New Orleans was laisez faire; in structure, there was none. If you could afford a ticket out of town or a tank full of gas, you could get out in advance. Today, if you’re stranded in new orleans you can’t go anywhere unless by helicopter of course – they have road blocked the only interstate bridge out, the rest surrounded by water. Refugee is not the word, because they were left behind. More importantly they are trapped.
The majority of the in New Orleans people are black, yes, but everyone still there is poor. All the shops are closed, and food is just trickling in. So if you have your family to support you go into the store for some milk and bread. It is not a matter of stealing since there isn’t anybody there to pay. But there’s a catch. According to the Associated Press, when a white family is shown leaving the empty store they are “looking for supplies” (i’m paraphrasing), but when a black family is shown during the same thing we are told they are looting. The inherant racism of this tragedy is amplified. I am not denying that looting is happening with TVs and DVDs – but these are acts of frustration. These people are not criminals – they are guilty of being poor and hungry.
There needs to be a moratorium on press conferences by politicians until help has arrived. Stop telling us it is on the way when it should have been there the day before a catgory 5 hurricane arrived as expected a week and a half earlier. Any poltician who has time to tell everybody still with electricity and a television that help is on the way has time to raise hell off camera in washington to get it there sooner. People are dying while they wait for help.
Even Fox News is having trouble keeping up the lie that progress is being made there. Shepard Smith was frustrated and Geraldo (yes, he still works there) Rivera was in tears over the babies. Sean Hannity was the only thing standing between letting the reports report the situation on the ground.

OK my blogger bretheran, it’s time to keep raising hell. Do not let those sexy Washington politics of open Supreme Court seats get in the way. KEEP THIS STORY FROM FALLING OUT OF THE HEADLINES – peoples’ lives depend on that. We must speak for those who can’t. We must stand up for poor people, even as people of priviledge. This situation will not get better when you turn off your television, and when you do you are turning away from your responsibility. Even if you don’t have time to roll up your sleaves and load a truck with water, if you have time to blog you have time to help. There is no better time I can think of then the present. Bloggers of the internet privy unite!
* – 2004 US census bureau

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Comments»

1. eazymeat6969 - September 7, 2005

i’d be happy to unite with all bloggers, much as we’re both united under the big ElJay tree, buttttt…my blog ain’t about to change anythin’.

anyway, that look at the new orleans tragedy was beautifully spoken. i see it, too, as an issue of class rather than racism; these riots weren’t caused by a videotape of white policemen beating a helpless black man. but there’s something disturbingly metaphorical about a massive storm that sweeps through and wipes out thousands upon thousands of poor black families.

the best opportunity i can see arising from this storm would be addressing this exact issue: how race affects class, and vice versa. it’s enough, at least, to give bloggers a nasty case of carpal tunnel.

2. skewgee - September 7, 2005

my god! my point actually got accross to someone! i mean, even if they thought the same i’d be happy.

look out world, this thing could get syndicated soon!


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