Sunday, April 15, 2007

Leonard Pitts Almost Gets It

A Leonard Pitts column in yesterday's Picayune (dated Apr. 9 on the Miami Herald website) is so well-intentioned that I'm reluctant to criticize it. Pitts criticizes the latest anti-New Orleans email to hit the Internet, one that purports to be from an emergency manager in Colorado who writes that they helped themselves in Colorado after a recent blizzard. Pitts gets some things right:
You point out patiently, calmly, that no snowstorm compares to Hurricane Katrina. ''When the snow melted,'' you say, ``your city was still there, so you're comparing apples to transmissions.''


But it is hard to stay patient and calm. It just gets to you, how niggardly, stupid and flat-out cold some of your own countrymen can be. Why, you ask, do they play this game of Whose Disaster Was Bigger? ``What's the f------ point of that? We have a disaster and we expect help. Are we arrogant, are we wrong for expecting it? Why are you pissed off with us? What did we do other than ask for what anybody else would quite naturally ask for and in all likelihood get quicker than we did?''

Unfortunately, Pitts neglects to mention that the federal government didn't do anything to make Colorado more vulnerable to blizzards. Rather than go into any detail about federal responsibility for the damage to New Orleans (I doubt I'd be telling any reader of this blog anything new) I'll just link to an USA Today article about the levee failures and John Barry's Katrina anniversary column. Also, Colorado is a mining state that splits mineral revenues 50-50 with the federal government -- revenue from activities that don't leave it more vulnerable to snowstorms. Louisiana gets much less from activity that does leave it more vulnerable to hurricanes.

Pitts also asked:
People were not this nasty toward Miami after Hurricane Andrew. So what is it about you?

I suspect that Pitts knows the answer to that question, but I also respect the probable reason why he didn't answer it. Pitts is a black columnist who frequently writes about a racial matters, he didn't want is plea for decent treatment for New Orleans to be dismissed as another instance of Pitts hopping on his usual soapbox. If that's the reason, I can certainly appreciate that. However, as white man who's never been accused of wearing an excessive amount of guilt on his sleeve, I feel quite comfortable stating the obvious. If you don't think there's been less willingness to help New Orleans because so many of the pictures coming out of New Orleans are of black faces, you're crazy. Oh sure, there are other reasons: the scope of the disaster makes the amount of aid needed seem unreasonable, Bush has shot the budget on Iraq and tax cuts, etc. But we all know what the main reason is. I'll rephrase that, any reasonable person knows what at least part of the reason is.

Still, even though I wish that Pitts had said more, it was good to see him point out that all we've asked for is "what anybody else would quite naturally ask for and in all likelihood get quicker than we did."

I've never been one to overstate racism but in this case it clearly can't be denied. Those speak of "bulldozing" the city would be quick to say it has nothing to do with the color its peoples and the truth is they really truly it doesn't. But there is simply no other way to look at it other than these people might just be heartless. And probably a little stupid. But not the harmless kind. The real incendiary stupid where they have a basic comprehension of the world around them but not a shred of critical thought.
Guess what's even funnier/sadder about the whole "Colorado Snowstorm" email?
It's not even about Colorado. Someone changed an earlier email about an actual snowstorm in (IIRC) North Dakota and "magically" made it about Colorado after that big snowstorm there that closed down the airport, etc.
But even the original, North Dakota email was fallacious (or, full of it, take your pick) because (this is all IIRC, but you can find the full explanation on if you search for it):
The National Guard was out rescuing people. The Governer declared a disaster and FEMA was called in to help w/money, etc.
Basically, the whole "snowstorm" email was from its creation a malicious, probably racist, attempt to defame New Orleanians with lies (lies to make us look bad, lies to make others in states full o' white folks) look good.
I think I'm going to slap the next person who forwards me that accursed email.
ok...I bothered to look it up for y'all - go check out:

for the full story. Disgusting. As Mr. Pitts said, "But what did we do to you that would make you turn on us?"
"But what did we do to you that would make you turn on us?"

The answer is: "You can never be like us here in NOLA."

I have trashed this "mighty white, almost God-like, survival tale" a few times since the Flood. I really don't feel like rehashing it again.

This is not about racism (as a lightbulb explodes in my brain), it's about a cultural divide, a chasm that cannot be crossed if one lacks a soul.

The people that don't want our area fixed are like bee drones: follow the rules of the ruling order, and just be happy that you are allowed to live. There is little joy in the lives of such creatures. They are soulless and they spend their lives amassing the collateral that "may" allow them to finally "experience" some form of spirit in another plane.

Someone who really "gets" New Orleans has soul... we live next door to each other, no matter what the race of those on each side of the fence. We laugh, dance, sing and cry together. We take the good with the bad TOGETHER.

We live by the cycles of Nature and community. Our lives are tied closely to the Natural world... we know we are not the Masters and Mistresses of our domain, unlike the outsiders think of their world. We KNOW that it takes all of us together to make our culture work.

The "Outsiders" can never wrap their minds around that fact, and they hate it that WE CAN.

(and now I'm going to continue this on my Blog since the Goddess is screaming in my ear on this topic.)
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Old Favorites
  • Political Boxing (untitled)
  • Did Bush Take His Ball and Go Home
  • Teratogens and Plan B
  • Foghorn Leghorn Republicans
  • Quote of the Day
  • October's News(Dec.1)
  • untitled, Nov.19 (offshore revenue)
  • Remember Upton Sinclair
  • Oct. Liar of thr month
  • Jindal's True Colors
  • No bid contracts