This is my rant of the day and is only the tip of my emotional outburst. Somethings change and somethings do not.New Orleans flood 1927 blacks were held at gunpoint and kept in the city to work in flood damaged areas. 2005 the guns return when will they learn you don't have to point a gun in my face when you are allegedly helping me? I am very sad. I am old, and I am very tired of modern mankind's lack of humanity's value.
©2005 M. Bennett Hooper
“Two men in a burning house must not stop to argue,” an Ashanti proverb. America is a burning house and that burning has been most accurately revealed in the governmental or lack of governmental rapid response during Hurricane Katrina and its’ aftermath in New Orleans Louisiana. I do not intend that one overlooks the damages both human and property of people in Biloxi, Gulfport, and their surrounding areas of Mississippi, but instead insist upon focusing on the view from New Orleans.
Even as we watched nature and man’s carnage day after day for almost a week in its’ gory and pitiful detail the media decided against fully traumatizing the American people by not photographing or videotaping floating bodies of animals and people or rescuers and survivors retching from the stench and foul air of this hell on earth. Nature and many men’s disregard for other men was poignantly evident as was some men and women who were overwhelmed in their efforts to aid hurricane victims. The recent looting we have seen portrayed on television as American as apple pie. MIT historian Robert Fogelson writes in his 1971book, “Violence as Protest: A Study of Riots and Ghettos, that for three and one half centuries Americans have resorted to violence in order to reach goals otherwise unattainable.
The three forms of American violence are and continue to be, mob violence, interpersonal violence, and war. Looting then is an American expression of an underclass reaching for goals otherwise unattainable, food, water, clothing, and the unattainable basics of the left behind underclass. Overkill is then explainable when watching a special person wading through water-strewn feces and the bodies of dead people and animals with a TV on his back to return to a non-home without electricity. When one does not understand looting which is a form of rioting in this writers opinion the boat is missed in its’ entirety. Ira M. Leonard writes in his Think Piece for Black Commentator’s Issue 144, June 2005 that Violence is the Energy Of US History, Part I. Mr. Leonard states that the JULY 1863 Draft Act Riots in New York City was the historical pivot around which America’s urban experience revolved.” New Orleans in my humble opinion more than any other urban city has shown us the urban underbelly of America that is predominately poor and Black and doomed to be left behind.
Maureen Dowd in her article for NY Times entitled, “ United States of Shame”, stated that the faith of all Americans in American ideals were made ashamed when 700 guests and employees of the Hyatt Hotel were bused out first amidst cries of the poor and black who were stuck and still left behind. Hyatt’s folks were, by the way, moved to the front of the line. Do you see the Hyatt marketing at work for the future? Violence and American culture are intertwined in ways that the average person cannot begin to fathom or comprehend. Richard Hofstader, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian states, “That the persistent of violence is in abrupt contrast with our pretension to singular national virtue.” Hence, the projection of disdain for “alleged looters’, but none for the powers that be who when controlling the media picture whites finding food and blacks walking with the same food as looters.
We have seen the faces of the expendable in America, in New Orleans and throughout the diasporas and one thing remains strikingly clear. They are poor; they are black and brown, and most time cast as villains. James Baldwin wrote many years ago, “No More Water but the Fire Next Time”, however, he had no idea how the lack of governmental intervention in the shoring of up of New Orleans levees would guarantee that the water would come one more dramatically tragic time.
The prices we learn are beyond reach and highest for those with little or no money. If a picture is worth a thousand words let every black and brown face invest in a mirror and look beyond the image reflected into your very souls as we sing a new song together, no more water, no more delusions. Justice is still just us. Harambee now and forever!
Peace, love, and blessings are extended to the many men and women of all nations who stayed to help the helpless. We know there is but one race; however, I can lend no quarter to those who define poor blacks as expendable in New Orleans or anywhere on earth. Do you hear me in Darfur? Killing the meek insures that they will receive no inheritance.