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.