Katrina's Hidden Race War
I just read this a second time. I could really rant on this for hours and I actually did a short rant in the comment section of Katrina vanden Heuvel's post on the HuffPo. , but I guess they saw fit not to publish the last portion of it.
But let me just pull this sentence out of The Nation article:
"Now it's clear that some of the most serious crimes committed during that time were the work of gun-toting white males."
Some being what? I mean what kind of statement is that? That's like saying "Now it's clear that during the L.A. riots, some of the most serious crimes were the work of Hispanic males....so we now have a Hispanic crime war!"
Did rednecks at The Point shoot at African-Americans? I'm sure they did.
Is it right? No.
Should they be prosecuted? Absolutely.
Will they? No.
Why? Because that's just one of a thousand violent episodes which took place during that time.
Are they not being prosecuted because of a racially motivated cover up? Give me a fucking break.
Was it a "Race War"? Give me a bigger fucking break.
I don't doubt for one second that these incidents are true...but they are a drop in the bucket to the overall level of lawlessness and crime which occurred in the days following the Federal Flood. There are so many "incidents" which occurred in those days of horror, it just really peeves me to see a "national" (pun intended) reporter cherry pick incidents and call it "Katrina's Hidden Race War"
....gets your blood pumping doesn't it?
I've got an interview, on tape, with a young lady who was in the Dome who witnessed an elderly woman thrown over the walkway outside simply because "...she was a white woman". I've got interviews with people on Dumaine Street who told me of a band of men (African-American) with guns, a police officer included, who were systematically hunting down drug dealers and thugs in their neighborhood and killing them.
Point being....a lot of horrible things took place during that time. Were there white racists with guns shooting at people? I'm sure there were. Were there black racists with guns shooting at people? I'm sure there were.
Had Thompson framed this story as "Katrina's Hidden Vigilante War" I would have no problem with it because I think there were many, many vigilante incidents which went untold or unreported...one of the most egregious being a beheading of a child molester at the Convention Center (the headless body was actually shown underneath a blanket on CNN for a about a 10 hour period then the story mysteriously disappeared). And of course I don't have an issue with him reporting that there were white racists at Algiers point who were targeting African-Americans...that story needs to be told, and those assholes need to be prosecuted. But calling it a "Race War"....that's fucking insane and purposely inflammatory.....it's simply bad journalism.
A reporter could take that single story from the Dome which I just referred to, easily find 10 other incidents where white people were murdered, and imply that there was a race war against white people during the Katrina chaos...as a matter of fact I probably just gave some right wing asshole a great idea...shame on me.
I guess I'm just tired of these asswipe reporters like Nossiter, and now Thompson, coming into the city and exposing "horrible, racist conspiracies" when I guaranfuckingtee you I could go into their cities and do the exact same thing a thousand times over. If you keep framing things in terms of Race Wars...that's exactly what you're going to get.
The days following the Federal Flood were simply a breakdown in HUMAN CIVILITY....and that can happen anywhere at any fucking time given the right circumstances....White, Black, Puerto Rican....everybody is capable of freakin' (sorry Prince).
So I'm still workin on the bomb....it's just taking time...I'll call it the Manhattan Project :).
Exactly my reaction. Extremism in the defense of liberty. It's more sensationalism from the carpetbagging anarchists who would rather, in the most intellectually incurious manner, make a lot of noise about a single injustice, than allow into the frame a wider perspective revealing systemic problems. Watch for E to write about this. We talked about it last night briefly. Vanden Heuval and her readers should learn that you can't ask a question like "Will there be justice in New Orleans?" while ignoring everything that's happened in the three-plus years since those first horrific few days after Katrina, to tell the longer narrative of incompetence, secrecy, corruption, partisan agendas, corporate profiteering, and bureaucratic unresponsiveness which has been the record of injustice perpetrated on every New Orleanian by George W. Bush, Baton Rouge, and worst of all, by Ray Nagin. Can we now call Ray Nagin a murderous racist too, because he refuses to fund youth recreation activities to, predominantly, black children, and would, apparently, prefer that they roam the streets dealing crack and heroine? What about the injustice of bulldozing an entire neighborhood to spend more money to build a new hospital, rather than renovate an existing hospital -- and the fact that it's now more than three years since that charity facility was closed? Was this the best Thompson could do? You could easily find a story about racism in any town in America in a matter of hours if you start asking around. There will be a lot of injustices which occurred in those first few days which will go unprosecuted, but what about the record of injustice which has occurred since then? And what about the record of accomplishment driven by a city of people strengthened through their experience of fighting institutional injustice in order to rebuild the city better than it was before? Piss on Thompson. He's an idiot.
you said it much more eloquently than I.
I've read that story again and thought about it some more and I think it's even more apparent to me The Nation is trying to create "A National News Expose!!!!". I really don't think they're so much concerned about justice as they are a Pulitzer.
I really don't have an issue with the fact he reported the story... I'm glad he did..it's just the way he framed it. Then the editor goes on the HuffPo and implies there's a cover up....come on.
They're baiting this story. It's really sad to me because there are some bigger issues here which should be addressed.
Okay, yes. I totally buy that and have had people I know show me police reports that they gave at the time that were never followed up. And yes, I agree that racism went both ways.
But my husband and I lived on Algiers Point, we knew these people. We didn't believe them. It's had me up all night and I'm working on a followup post now that I'm calmed down a bit.
It's one thing to hear a report of something, or even get confirmation that the report is true. It's a totally different emotional dynamic when the people who were doing the shooting then bragging about it were folks you drank with at the Old Point.
At least for me it is.
It's interesting you said that because I had someone else tell me they were just fucking with Thompson on that video he shot. It would be interesting to find out if they were serious or just screwing around.
Well, the dude couldn't get a Pulitzer. Those only go to daily or weekly newspapers. Maybe if he wrote a book about this, but he doesn't strike me as Studs Turkel, exactly.
I thought The Nation was a weekly....my bad.
If they were hamming it up for the camera, it's still abysmal.
This has been on my mind all day today. I can't believe I'll spend part of Xmas Eve writing about this, but the follow up post has been percolating all day. Not always a good thing.
And yes, we got some huge problems that need to be resolved. Shroeder, as you said, put it better than I could.
I don't think, however, that that means we should ignore the possibility that there are possible, alleged (add your own cover-our-asses adjective) killers out there bragging about it on tape.
for Legba's sake, we have murderers in this city bragging about it all the time....they were bragging before Katrina and they're bragging now. We're the murder capital of the fucking country....let's frame this thing from that perspective first and then take a look at everything else. Rebecca, this is a ridiculous way to present this story unless you're the National Enquirer. Surely you see that...no?
This was pretty much my reaction.
If someone were to do a through criminal investigation and bring charges against anyone who participated in post Katrina violence, I'm all for it.
Many of the stories are myth. Many of the people bragging a making shit up. I worry about the people who aren't talking.
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