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Everyone has been affected by the news of Hurricane Katrina and it’s victims who happen to be largely of color.  The media has made no attempt to hide its racist practices by portraying the economically disenfranchised Black people that live there, whose lives have been devastated and destroyed, as thugs, criminals, and lawless rouges while the fairer “victims” of Katrina are portrayed as helpless and defenseless survivors trapped in dehumanizing conditions.  Down in Louisiana, with its vicious racist policies that allowed 30 percent of New Orleans’ residents of color to live below an acceptable standard of living and educational opportunity, with its governor having her lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, calling her own devastated constituents hoodlums and lawbreakers, the receding waters have revealed a frightening reality in this so-called land of opportunity. 

The commander in chief, the leader of the free world that was elected for his supposed ability to lead this country in times of terror, turned an intentionally blind eye to relief efforts and arrogantly threw a pittance of aid and assistance as a appeasement to those that might question his reaction.  A few sound bites and a few dollars absolves him of any guilt or complicity for the conditions of all the areas devastated by Katrina in which people of color and people with no means are involuntarily thrust into the limelight as America’s newest reality television stars.  There’s no million-dollar prize at the end of this game of Survivor, there’s dehydration, starvation, and death for the losers and the winners get unimaginable nightmares that will haunt them for the rest of their natural lives.  

White people (and Blacks that want to distance themselves from the heathen behaviors of the people on the news) want to point the finger of indignation and say, “Look at those animals, those ‘BLACKS’ down there, stealing televisions and creating chaos.  Look at them fighting and behaving like beasts and savages.”  White America can rest easy that Black people do in fact possess the inherent criminal/inferior gene that predisposes them to acts of lawlessness and savagery and it’s right there on the television to prove it.  The assumption is always that white people would never behave that way under those catastrophic conditions. 

They’re right.  They are absolutely correct.  White people have never lived as third class citizens in the richest nation in the world so it’s very reasonable to assume that white people would be able to afford to pack up and leave when the threat of impending danger was looming on the horizon.  White people would not have to wait for days for food and water and dry clothing because there would be safe havens set up before the last rain drop fell that would have provided cute little tote bags of toiletries and snack foods, insurance agents to process claims and bank representatives to provide emergency loans as they got off the evacuation buses.  White victims of a tragedy like this would have the nation rallying around them with signs of solidarity waving from SUVs and flagpoles all around the nation.  Moreover, when white people eventually behaved in barbaric and uncivilized ways, the way anyone would do under such dire circumstances, there would be a psychological term slapped on it, a telethon to cure it, and the media would cover it more than the OJ Trial. 

Newt Gingrich said, “If we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?”  I’ll tell why the two are vastly different.  God forbid there was planned act of terror that would occur in a US city, you’d see the nation rally around that cause, the draft would be reinstated with the quickness, hundreds of billions of dollars would be given to big businesses to aid them, and we’d be at war with Iran in three days time.  Bush never intended to have a plan to respond to the victims of the hurricane and he hasn’t lost a minute’s sleep because of it.  The plan to attack Iran has been in place since the same illegal plan to invade Iraq was set in motion.  As long as there’s money to be made by Bush and his cronies, there’s a plan, a backup, and a contingency all outlined. 

It’s estimated that it’s going to take an estimate $56 billion dollars to rebuild New Orleans.  (That says nothing of the other devastated towns, hamlets and villages that don’t have TV cameras there to chronicle their devastation).  Bush generously offered $10 billion dollars to the relief effort.  I guess now he’s concerned about fiscal responsibility and pinching pennies because of the billions he’s spending to get an oil monopoly…I mean, building democracy in the Middle East.  Why not cough up $100 billion, W?  You are making exponentially more than that by charging us $4.00 a gallon for gas.  Why do we, the American public, have to dig deep in our already strained pockets to aid in the relief of these victims?  This is the richest nation in the world.  Don’t pinch pennies when it comes to your own citizens. 

Message boards all over the Internet are filled with posts from white people that are espousing hatred and rejoicing that Katrina caused such devastation and how they wished that it had killed all the (racial epithet) of New Orleans.  Black America has been feeling the pain of the racist tone since the first reports of Black people being termed “looters” while white people were miraculously “finding” food.  We are supposed to accept our lot in life and not complain because that’s the premise of this great nation.  Black people, check your birth certificate to see if you are classified as three-fifths of a human being.  Chances are, if you are poor and undereducated, it says you are because that’s the way the government is treating us. 

Where are the cries of God Bless America that followed 9/11?  I guess people want to save their prayers and petitions for causes all America can rally around, not just the Black people.  Where was the emergency midnight session for Congress to pass illegal legislation like they did with one white woman who was already dead while thousands of living people suffered without food and water?  Will America wear brown ribbons as a show of support for the flood victims of Katrina?  I think not.  It is with this faith that we as a nation will be able to hew out of the cesspool of despair a drop of hope.

Nothing will change.  In two weeks, things will go back to normal.  TV stations will go back to being focused on some white girl missing in the Caribbean, Sin City will have dried out and it will be old news.  We’ll be tracking the next hurricane that is set to hit Florida and airlifting everyone from The Keys to Disney World to a safe haven.  Black America will have digested yet another bitter racist pill and swallowed it with a xenophobic chaser.  Katrina has washed away the pretense of equality in this country and we have been left exposed and vulnerable. 

Scottie Lowe is the sole owner and founder of www.AfroerotiK.com, a company dedicated to eradicating the negative and stereotypical depictions of Black sexuality and providing customized, personalized erotic stories for and about people of color.

Copyright 2005 Scottie Lowe

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September 8 2005
Issue 149

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