Thursday, September 01, 2005

Race/Class Warfare 

Finchy writes:

I've been thinking about the racial dynamic that is going almost completely uncommented upon, but is obvious in the photographs of the New Orleans disaster: the people who remained behind were overwhelmingly black, while the people helping them appear to be largely white.

Without commentary, without explanation, the most immediate conclusion for
the average reader is that the black people were too "stupid" (a very loaded word that I have already heard from many mouths) to leave the city even though they had at least three days' warning about a catastrophic hurricaine headed their way, and now it is the white man's burden to come and help them.

Now, were there any kind of THOUGHT applied to this exclusively photographic message, it might conclude that what we are seeing, both in the images of helplessness and looting, is a completely neglected group of people who had been abandoned by state authorities and left to their own devices. Indeed, the order to evacuate the city could only be heeded by those with their own cars, leaving the significant, largely black and Creole underclass to simply wait around, or to elect to flee to quasi-prison conditions of the Superdome. Amidst such governmental neglect and such dire choices, is it any surprise that so much crime arose in the wake of the devastation? "You think we're invisible?" These folks seem to be saying, "Well, here we are!"

It is little wonder that the press has fallen back upon racist stereotypes, albeit communicated solely through photographs-- through the relatively new, and now totally dominant, medium of photographic literacy-- to explain what has been going on. In today's world, one journalistic dictum stands high above all others: whatever you do, don't critique the government, and whatever you really have to say, say it in pictures. But the real message is an old one: the same, sad, racist South. Yet we can only pray that the poorer and darker would be treated any better were some disaster to befall us anywhere else in this country.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?