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Saturday, September 10, 2005

The White Cocoon

According to Newsweek, white people don't seem to think race was much of a factor in the New Orleans rescue debacle:
Twenty-two percent of all those polled say a "major reason" the response was slow was that it was not a priority because the people affected were mostly African-American. However, 47 percent of non-whites believe race was a major reason, while only 13 percent of whites believe it. And 29 percent of all those polled and 53 percent of non-whites say a major reason was that the people affected were mostly poor. (Only 20 percent of whites feel that way.)

(my emphasis)
Digby reflects on the decision by the police of the (predominantly white) community of Gretna City to shoot guns over the heads of the (predominantly black) people trying to cross the only bridge to safety and drive them back:
The reason they weren't allowed to walk out that night, of course, is simple. The police chief says it right out. They decided that saving their fully evacuated "bedroom community" from what they assumed would be "looting, pillaging and burning" by victims of the hurricane was more important than allowing people to save their own lives by walking through their town to safety up the road.

Picture for a moment young women with their children, old people, families, single people gathered together in a make-shift community in the middle of chaos approaching police officers on a bridge begging for help. Picture them being white. Do you think the police would shoot over their heads and push them back? Even if they did that would they then land a helicopter in their midst in the middle of the night, not to rescue dying elderly, but to force their somewhat safe, visible make-shift community out into the pitch black anarchy of the city?
What the fuck are these people on? From Wolf Blitzer's "they are so poor and so black" comments to the ugly attacks on the "welfare state" this whole travesty has done nothing if not exponentially underscore the racism that still pervades every scintilla of life in this country. You'd have to be blind, deaf and extraordinarily stupid to count yourself as a member of that 87%.

Paging Mr. Goldberg...