Remi Kanazi: Three-Fifths Relief
By Remi Kanazi
I guess the people at Yahoo didn’t have their racism detectors on earlier this week. On August 29th an image appeared on Yahoo of a white woman and man trudging through chest deep water after “finding bread and soda from a local grocery store.” Huh. They just “found” bread and soda? Like little Goldie Locks “found” porridge after skipping through the forest? The next day Yahoo gives us an image of a black boy after just “looting a grocery store.” I hate to break it to the heads of Yahoo but even if you didn’t mean to do it, it is still racism.
Not surprisingly, the people at Yahoo took off the picture of the “white finders,” because Yahoo would never plan out racism. Maybe their subconscious did it for them? The media can’t build up the poor black people to be ravage beasts, foaming from the mouth looting everything in sight, from bread to medicine to water, if we have these other images floating about. The media has to maintain its “fairness” and “objectivity.” Goddamn it if Walmart’s insurance doesn’t cover the diapers or food that damn crying baby needed, or the diabetes pills that 82 year old woman whorishly craved. We can’t taint it with picture perfect, racist images of white people just “trying to survive.”
We haven’t treated black people like three-fifths a person in a while—well not if their rich and republican. As Condi Rice looks at the impoverished refugees with the, my-mommy- didn’t-teach-me-about-this-during-piano-lessons stare, we realize it will take her more than a week to get “down and dirty” with the people of her own race.
It’s not as though the people of New Orleans are asking for aid in small unmarked bills. They just want to get out of New Orleans. Why didn’t they get out in the first place? Well that’s an effect of being poor and black in a country that doesn’t give a damn about you. Who cares if the death toll tops 10,000, just as long as Bush gives 10.5 billion in aid two weeks from now. He can say, “I tried,” or “in hindsight.” People in America love to say in hindsight as a code for: yes we screwed you, but we’re going to try and put a good face on it anyway.
It’s ok now because Bush can send in the National Guard reinforcements. Wait. No. Those reinforcements are in a hurricane that Bush created in the Middle East called Operation Bomb Brown People. Who cares in the Bush administration anyway? They already cut the funding that would have helped the levies from breaking, and they got the white people out that will be voting for them in the midterm elections. Oh yes, I forgot about the compassion of George Bush. We could have used a bit of that compassion before the hurricane hit and killed possibly tens of thousands of people. We could have used that compassion in Iraq, Afghanistan, and before his new budget cut funding on those poor black Americans that are now suffering third world conditions in the most advanced nation in the world.
It’s not as though the Bush administration couldn’t have done more. They could have sent the relief earlier as they did for Jeb Bush in Florida before the 2004 election. They could have listened to the cries and call, but they chose not to. Yes, now they’re scrambling, just as they did after the start of Tsunami relief when they initially vowed to donate just enough cash for the Tsunami victims to send the US thank you postcards.
We shouldn’t be surprised how this administration is treating the poor and downtrodden in their time of crisis because this how they’ve always treated them. Scoffing at their necessity of health care and vital social programs, rewriting bankruptcy laws that help keep poor people poor, and keeping them at arms length in an “ownership” society is just what the neocon doctors of the Bush administration ordered. It’s why it’s not so surprising to see this administration rape their own people and leave them stranded. Hell if you’re going to rampage and destroy other countries, you might as well spread the love to your own suffering citizens.