Nearly every rescued person, temporary resident of the Superdome, looter, or loiterer on the high ground of the freeway I saw on TV was African-American. And from the look of it, they weren't wealthy residents of the Garden District. This storm appears to have hurt blacks more directly than whites, but the broadcasters scarcely mentioned that fact.I wonder if people in government could have provided buses for evacuation before the storm struck. They did after conditions in the superdome deteriorated. Didn't the government know the plight of the people who elected it?
Race remains largely untouchable for TV because broadcasters sense that they can't make an error without destroying careers. That's a true pity. If the subject were a little less taboo, one of last night's anchors could have asked a reporter, "Can you explain to our viewers, who by now have surely noticed, why 99 percent of the New Orleans evacuees we're seeing are African-American? I suppose our viewers have noticed, too, that the provocative looting footage we're airing and re-airing seems to depict mostly African-Americans."
If the reporter on the ground couldn't answer the questions, a researcher could have Nexised the New Orleans Times-Picayune five-parter from 2002, " Washing Away," which reported that the city's 100,000 residents without private transportation were likely to be stranded by a big storm. In other words, what's happening is what was expected to happen [my emphasis]: The poor didn't get out in time...
To the question of looting, an informed reporter or anchor might have pointed out that anybody—even one of the 500 Nordic blondes working in broadcast news—would loot food from a shuttered shop if they found themselves trapped by a flood and had no idea when help would come.
Friday, September 02, 2005
It makes no difference where you live if you are poor. I especially sympathize with people or communities who have been lead to poverty via centuries of exploitation. Hats off to sections of media that have the courage to speak out for them. Is anybody listening? A few excerpts from the article Lost in the Flood as posted on slate.com [Got the link here].