[Marxism] Reporting on the evil of looting amidst the horror

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Wed Aug 31 14:43:12 MDT 2005


>From a blog,

CB

^^^^^^

Posted by Amanda Marcotte at 11:19 PM

I have an eerie feeling that the media is already spinning the horrific loss
of
life to Katrina into a story that is focused primarily on victim-blaming in
order
to distract from the massive failure to evacuate the city properly that is
caused
directly by inhumane BushCo policies. For a defense of politicizing events,
read
Shakes' Sis (
<http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2005/08/politicizing-katrina.html>
). 

Suffice it to say, I'm always puzzled by people who want to somehow
depoliticize
things because they are important--politics are those things that are most
important. Granted, the politics should be pertinent to the discussion at
hand
and not just tacking your pet project onto the latest story, like making a
hurricane about abortion. So I'll try to stick with that angle. One way or
another, the discussion is going to come around to whether or not the
absence of
the National Guard in Louisiana and just general unwillingness to provide
for
what should seem inevitable--that New Orleans is in a prime position to get
destroyed by a hurricane. And that's not really a path the media wants to go
down, as it's all wonky and not kiss-assy enough for the modern major media.

So how to distract? Blame the victims.

Steve Gilliard, who's got a hella ear for racist dog whistles, lays it on
the
line (
<http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/2005/08/niggers-steal-whites-find.html>
)--racist coverage like this is laying the groundwork for excusing away the
fact
that the dead are almost surely going to be disproportionately black because
the
poor are disproportionately black and because the poor are going to be the
people
who couldn't escape the city as easily. Atrios posted on the two (
<http://atrios.blogspot.com/2005_08_28_atrios_archive.html#11254547508973523
5> )
nearly identical pictures of people taking things they need from flooded
stores
where the white people were described as "finding" and the black man as
"looting". Directly before that, he rightly complained (
<http://atrios.blogspot.com/2005_08_28_atrios_archive.html#11254537209346407
5> )
about the media whining about looters.

Taken altogether, this is what I fear will happen: The victims of the flood
will
be portrayed via racist stereotypes as criminals and idiots. This will
predispose
the audience to disliking them. Then, after everything settles down, a few
right
wingers will start implying that the dead brought their own fate on
themselves by
being too stupid and/or criminal to evacuate. This focus will distract the
pundits from discussing the real issue at hand, which is why the fuck we
didn't
have the resources on hand to evacuate a city that has Hurricane Target
written
all over it. 

Before you know it, it'll be a wingnut bonaza of people both gleefully
indulging
in the most racist tendencies while simultaneously claiming that the only
reason
one might end up dead in a hurricane is because one doesn't have "personal
responsibility". But my guess is that the people who are dead mostly didn't
have
transportation out of the city. Watch the media bury the truth of what
happened
so fast it'll make your head spin. 

source, Pandagon --

<http://www.pandagon.net/archives/2005/08/busting_out_the.html>

________________________________






More information about the Marxism mailing list