I don’t usually watch TV. I love to watch the evening news, but I don’t like the little boys watching it so I try to avoid it. I have knitting to do these days, and since Buster flew to New Orleans, I have been watching. There are a lot of shows about Katrina on in the past few days, with the one year anniversary.
It is just as raw and shocking and heartbreaking, watching it one year later, as it was when it was happening. I just can’t get over that they left thousands of people stuck in the Superdome with no power, no food, no bathrooms, no water, no medicine for five days.
I have to say the same thing everyone else says “How can this be in America”? Even though I think that is a ridiculous statement. Why should America be any different? Poor is poor, and we neglect and mistreat our poorest citizens on a daily basis as a matter of policy. We don’t usually see it on TV, that’s all. Anyone living in poverty knows this. The rest of us are isolated and buffered by the comforting blindness our class status ensures.
It is no coincidence that most of the people left in that mess were black and poor. They are the ones who had no means of evacuation. They couldn’t get out without the government organizing busses. The busses the local leadership left parked in lots below sea level, the busses FEMA didn’t send, the busses no one prepared for a disaster they all knew was coming. The folks left behind didn’t have cars or money for gas and hotel rooms. If they chose to stay, it was because they had family members who were sick, elderly, or unable to leave. Or they felt they had so few possessions they couldn’t afford to leave them and go into the unknown with nothing.
Another rediculous thing I have heard too much of: "We never in our wildest dreams thought the levies would breach. It's just not something we thought could happen." Pah- lee-ze. Just the year before everyone concerned had been through Hurricane Pam, a training program to test what could happen. They knew exactly what would go down. No excuses.
Many people think the levies were purposely blown up to flood the poor neighborhoods in order to protect the rich areas. There is historical precedence for this; in previous floods that actually happened.
There is no question in my mind that the whole catastrophe is one big wake up call to us: Racism is alive and well and living right here with us. The same thing could happen here in my home town, my city, your city. We are all living in the same neighborhood, the neighborhood built of racism.
I haven’t read any other blogs discussing this, and I haven’t heard anyone talking about it except on TV news shows. Have you been thinking about it? Talking about it? What is your take on the situation? Do you see racism in your living, working, shopping life? How do you deal with that? Should we be talking about it more?
tags: katrina New Orleans