Of course there are the outrageous captions on these photos, via Metafilter and Steve and probably many others. I have a hard time seeing taking food from a grocery store in post-apocalyptic New Orleans as looting, no matter who's doing it. This caption incident aside, it almost seems as if the looting has been brought into existence by the media's obsession with it. There's a sick obsession here, maybe on the part of those who are finding a minute in this city-ending nightmare to steal televisions and dollhouses and shoes, but maybe the sickness is with a voyeuristic American public more concerned that people are getting something for nothing than anything else.
This passage from the New York Times editorial was more subtly disquieting, but still makes me uncomfortable:
People who think of that graceful city and the rest of the Mississippi Delta as tourist destinations must have been reminded, watching the rescue operations, that the real residents of this area are in the main poor and black. The only resources most of them will have to fall back on will need to come from the federal government.What does being black have to do with having no resources to fall back on? Or for that matter, what does being poor have to do with it, when the whole city is in shambles? One gets the impression the writer of this editorial saw pictures of black Americans, equated this with poverty, and decided that was what justified federal intervention. They're right that the government needs to intervene, but the logic is unnecessarily twisted by guilty condescension.
MORE: In way of clarification/explanation, I find this piece (and most of those quoted in it) completely different. It looks squarely at the reasons why most of the people left in the city are black and quarrels with those issues, which is perfectly reasonable and appropriate.
I think the raiding of a grocery store for bottled water, food or diapers, although looting is at least justifiable under the circumstances. It is when the perpetrator snags jewelry and televisions that this necessity logic breaks down. I find it hard to believe that "the looting has been brought into existence by the media's obsession with it" is far fetched since the looters probably are not getting much t.v. unless they can find a place to plug in the looted television. Or are you implying that the looting is not really occuring except for one or two incidents that the news is playing over and over to fabricate the story to sate our voyeuristic obsessions.
I have no idea what's going on on the ground (?), but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the media is over-selling the story. Just using the word looting is incendiary and inconsistent, as those pictures demonstrate -- and it's particularly uncalledfor when we're talking about getting food from a grocery store. It just seems like a strange story to focus on at a time when the whole city is submerged.
As to whether the media's reporting brought the probelm into existence, obviously that's actually what happened, but then that's not what I said in my post, either.
"it almost seems as if the looting has been brought into existence by the media's obsession with it."
"As to whether the media's reporting brought the probelm into existence, obviously that's actually what happened, but then that's not what I said in my post, either."
Did it actually happen or did you not say it, or did you say it before you didn't say it.
I am confused.
Sorry -- the second quote should have read "obviously that's not actually what happened..."
being poor makes a huge difference. if you have a bank balance with three, four, or more zeros; you can adequately believe that you have a good, if not great, chance to bounce back quickly - either by renting or buying new basic elements to your life. but if you're a poor, with a minimal or no savings at all - once you lose all you have, you have absolutely nothing. nothing were start building up your new life.
it's a big difference whether you're poor or not. money-wisely poor have extremely hard times if their one chance is taken away...
I agree with Matt that being poor makes a huge difference, for the reasons stated. I agree with Paul that being black makes no difference whatsoever, and for the NY Times editorial to even mention the race of these people smacks of condescension, racism, and pathetic white guilt.
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