September 4 2005

Looting Vs. Finding

People were shocked by Kanye West’s commentary during the NBC live telecast on Friday, where he said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people!”. (video can be found here and a written transcript here) It seems people are unaware that racism does still exist in this country, even in this day and age.

Sadly, the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina has brought this to the forefront of the national scene again. Sad, only in that it took a natural disaster to do it. Earlier this week, this was demonstrated nowhere as clearly as it was in two newswire pictures that came out (Thank you to Luis at BlogD for allowing me to use his edit of the picture, as it was the cleanest I had seen.):

Photo Captions

The photo on the left is an AP photo, the one on the right is an AFP photo. AFP has requested that all news outlets remove their photo now, but oddly, AP has not. Did you spot the difference boys and girls? It seems if you are a young black man with food items, you are a “looter”, but if you are young white people with food items, you can go to some magical land where you “find” food. (I have also heard that unicorns prounce and play there, but I digress…) The reporter who filed the AFP photo has now said he really does believe those folks found that food. I love this bit though:

“The people were swimming in chest deep water, and there were other people in the water, both white and black. I looked for the best picture. there were a million items floating in the water – we were right near a grocery store that had 5+ feet of water in it. it had no doors. the water was moving, and the stuff was floating away. These people were not ducking into a store and busting down windows to get electronics. They picked up bread and cokes that were floating in the water. They would have floated away anyhow.”

Remember boys and girls, if it’s floating, it’s free!

I am not slamming the people in the pictures at all, they needed food, they got it however they could. There is a difference between this and “looting” as far as I am concerned. So why in the world was the AP photo labelled as “looting”, while the AFP was not? The reason really is obvious, and it disgusts me. It disgusts me even further that the “find” photo has been removed, while the “looting” has not. What is that all about? Yahoo issued a statement on this whole debacle, which you can find here.

So how does this all relate to what Kanye West said about President Bush? Simple. Racism is alive and thriving in this country. Again I will remind you all of a very simple time line. Two days after 9/11, Bush stands on a flatbed truck with his arm around a fireman saying we will bring these villians to justice. Two days after Katrina, Bush sits in his house in Crawford, TX enjoying his vacation.

You decide what this means.

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