September 04, 2005

The Brilliance of Kanye West

As everyone is now brutally aware, musician, record producer and conspiracy theorist Kanye West had a meltdown during NBC's Hurricane Katrina Relief Telethon last night. He claimed that "America is set up to help the poor, the black people the less well off as slow as possible," that "they've given them permission to go down and shoot us,"and top it off, that "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Dan Riehl has the video.

As you may well imagine, many people were turned off by West's assertions, and the Red Cross and NBC were both inundated with rightfully outraged callers angry that West would politicize such an event, and furious that NBC chose to broadcast the footage instead of dumping it.

Of course, West's assertions are each and every one idiotic.

Hurricane Katrina like all major hurricanes, caused widespread, catastrophic destruction in every neighborhood in an area the size of Great Britain. Somehow, West was unable to reconcile the fact that predominantly white resort communities were also destroyed, or that while New Orleans is all but evacated now, these mostly-white communities are still waiting upon aid.

While authorities did call for a stiff response to rampaging looters, shoot-to-kill orders were never issued for a certain race, but only for specific actions including shooting at police officers. Those merely looking for food for survivial were never targeted. Of course, Mr. West doesn't let facts stand in his way.

As for "not caring about black people," Bush's record of appointing more minorities to key positions of power than any president in history, speaks for itself.

His comments were irrational, foolish, and lacking in any credibility, but they do fit a pattern of behavior.

West once claimed this double whammy:

"It's a man-made disease in the first place that was placed in Africa just like crack was placed in the black community to break up the Black Panther party."

Men made AIDs? God might tend to disagree, as mankind has never been able to synthesize an entirely new lifeform, even something as simple as a virus.

The Marxist-Leninist Black Panther Party subsided in power by the early 1970s and was completely disbanded by 1977. It was only after the Black Panthers were all but destroyed that crack was invented.

Of course, you don't have to bother with providing facts or even making sense if you're Kanye West, college dropout and conspiracy star, because you're JUST THAT BRILLIANT.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 4, 2005 12:47 AM | TrackBack

I try desparately to accept people for who they are and how they conduct themselves. It served me well for 31 years of active duty in the U.S. Army. Kanye West is very obviously bigoted and his comments/remarks only serve one purpose - to feed his own bigotry. Unfortunately, they also serve to perpetuate racial bigotry within our coutry. At a time of natural disaster such as Katrine, there is no room for divisive rhetoric. It will only serve to foment an already volitile situation.

Unfortuantely, people who are victims of disaster who do not receive almost immediate aid and assistance, begin to believe no one cares. Rationalization goes out the window - the individual becomes paramount - everything else be damned. Selfishness becomes the order of the day. This behavior is indicative of the situation - not the individual and certainly not the individual's race. Kanye's rhetoric implies that this was somehow devised to have a greater impact on black people; that the government has devised a way to slow response to the poor (especially the black poor). These are the thoughts and words of a very small, introspective and selfish person.

I am not outraged by Kanye's comments, although I certainly do not appreciate nor concur they have any validity. I am deeply saddened by the catastrophe that has fallen upon our Gulf Coast region and my heart goes out to all victims. I pray God will send the help that each and every soul needs and that those directly involved in rescue efforts as well as those supporting such efforts will receive super human strength and endurance with which to do what is required. I also pray the discordant commentary will either cease or be totally ineffectual.

May God bless all effected by this disasterous storm.

Posted by: John Yetter, CW5, USA (Retired) at September 4, 2005 09:02 AM

This response picks up on some of the ideas from the "Red Cross Under Seige" blog since many of the ideas overlap. When I saw Kanye's unscripted tirade I saw a man that was deeply hurt and moved by the tragic events of the week. It seems as though many that have been responding are more interested in marginalizing Kanye, who made an emotional plea, rather than trying to understand where he is coming from.

True, Kanye has typically been arrogant and boisterous in the media limelight (even though his work does speak for itself). True, some of his statements were "off". However the spirit and the message were right on. No, the government did not invent crack to wipe out the Black Panther Party, but there is voluminous data that shows a concerted government effort to dismantle the BPP (look up COINTELPRO).

More important, Kanye seemed to be speaking less as a celebrity and more as a citizen who also happens to be Black. I have read many of the comments and it is disturbing how so many people are wholly ready to dismiss an individual's experience and perspective. Racism seems to be cast as a matter soley of economic success. If you see people that look like you constantly on the short end of the stick it starts to get to you! The question is powerful. What if a natural disaster happend in Denver, or Dallas, or Manhattan, or Orange County, or Boise?

Now some may lay the blame here at the feet of the mayor for not getting 20,000 people evacuated in 48-24 hours. That is pretty funny. i read in another blog that the heads of FEMA and DHS both were involved in a conference in which the severity of this hurricane was declared, but neither went to New Orleans (or Biloxi for that matter) and offered their support or made sure things were in order just in case. Also, it has been known for decades the peril of New Orleans, but the local leaders were unable to get money to strenghten the levees and FEMA ought to have been prepared just in case. That is their job. FEMA is supposed to be on the ready for national disasters. They knew there was a possibility of disaster. Blame for an event of this magnitude can be laid at many doorsteps. But again, if this had happened in New York how would people respond to Bloomberg's actions and would they hold him soley responsible?

President Bush comes into the picture because he is the Commander in Chief. He appointed the heads of FEMA and DHS. He did sit back for a couple days in spite of what was being reported on television. In addition, many of the President's policies have not been beneficial for marginalized groups. One comment said that Bush has had more "ethnic" appointments than any other president. But the point is not necessarily just faces and numbers. It is also philosophy and perspective. Many Blacks and Latinos do not support the views of Condi Rice or Att. Gn Gonzalez. Ward Connerly says he never benefitted from affirmative action. Just because you are Black does not necessarily mean that you support the best interests of the culture or race.

So why did Kanye pull the race card? Simple. America is a country predicated on race. Race was "invented" to decide who had access to resources and who did not. It has also been used to construct images and expectations of people. The arrogance of many that claim that all you have to do is work hard to succeed is disturbing. It is hard to know what life is like for another, but it is not always that easy. There are issues of expectations, curriculum and quality of your school, language, cultural conflict, values, etc. Some ways of thinking, acting, knowing are privilged while others are marginalized. All to often in U.S. history non White groups (and the poor) have been treated as second class citizens in part because of cultural differences.

True, Italians, Irish, and other Europeans were not treated horribly when they first immigrated, but were also gradually allowed the mantle of Whiteness (see David Roediger and Noewl Ignatiev) while many other groups continued to be held outside that identity. An age old story is that the first word immigrants learned at Ellis Iland was okay. The first word they learned on the street was nigger. this is not complaining. It is an explanation for why this is a difficult issue. Otherwise it would not be a big deal for Los Angeles to have a Latino mayor, or Barak Obama elected to the Senate.

Race is difficult to talk about essentially becasue many do not want to admit the privilege gained from the color of your skin, or the content of your wallet, or who you have sex with, or if you have a penis,or who you pray too. What ends up happening is the media chooses to show how we can all get along (see how ABC, NBC, CBS, and other news outlets always have at least one report about how folks are coming together across groups) without really exploring the strucutural issues that cause these tensions and do not offer an outlet for the nation to redress these issues. That is what Kanye is talking about.

I apologize for going long, but this is complicated and using sound bites or simple senteces to explain a phenomenal problem that has been almost half a millenium in the making exacerbates the problem. People should read a little more about racism, privilege, colonialism, culture, representation, and power. Remeber, Kanye is an outraged citizen first and foremost. Engage, dont dismiss...

Posted by: postmodernthiner at September 5, 2005 01:20 AM

I have no interest in understanding where Kanye West is coming from. Quite frankly, it is irrelevant to me where he picks up ignorant conspiracy theories that our government orchestrated 9/11/01, or purposefully decided to practice genocide in New Orleans. He has a history of comments that speak to unseriousness, arrogance, and unwarranted paranoia. To say he is a bit “off” is to trivialize the fact that he was accusing the President of the United States, tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors, reservists, and guardsmen, along with thousands of government employees, as part of a vast conspiracy to commit genocide against blacks in Louisiana.

The spirit of the message was not “right on;” he owes an apology to every man, woman, and child in the United States that has pitched in to help all Americans affected by this disaster, regardless of race, creed, or national origin. West accused good people of the most despicable crime imaginable, and directly slandered “the least racist president in mind and soul there has ever been,” as Ben Stein described Bush yesterday, basing all of his (west's) comments on his own incomplete, uneducated, and heavily biased view of the world.

As for where the blame lies:

Local and state authorities draw up hurricane emergency plans.

Locally, Nagin failed to secure NOPD, NOFD, and NO EMS assets by moving them inland, out of the strike zone. This is a common sense practice and near universal in execution. Nagin failed to move his assets to secure staging areas, and lost a significant amount of police, fire and emergency services assets as a direct result.

Also as part of the City of New Orleans written disaster plan, the Mayor is supposed to use buses to evacuate the poor, elderly and infirm out of the evacuation zone. Again, Nagin could not follow simple written directions, and 205 school buses sat idle along with 364 buses from the NO Metro transport authority. If he has used these assets, 31,140 people who were left behind could have been evacuated if the buses had made just one run. If they had been able to make 3 trips, virtually the entire city could have been evacuated. Instead, these 500+ buses didn’t roll one block, or save one person.

On the state level, Governor Blanco’s Louisiana Homeland Security Dept. blocked, and continues to block, the Red Cross from entering New Orleans. Because George Bush is not a dictator, he simply couldn’t override Blanco’s decision to halt Red Cross aid from flowing into the city.

I want to say it again one more time so that it sinks in: Governor Blanco stopped the Red Cross from entering New Orleans. Sit and stew on that a while.

As o Saturday, with New Orleans when New Orleans has been under water for days and the waters were actually starting to recede, Governor Blanco had still not authorized a State of Emergency order releasing the Louisiana National Guard to federal control.

It almost goes without saying, but the consensus among other state governments and federal officials before hurricane season is that Louisiana did not measure up to national disaster response standards, and that state and local emergency managers needed to be self sufficient for the first 72-96 hours. Louisiana and New Orleans emergency management efforts failed prior to landfall.

FEMA certainly has had their share of apparent failures, but federal aid units still reacted days sooner to Katrina than they did when Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992. And yet society held together just fine (all things considered, of course) in Florida, while Louisiana became a post-apocolyptic nightmare. The big difference between Andrew and Katrina? We had competent state and local government in Florida, versus incompetent leadership at every level of Louisiana government.

Let’s see if the political Mr. West will apologize for his bigotry and slander, and see if he is honest enough to admit his errors in placing blame. Based upon past behavior, the answer is fairly obvious. You can claim that Kanye West is and outraged citizen all you like. It is quite apparent that he is really nothing more than a petulant, semi-educated man-child, and a bigot.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 5, 2005 03:22 AM

"Let’s see if the political Mr. West will apologize for his bigotry and slander,:Confederate Yankee"

Now that there's funny, I don't care WHO you are, that's funny....

Posted by: TexasFred at September 5, 2005 06:01 AM

That was a great response Confederate Yankee. And I have to admit that it makes me question the actions of the local and state authorities. I still believe since FEMA and DHS have their responsibilities they were not proactive in their assistance. It would be different if there were reports expressing how FEMA and DHS were suggesting or trying to ensure that local and state officials were getting things lined up. As I said, there is plenty of blame to throw around.

One thing I noticed about your eloquent response is that once again the discussion about race and its role in American culture and society was skirted. It would seem to me as an alternative media source that engages political and philosophical perspectives that you would want to take up a discussion about a factor, regardless of how you feel about it, that obviously has an effect on social situations. You are also dismissing the general feeling about President Bush many people of color have. Or is the purpose of this site merely to serve as a sounding board where like minded people can just thump their chest and never really critically examine their ideas?

Or is there strong legitimacy to the claim that White people and those who adopt Whiteness do not have to think about race?

Posted by: postmodernthinker at September 6, 2005 12:51 AM

PMT, this might come as a shock to you, but some people are post-racial in their thinking.

President Bush is already there, and I'm not sold on the concept of race myself, especially after this past week. Different forces are at play, and race does not describe them. Read "Tribes" by Bill Whittle at Eject! Eject! Eject!, and tell me if you buy into it anymore after reading it.

I fully intend to tackle the subject of tribes and culture in the near future. A lot of us in the blogosphere seem willing to take on that battle now (thanks to the blinding ignorance and blame-game tactics of Kanye West and others), as we should. We've stayed away from discussing the problems of some of the cultures in our society for far too long. It is time to confront West, Sharpton, Duke and other thugs of identity poltics head on and crush them for once and for all.

Certain tribe mindsets and cultures work. Other tribes and cultures fail. Hurricane Katrina shows us with every bloated corpse that at least one culture, one way of thinking and living, has utterly failed as a viable cultural construct. It must be discarded and replaced.

The game, as they say, is afoot.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 6, 2005 02:10 AM

What exactly did Kanye say? It couldn't have been as bad as Wolf Blitzer's comment: "..So poor and so black..." Way to ad lib, Wolf. Next time he'll stick to the teleprompter.

Posted by: jt at September 6, 2005 12:52 PM

jt, click the link in "Dan Riehl has the video." yourself and you can watch Kanye explain it himself.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 6, 2005 01:40 PM

in response to kanye. i love the cats music, but he was so off on these comments it is unreal.The look on myers face alone should win him and chris tucker honorary Oscars. This is a great blog, thanks for making me smile and rant a little about some of the things that tick me off and laugh at the same time.

Posted by: sara at September 6, 2005 03:44 PM

It's funny how when it comes to a black person making a comment about how bad they are treated, they are the one's who are racist; blah, blah, blah but had one of another race make the same comment, not a d*mn thing would have been said! Everyone knows this and frankly I am sick of it!

Posted by: Lisa at September 6, 2005 08:34 PM

Let's be honest here. Why are you really upset? I think it is because you all know it's the truth. It's not fair to treat Kanye's opinion as isolated when that same opinion is held by almost all of the black population in America. By the way we are americans. So why does the media keep calling people displaced by the hurrican refugees. Look it up! People are still treating us like foreigners in our own country. To those of you that are thinking his comments were uncalled for, think again. He did exactly what he set out to do and that was bring attention to the situation.

Posted by: Michele at September 6, 2005 11:26 PM

So because a segment of a population believes in something - say, that the earth is flat, or that O.J. really is looking for the "real killers," or that gypsies, jews and other inferiors are dragging down the "master race" - that makes the wrong-headed opinion valid? Sorry, it doesn't.

It is particularly sad that your clamp onto something that you never would have been offended by 24 hours before before -the accurate word "refugee" - simply because a publicity-whore like Jesse Jackson told you it should be bad. Are you an independent thinker, or a follower?

Princeton defined a refugeee as "an exile who flees for safety." Did the citizens of New Orleans flee to other places of refuge when their city was swallowed up by floodwaters? A simple "yes" will do.

Save your race-baiting for someone who buys into the victimization. I think you are probably every bit as talented and have the same chance of success as anyone else, if you decide to take it. If you decide that you want to buy into an ideology of failure, that is your choice.

But if you honestly think that by showing his ignorance yet again Kanye West did anything but hurt the relief effort, you're simply beyond help, Michele. People called in to the Red Cross in outrage over his bigoted hatred, and many more simply turned away.

Keep buying into the victim mindset, and a victim is all you will ever be. Dr. Bill Cosby has been trying to tell your community leaders just that for several years. Apparently, the message isn't getting out as well as he had hoped.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 6, 2005 11:59 PM

It is sad that one of the richest countries in the world is unable to help its own people, when so many are homeless and dying. It's even sadder that a country that prides itself on FREEDOM and EQUALITY for all, does not have the heart to stick up for each other, when its government is too preoccupied with their own agenda. An agenda that that has been proprelled by one MAN'S greed. ( HMM,I wonder who that could be.) It is commendable that a person in the media, such as Kanye, had the courage to stick up not only for black people, but also for all Americans who have thought the same thing but have not been in the position to speak their mind. He has captivated the meaning of living in a country that claims to encourage a person's individualism and their rights as a human. It is sad that the rest of us are not making moves to fufill are own peoples basic rights to food, shelter, water, and just a BIT of concern.

Posted by: clarisa perochena at September 7, 2005 01:26 AM

Keep holding onto your victimhood, Clarisa. It has done you so well so far,with a culture where you abort 3 of 5 of you children, roughly half your men have criminal records, and most of your kids will never know a two-parent home. Know who to thank for that? The Demcratic Party.

Southern Democrats owned slaves, a Republican freed them. Democrats formed the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War to deny blacks the right to vote, and held that power for 100 years until Republicans finally forced thorugh Civil Rights legislation. Johnson's "Great Society" destroyed the black family, and how do blacks respond?

They unquestioningly vote for their oppressors, lock-step, unthinking, one generation after another.

The Lord helps those who help themselves, Clarisa, and you still vote for a party that boasts the last living Klansman in the Senate, while demonizing the only president who has ever had a non-racial bone in his body, becuase that is how you were told to think.

One of these days, hopefully before too long, you wake up to the fact that you've been played for fools for decades by the Democratic Party, and the party that would actually like to help you get your own small businesses started gets kicked in the teeth.

The funny thing is, Republicans will likely place the first black President in the White House, and will you response? You'll call him or her a house nigger.

Quite frankly, if you aren't willing to think about why you vote for who you vote for, and change, you deserve what you get. America promises you a chance, but you have to take it. If you are unwilling to reach for the brass ring, don't cry when you don't get it.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 7, 2005 02:01 AM

It all comes down to the fact that too much time passed before these Americans were rescued. There is going to be an investigation into this and hopefully in the unfortunate event that a disaster such as this occurs again we will be more prepared. I feel that after it was over Mr. West had regret with the way he handled his emotions. I was embarrased and somewhat offended as a Black American Woman, But I forgave him, he is only human........

Posted by: ProudBlackAmerican at September 7, 2005 09:54 AM

It seems that no one understands that what kanye said was in response to the fact that white people stealing from grocery stores has been portrayed as "just finding food," whereas black people doing the exact same thing have been portrayed as "looting." This much is true, the media has been biased in their reporting. As to why he chose to make the personal stab at Bush... Kanye is an idiot, what more can you expect?

Posted by: danel at September 7, 2005 12:49 PM


Posted by: th right on at September 7, 2005 01:09 PM

Danel, have you ever heard of Snopes?

That is the site devoted to proving or disproving urban legends. If you go there, you will find this article which explains that the whole "looting" versus "finding" story evolved from exactly two pictures shot, and then captioned by different photographers for different news agencies. An urban legend then grew from this, and could probably be credited to lilly-white liberal and race-baiting blogger Wonkette (that is where I saw it first).

First things first, BOTH photos show minorities.

The black male in the first ("looting") photo is obviously just that, a black teenager.

The "white couple," in the second ("finding") photo, however, is actually a black or hispanic female, and a white or very light-skinned hispanic male.

Furthermore, if you read down, you will see that photographer Dave Martin watched the black teenager actively loot a grocery store, while second photographer Chris Graythen, said of the couple that:

"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."

In short, the story is true in that they called a looter a looter and a finder a finder.

Facts are not racist. Too bad there is so much racism looking for an excuse to be in the "professional victim" community.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 7, 2005 01:30 PM

If you want the truth....then as a a a people you have to be completely honest with yourselves and each other. Kanye West was only voicing, as someone previously pointed out, the sentiments of basically the entire American black population, give or take a few. Face the facts..Black people and white people are different. Face it. Not just a little different..but completely different. It has been my observation that blacks in America overwhelmingly believe that the country and white people in general not only owe them a living, owe them a free ride, but owe them a job (affirmative action) as well as a free education. Whenever black people screw up and commit unforgiveable atrocities (like shooting at the very people risking life and limb to rescue them...mudering police and their own people) the liberal media says the same tired old thing "it is because they are is because of their environment that they have to go out and steal DVD players and five pair of Nikes" or how about "because they are dissillusioned and poor they had to assemble into gun toting mobs of criminals".. and terrorize not only the white people they could find by robbing, raping and murdering, but even more sad than that, they brutalized their own people! They attacked their own women. They rioted and caused nothing but problems every step of the way. As best as I caould tell I didnt see any white men going around raping women or rioting at the Superdome. Who is to blame for that?! Why didnt this same type of event unfold in Florida during Andrew? Why didn't it happen in Manhatten on 9/11? What is it in a persons DNA or genetic makeup that would cause them, in a time of pure desperation and tragedy, to prey upon their own people. To take an already tragic event and turn it into pure "hell on earth" as Heraldo called it. We are not talking about garden variety, hard working Cosby show black Americans. We are talking about gang bangers, animals, brutal, horrible savages. The police found a five year old girl in the NO convention center, brutally gang raped and her throat slit. Do you want to know the REAL reason the rescue workers and other help was so slow to arrive? THEY HAD GANGS OF BLACKS SHOOTING AT THEM!!!!!! Would you go into a flooded, dark city to risk life and limb to rescue people who are SHOOTING at you? Or would you wait until the national guard or police showed up to secure the area and ensure that you dont die yourself? It baffles me how a group of people can claim racism over and over and over again as an excuse for their own pathetic, disgraceful behavior. Enough is enough. Take some responsibility. Bush didn't make these people stay home during a category 4 hurricane...they chose to! Is it my fault as a white American that some of these poeple didnt have a car or weren't smart enough to buy a bus ticket or WALK to safety? When you shoot at officials and intimidate rescue workers who are trying to bring you food and medical DESERVE to starve. Nobody in the media will point these things out and I dont understand why. These people terrorized each other!!...the government didnt. Every black leader in America is on TV saying that the president and white Americans hate or dont care about black people. Did you ever stop and wonder why that may be? Instead of spending every waking minute trying to play the victim or coming on MTV 35 times a day to show how "thug" you all are, why dont you stop taking from society and start giving back. Why not improve your community instead of destroy it with drugs and violence. Why not sacrfice self for the good of your fellow Americans instead of reaching out and grabbing anything you can get your hands on while complaining every step of the way. And if it is SO bad here in America and "whitey" just wont let you get a break...remember there are hundreds of flights leaving EVERY DAY for Niger or Ethiopia or South Africa. No bling bling, no rims, no FUBU, just lots of AID's and starvation. Hop to it.

Posted by: citizenX at September 7, 2005 01:58 PM

Never knew so much "Venom & Hate" still existed!!!

Posted by: Citizen88 at September 7, 2005 04:22 PM

Wow. citizenX sure is cranky. Must be too much starch in that sheet he's wearing...

Again, it isn't about race, it is about tribes.

Please read it.

You choose who you associate with, and you choose what kind of person you are going to be. A significant portion of black society is failing, but it isn't anyone else's fault. You choose and create your own cultures and subcultures, choose and create your own role models, and choose and create your own belief systems.

As much as I hate to admit it, a lot of the comments on this and the other thread from blacks (with a few notable exceptions) just go to reinforce exactly what the sheet-wearers believe.

It seems to be that a significant portion of the black population buys into their own inferiority. I have have a simpe question for these folks: how can I help convince ignorant people of other races that you are just as good as they are, if you don't buy it yourself?

Start respecting your women, start respecting your families, push for role models that are worthwhile and then, and only then, if you aren't successful you can blame it on others. The thug lifestyle running rampant in black popular culture is killing it from the inside.

Of course, I'm just a cracker, so what do I know?

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 7, 2005 05:46 PM

I'd also like to point out that a significant portion of the black population has not bought into the tribe of failure and is doing well in the middle class. Why? They chose to succeed, and had the will to follow it through.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 7, 2005 06:04 PM

I am not at all surprised that some people in this day and time choose to believe that one race is superior to another. There is good and evil in evrey race. John Wayne Gacy was a savage that sought out his own race to kill and rape. Young tender white men, that could have contributed to society, but I guess the ignorant people will have some excuse why he and countless of others from the so-called master race exist..... Maybe he was a light skinned hispanic male.

Posted by: ProudBlackAmerican at September 7, 2005 06:15 PM

Mr. West has every right to voice his opinion but the fact that he did it on a telethon, I believe, is thoughtless. Not only did he make the comment about President Bush but also claimed that an order was given to shoot black folks. Come On!! Can you be any more ignorant and mis-informed? That was way out of line. You actually believe that our President is a closet racist and after aaaaalllllll that happened he just sat back and said," you know what, lets not send in any help to them right now cuz their black folks and I don't really care for them". Get your facts straight!! All you're doing is perpetuating more hostility and most of these comments are coming from celebrities who never supported Prisident Bush in the first place and now they figure it is a great opportunity to bash Bush in the midst of this horrible disaster. I believe people need to stop trying to make this into a RACE issue and make it into a humanitarian issue. I can't stand the fact that Mayor Nagin is just going on and on about how the federal govt. and everyone else has just abandoned the people of New Orleans because their black and poor. I find it amazing the HUGE difference in composure and the way Mayor Nagin carries himself and presents himself in the midst of all this and the way Mayor Giuliani did on 9/11. Think about it. I believe he is making sure that he is deflecting his actions, or lack of it, and just from the beginning blaming the govt. for lack of help. He is at fault just as well. Have you seen the pictures of school buses left in their lots when it could have been used to evacuate people? I believe everyone is jumping on this bandwagon about people being "abandoned" because they are "black". Give me a break!! I don't believe it one bit. I'm actually getting sick and tired of people crying racism. How about HUMANITY!!

Posted by: smallfry at September 8, 2005 11:04 AM

That was the exact point that I was trying to make Yankee....and no I do NOT wear a sheet I can assure you. I just get very heated and offended when a group of people choose to blame anyone and everything for their station in life yet never take a moment to wonder if maybe they are to blame in some way. For every action there is reaction. I know for a fact that there are many hard working, well educated and honorable black people in America who raise their kids with respect, who pay their taxes and contribute to society as much if not more than anyone else. The problem that exists is that in the black community it is not considered cool to be well educated or hard working or responsible. As a culture they do not reward other black people or praise each other for going to college, striving for better careers etc. They do however reward and admonish the most violent, the ones who have spent the most time in prison as well as the one who has the thickest gold chain, has the most stray kids and sells the most rock to make that $$. Young blacks see Bill Cosby as an old fool but they worship every word that some rapper with five bullet wounds say's in a song. The same types that make up a whopping 80% of our prison system. And the sad part is that is virtually all that you see. You dont see the images of the single black mother working two jobs to feed her kids. Instead you see the uncivilized lowlifes who dance around on TV like idiots and talk about nothing except demeaning women and being a criminal. I dont know but if I were being represented and judged (yes judged) by the actions of a few idiots who were giving me as a hard working, honorable family man a rep of "ghetto thug" I believe that I would speak up and speak against that type of persona because it really doesn't do anything for creating relations with other civilized people. I know parts of my post sound racist to some, but I assure you that is not my intention. I am more of a realist. I see what I see. A fact is a fact. Most stereotypes are not stereotypes but actual true to life facts that people are too PC to call it what it is. I am sick of the PC liberals stepping on eggshells and doing anything and everything to keep from offending someone, even if what they are saying is true. Fact : in a time of tragedy black people extorted and exploited other black people. Dont blame the government, dont blame the white man and society, instead take a deep look at what has taken place and make an attempt to change whatever circumstances arose and created such an awful event. In front of national and international news cameras... Those images looked like Siera Leon or Mogadishu more so than any American city, that is for sure. In the face of a tragedy that is the magnitude of Katrina and the losses that have been endured, it is sad that we have to log onto computers and go on television and point fingers at anyone available and bitch about racism that never existed. The truth is the scenes that unfolded on the news and television sets across America the last several days are driving a wedge even deeper between blacks and whites here. Understand...when white America...good or bad....sees image upon image of lawless violence and rape and murder taking place in one of our oldest American cities it inspires one thing....pure fear. And we all know that fear leads to hatred and hatred leads to violence. Take it as you may...but these are dangerous times to push the racial envelope because it may just blow up in your face. But that is just my opinion :)

Posted by: citizenX at September 8, 2005 11:41 AM it that the truth is too frightening for you to comprehend or is that just your typical brainless response to views that do not fit your politically correct agenda. Whenever a white person speaks on their own behalf or questions anything that black people say or do they are instantly tagged "racist". I apologize if my harsh words were taken to be venemous, however I do challenge you to dispute any part of my statement that you believe to be false. I respect and enjoy hearing other peoples opinions. Just dont make a cowardly statement and disappear, instead support your beliefs and opinions through facts.

Posted by: citizenX at September 8, 2005 11:57 AM

Wow! i guess we really struck some chords. This whole conversation is being constructed as merely about individuals that make choices without also expressing the fact that those choices are made in contexts. The notions offered by Citizen X are typical of a racist, reactionary ideology. Think X about the fact that the thug lifestyle you are talking about is actually consumed largely by middle class White boys and is only a fraction of true hip hop culture. In fact, the so called role models that you are inplying, 50Cent, the Game, etc. are actually million sellers becasue mostly White people purchase those discs. As for role models i think of cats like toni morrison, alice walker, jimmy baldwin, cornell west, skip gates, shirley chisolm, james johnson, miles davis, john coltrane, spike lee. the problem i see is that RACIST tend to look at the worst examples of other cultures without looking at the complexity of the culture. In fact, the better percentage of the Black American community is working or middle class, is not in jail, has at least a high school education, and contributes positively to this society. Blacks and Latinos are over represented in the armed forces. So to sit there and spew all this venom only reiterates the notion of racism.

As far as looters and finders it is a media literacy issue to me. Don't act like it is not a valid argument or interpretation of the two pictures. Now perhaps the photographers can come out into the national press, since this has turned into a national issue, and shed light on the controversy. until then it is suspect. you also have to look at this as not just idiosyncratic, isolated events. the arguments about looters/finders appeared roughly the same time the argument about refugees came out. An earlier posting cited a princeton definition, and american heritage has a similar definition. dictionary definitions reflect the ways in which words are used, but not always the social connotations of the words. the american heritage definition states, "one who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war". typically when Americans hear refugee they connect it with folks that have lost their homes as a result of conflict and are seeking refuge in either a camp or in an accepting country. Could refugee be used in this case, sure it could. However for so many to talk about the sensitivity and tragedy of the event refugee is reckless and insulting. as opposed to displaced or survivors or the affected. the fact that most of the people you SEE that are being labeld refugee are Black just marginalizes. I think the lithmus test is to ask yourself if all these people were wealthy and White and stuck in a similar situation would how would they be constructed in the media?

Racism is not just about White people calling Black people nigger and Latinos spics. Racism is a system of advantage based on race. Individual actions are important, but those actions are made within a larger context. Personal responsibility and hard work are hard work are necessary (depending on your family's economic class) but not sufficient explanations for why people succeed (see jay McLeod's text "Aint No Makin It"). Citizen X's tirade about what Black people expect from White people clearly shows that he does not know many Black folks and none from the inner cities. Affirmative action is not a handout, and we can see how insidious racism is because in lodging complaints about affirmative action i never hear White people complain about the benefits extended to White women through affirmative action, and there is a shitload of research to show that White women have been the greatest benefactors of affirmative action. yet it is Black people that get saddled with the burden of defending the practice. on one hand we say this is a society where everyone has the chance to succeed if they work hard, but on the other hand we can admit that some have more access to resources than others. it would seem logical to make sure that there is some kind of institutional mechanism that can counter balance access to resources. that is justice. The troubling issue is that White people complain about affirmative action when in fact unemployment for all groups of color is roughly twice as high as it is for Whites. People of color (excluding Asians) are only roughly 15% of undergraduate admissions and less than 10% for doctoral programs. The professorate of color is only about 5%. Many education researchers and theorist do not contribute that to an inherent superiority of Whites, which i found to be a subtext of Citizen X's tirade. Rather, issues related to culture, class, curriculum, resources, teacher expectation, AND family involvement are all factors contributing to success. You sit there and talk about how hard you have to work, and i respect that because I have worked my ass off to get where I am, but I am also very aware of the resource (the cultural, social, economic, and human capital i have had access too) that have helped me to get where I am. This is not complaining. This is illuminating parts of the issue that many of you do not want to engage.

I would lodge the same issues for the rural poor. The difference is that in American culture, the fact of Whiteness offers a pass that Blackness, Browness, Redness, and Yellowness just doesnt. I think you have to be one of us to really experience it. or live in a non-European country for a while.

The short. Racism is a system; not merely individual acts...

ps I am really enjoying this conferderate yankee and i have gone to the eject eject eject site but have not had time to look at the article. i will before next post though...

Posted by: postmodernthinker at September 8, 2005 10:49 PM


You've GOT to read "Tribes." It really is that good.

I like that you cite Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, etc, but you don't seem to be facing that fact that they don't get near the exposure as the "pimp 'n thug life" segment of the population, in white or black culture. Just because suburban wannabes like the Icy Hot Stuntaz choose to mimic aspects of the culture on the surface, it does nothing to mitigate the real gang violence, the real abuse of women, the over-importance of self, and the lack of responsibility seen throughout hip-hop music and the communities from which it seems to spring. The culture creates the music, and the music reinforces the culture. It is a vicious self-destructive cycle.

You say it is an example of racism to look at examples of the worst of society without looking at the society’s overall complexity. I agree.

But since the “Great Society” of Johnson, black culture, overall, has gone down the toilet. The percentage of black males and females with criminal records has gone up, along with the number of abortions. Fewer and fewer black kids come from two parent homes. Black “leaders” are more than willing to place the blame elsewhere, and unwilling to actually try to affect change. But we’re going over the same ground again…

As a matter of record, I’ll take you at your word when you say blacks and Latinos are over-represented in the military. Good they should be. It is one of the most-sure ways for someone with few advantages to get out of poverty. You serve your country, pick up useful skills, and get an education in the process, all for relatively little risk. Yes, I said relatively little risk. While there are more blacks and Latinos in the military, white middle class kids from the red states are disproportionately represented in combat units. By choice.

As far as looters and finders it is a media literacy issue to me. Don't act like it is not a valid argument or interpretation of the two pictures. Now perhaps the photographers can come out into the national press, since this has turned into a national issue, and shed light on the controversy.

Go to They did interview both photographers. The black teenager actively went into a store and took stuff, hence “looting” as the photographer watched it happen. You can argue good versus bad, or illegitimate or legitimate looting, but it was looting all the same.

The “white” couple that did the “finding” isn’t even white!

She is black or Hispanic, but she isn’t white. No doubt about it. He might be white, but could be Latino. You can’t tell because his hat blocks his face. In any event, she picked up a bag of bread that the photographer said floated out of a flooded store. Picking up something floating by is finding, not looting. It couldn’t be much clearer.

When liberal blogger Wonkette tried to make this a race matter, she should have done her homework better.

The whole “refugee” meme is bullcrap. Sorry. We’re taking in refugees white and black here in NC, and I don’t think anyone give a damn as long as they have a place to stay.

I’ll accept your definition of “Racism is a system of advantage based on race.”

Sadly, as long as checking a race box on a job application matters, the racism favors minorities so that businesses can fill quotas. You can say this doesn’t exist, but I’ve watched it firsthand on two occasions where a less qualified minority applicant got the job. In one, the less qualified (non-black minority) applicant was far less qualified, and couldn’t perform his job function. That is racism as well.

Personal responsibility and hard work are hard work are necessary (depending on your family's economic class) but not sufficient explanations for why people succeed. Bull. Unmitigated bull. Sorry. I don’t know a single successful small businessman that thrived by being lax or irresponsible.

Your argument about unemployment being higher for minorities is a strawman argument, and a bad one. Minorities are also far less likely to complete high school than their white counterparts. Do I hire someone who graduated, or a dropout? This also extended to higher ed as well. You can’t go to college if you don’t complete high school. This circles back around to the decline of the two-parent family in black cultures. See how it feeds upon itself? I’m sorry, but you can’t necessarily put this on anyone else.

I really want you to read “tribes.”

Whiteness, Blackness, Browness, Redness, and Yellowness don’t matter nearly as much as what you do with it. I am much more likely to give respect to a poised, well-spoken person than a strutting punk, regardless of race or class. Racism is a mindset, and an artificial construct a that. Choosing your tribe makes the difference, as Whittle says.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 9, 2005 12:54 AM

oh, by the way. from all that i have read so far the responsibility for issuing the order to mobilize the buses was that of the state evacuation plan. so far i have not been able to find new orlean's actual plan on the net. if anyone knows how to get it let me know. also, from what i have read, it also seems that the decision to move the remaining residents into the superdome was under the impression that only dealt with the hurricane assuming the levee would not break.

Posted by: postmodernthinker at September 9, 2005 01:14 AM

New Orleans Disaster Plan - Hurricanes

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 9, 2005 01:30 AM

To make some valid points, but there are many holes in your theory, too many for me to address at this time. I will say one thing....I have been checking my mailbox for my monthly "white guy" check that I apparently am to recieve because I am so priveledged, but to my dismay it never arrives. Instead I work 12-14 hour days, six days a week to ensure that I am able to pay my bills and not have to resort to a life of crime or suck the government welfare system dry by sitting on my ass and producing babies. I am SO priveledged as a white American that my mother worked third shift (thats 12pm-8am for those of you who have never had a job) at a textile factory for 25 years to support three kids. She was a single mother, she barely made enough to make ends meet, but she never accepted government assistance (even though we qualified) and she never complained. So as you see I grew up in a single parent, low income home but I never resorted to crime, never stole, never had to sell drugs, never had to hurt or kill anyone, never had to join a gang. Instead I worked hard, played sports, put myself through college (just as my brother and sister have done) made something of the opportunity that was provided to me, not by being a WHITE American, but by being American. Blacks, Hispanics, they have even MORE opportunity because of affirmative action and Governmental quotas which require that they be given first shot at jobs, schooling, benefits. Most of them can go to school for free, not because of any achievements or hard work that they have put in, but just for being an "underpriveledged minority". Have you ever heard the old saying that you can lead a horse to water, but you cant make him drink? Class A example. The reality of it all is that it is probably more difficult to be a white, heterosexual male in this country than any other sub-class of people. By being a white male it is ok for every other struggling or stigmatized group to blame you for their situations and pin all of the shortcomings of society on as well. As a white man it is acceptable to be discriminated against by all other groups, minorities, women, gays, religious nuts, and we are expected to sit idely by and take it. As a white, heterosexual male in America you cannot voice your opinion without being considered threatening or bigoted in some way. I am not here to perpetrate some myth that the white race is superior or the master race, that is all nonsense. I have even less respect for white trailer trash people who choose to remain ignorant and impoverished. However white and black culture, core values and standards are entirely different. I dont claim to have the answers. I honestly feel like this country is going down the toilet and there is little that can be done. And I am not some bitter old world war era guy that has suffered from a generation gap. I am a 28 year old, I come from one of the least priveledged backgrounds that you can fathom.I am just tired of people complaining about how bad they have it when they live in the greatest, most prosperous country in the world, no, in the history of the world, and still cant manage to do anything to help themselves. Ridiculous. Stop passing the buck. Most definately not what our founding fathers had in mind when they created this mess I can assure you.

Posted by: citizenX at September 9, 2005 10:48 AM


The chart topping hip hop rapper star who used a network hurricane fundraiser to charge "George Bush doesn't care about black people" was loudly and lustily booed during last night's NFL kickoff show.

The appearance of Kanye West, who was beamed into the Boston stadium via remote from Los Angeles, received a strongly negative response from the crowd.

"The boos were thunderous and lasted for much of his number," reports the BOSTON GLOBE.


Posted by: J.R. at September 9, 2005 03:21 PM

Kanye West did not have to make those comments on live television and show his ignorance. On every news channel that I've seen so far today, the president was showed planning his next visit to New Orleans. If he didn't care about the african-american race, he wouldn't have went back to N.O. for any reason. Obviously, Kanye was upset about the events caused by Hurricane Katrina, so he chose to blame someone that was not responsible. Next time, Kanye, when you want to point a finger at someone for a problems, point to yourself. When was the last time you went to a shelter to help out, as the president did? Or visit the area? Did you make a donation? Take a second and think about it.

Posted by: Brooke at September 9, 2005 07:13 PM

Thank you J.R. for the link. I also found this link on that web page and thought people would find it very interesting about Mayor Nagin's role in the evacuation instead of pointing the finger at Bush for EVERYTHING!! If Mr. Idiot West have done some research of his own he would know true facts instead of spewing more racial venom in time of crisis.
It states:
If you want to know what Mayor Nagin SHOULD have done, click on the following link to read the City of New Orleans excellent Hurricane Preparedness plan which, if implemented by the Mayor, would have saved the lives of almost everyone who tragically died.

Click Below to view New Orleans hurricane plan, it clearly outlines what SHOULD have been done in this case. The Mayor failed to do his job ! This is the Proof !
City of New Orleans CEM Plan: Annex I: Hurricanes

The plan correctly anticipates that approximately 100,000 residents would be unable or unwilling to leave. Therefore, as soon as a hurricane reaches Category 3 intensity, it is the MAYOR's exclusive responsibility to implement a forced evacuation no later than 72 hours in advance of landfall - well before any possible communications disruption. The plan states that all public transportation systems (buses, etc.) are to be used, and are to be assisted by city police. Instead, Mayor Nagin did nothing. The buses sit neatly parked and idle, and the people were left to fend for themselves, and die.

Posted by: smallfry at September 9, 2005 07:45 PM

May I also point out that Mayor Nagin did annoucne 100% mandatory evacuation.... 24 hours prior to the hurricane hitting land. You all may have seen the pictures of massive amount of cars back to back on the Interstate for the evacuation. It was a mad dash out of New Orleans and because Mayor Nagin only gave the citizens of New Orleans 24 hour notice, the people who couldn't/wouldn't leave had to be taken to the super dome, hence the madness that occured in there. Thank You Mayor Nagin!! You did an outstanding job!- sarcasm.....

Posted by: smallfry at September 11, 2005 06:33 PM

to all the white people who have been posting (i have been out of circulation for a few days), i want to explain the idea of privilege. you see a serious problem with american culture is that everything gets steeped in economics. privilege is not necessarily a "check" you get in the mail, as citizen x it proclaims. moreover, privilege does not necessrily state that if you are white then you have a rosy life. in fact there are many identities that anyone person possesses. privilege deals more with how particular characteristics can work for or against a person. so although you may not have been economically privileged that does not mean that your whiteness does not carry privilege.

in a lecture i heard by peggy mcintosh who wrote the watershed essay on white and male privilege (this link goes to a condensed version of the essay: one student from a rural, farming community expressed a similar argument about having to work hard and not being wealthy and all that. her response was, to paraphrase, i appreciate and value the hard work you and your family has done. i imagine farming is tough work. but let me ask you something? what would it have been like if you were black, or a woman? the student had to stop for a minute and then said the black man would have been dismissed, until he could prove that he was serious about farming and even then many of the people he (the student) knew would still show resistance. a woman would not have been welcomed at all.

the point of the story is that racial privilege allows particular access and social construction. if you are white you never have to defend affirmative action, even though there is a strong argument by critical legal scholars (derek bell, kimberle crenshaw, laurence matsuda, and others) that suggest whites have benefitted from affirmative action far more than minoritites because of the benefits accrued by white women and the fact that most of those white women went on to marry white men and have white families. i do not mean to say that people of color have not been helped by affirmative action, but to show that they have not benefitted as much as many white people assume. as i stated in a previous posting, if affirmative action has helped so much then why does the unemployment rate remain twice as high for people of color as compared to whites? why do color owned contractors continue to receive a disproportionatley lower number of government and private contracts? why so few in the professorate?

also, privilege is being shown in this dialogue. none of you, except me, have really spoken to white poverty and the fact that many of the educational, penal, and social problems you are citing are just as devastating in poor white communities. the language and tone that many of you have taken about kanye and other blacks involved in this issue is deplorable. nagin made mistakes, a point he has admitted. but he has also helped provide the context in which those decisions were made. for example the buses were thought of, but finding drivers that were willing to stick around for the completion of the evacuation proved to be harder than many thought. as said earlier, there is more than enough blame to go around.

i also notice that since there is more than enough blame to go around none of you point your fingers toward mike brown, who we now know did not have the credentials or experience to deal with a situation like this and the fact that he was a crony hire by president bush. that is how systemic racism works. follow the logic. it is not that bush did not want to hire black or latinos, but that his hire was a result of buddy connections. and you guys bitch about affirmative action. the result of bush's appointment was a person that was slow to respond, unprepared, and even confused. then for president bush to proclaim what a great job the guy was doing when it was clear that he wasnt threw oil on the fire.

privilege to me goes back to the age old joke:
Q:What do you call a Black C.E.O.?
A: Nigger

If you guys do not think privilege exists I ask you these two questions: 1) How many of you would be Black for the next 10 years? 2) For those of you that would not, if you had to how much would you want to be compesated per year? Now be honest and think about how you came to your answer.

Posted by: postmodernthinker at September 14, 2005 01:33 PM

We can debate this issue until we are all blue in the face and angrier than ever all boils down to this - wheather you believe that you CAN or wheather you believe that you CAN'T - either way you are right.....if you believe that you are a "nigger" no matter what or you believe that you are an upstanding worthwhile member of society are right. is all in how you percieve yourself and your situation. It is the half empty half full analogy. BUT I do know this...if you want to be treated as equal then the playing field...ALL playing fields...should be equal. That means no affirmative action. If a woman can do a job as well as a man...she should get paid the same as a man for that work...but she should NOT recieve some Government sanctioned special treatment because she is a woman. She should NOT get the job if she is less qualified. Same goes for race. There are racists in corporate question...and undoubtedly some are white...but black people dish out their fair share of racism as well..not only toward whites...but to each other as well. None of us are perfect...we are all guilty of some form of bigotry..wheather it be racism, classism or sexism. Personally I see black Americans as a white man I am NOT your enemy. In all reality I celibrate black culture and history more so than many black people that I know. I read William Baldwin and the writings of Frederick Douglass and Langston Hughes. I revel in traditional black music from Muddy Waters to John Coletrane to Billie Holliday...the list goes on and on. I deeply appreciate the offerings that black Americans have made to our culture and our history as a whole. But at the same time I refuse to be a scapegoat for all of the inadequacies that society issues black america. When things are not the way you want them to is easier to lay blame on others around you than it is to take personal accountability and make efforts to institute change. God helps those who help themselves...period. But really....what does it all matter twenty years we will all be speaking Spanish anyway ;) La ayuda de Dios nosotros todo

Posted by: citizenX at September 15, 2005 03:41 PM

Can anyone explain to me why there is so much hatred towards the Blacks. Our blood is on this Great Country's thread. Black slaves helped the white founders build this country. I have so much PRIDE in my race because of what we have been able to achieve. Yes there are still blacks who remain in poverty and choose not to become educated, but that exists in every race. I can't believe that after all these other races come to America, some whites continue to hate blacks. Some of these folks will sit at a table with Bin Laden before they will a good hearted Black Man. I laugh at the idea that these racists still think that the word nigger can get under the average Black Person's skin. Nigger, Nigger, Nigger ! Wow !!!!!!!
Move on people. What other hobbies, clubs or groups can you join. You are wasting energy hating a group of people who pose no threat to your way of living. Humans are humans... Good and bad in every race.

Posted by: ProudBlackAmerican at September 20, 2005 09:32 PM