Reading time: 7 – 12 minutes
The entire nightmare of New Orleans and Katrina and The South is really adding to the anxiety and anger I have this week. At first I felt the horror and pangs of empathy that anyone would feel, especially because we New Yorkers know what it’s like to plunge into chaos. Every disaster is completely its own thing and none of them can be compared to each other, but the feelings, fear, and desperation will be there across the board. From there, I can relate.
What I CAN’T relate to is when the population reduces itself to mindless violence, attack, theft, exploitation, and murder… yup, MURDER. So what if a hurricane hit the south if their solution to resolving this horror is to MURDER EACH OTHER!!???
I am terrified for those who are trapped there among the selfish monsters.
And don’t tell me this is because of lack of food, water, or services. This shit started IMMEDIATELY upon word that the storm was rising.
This is an opportunistic, greedy, lazy, resigned, resentful, angry, mob of a population and this behavior is not a result of a natural disaster. Check out the historic facts of violence in that area. This incivility is a result of indoctrination among the poor, who HAPPEN to be primarily Black in this case.
HOWEVER, I have two types of Black friends and each type subscribes to two VERY different modes of philosophy:
One group sees life as just LIFE and that we are all in this together. We all do the best we can do and we never blame others for our failures or our successes. If we feel downtrodden, we ACTIVELY seek to find a solution. This group is the one I can call “my friends” because we have had many a discussion about the Black Culture’s own attack against them as they continue to grow in their success. If a Black person grows successful, they are automatically ostracized from their own culture and seen as selling out or “trying to be White,” which is just ridiculous, ugly, and hurtful.
The other group sees life as if something is desperately OWED to them and that any and all failures, missteps, and defeat are the DIRECT RESULT of their Race. Everything goes back to Race. Nothing goes back to Responsibility, Creative Solutions, Getting Help, or Keeping Trying. There is a spoiled mentality among this group and their culture actively feeds and nurtures that, creating evermore hostile-charged, opportunistic behavior. Rather than find a way to improve their lives in a way that helps improve life around them, allowing them to participate more in the life they seek to live, they simply resort to theft, drugs, anger, brooding, violence, murder, and divisive intellectual concepts.
I’m sick of it. The guy who was going to kill LITTLE was of that ilk.
The interesting thing is that I have a large number of Latino and Hispanic friends (and exes) and NONE of whom are divided in this way. This division seems to be exclusive to the Black Culture, based on my experience. I know of no wealthy or privileged Latino or Hispanic friends and I hear NOT ONE COMPLAINT about what is required of them to participate in life. Sure, there are struggles and pain, but so what… my Hispanic/Latino friends play along with everyone else.
On the other hand, two of my very privileged Black friends complain that EVERYTHING in life is against them and that they are automatically doomed because they are Black. Meanwhile, they have more money, more things, less obligation, less bills, more education, etc. than I have ever had AND YET THEY STILL behave anti-socially, opportunistically, and spoiled.
Being poor or not having what you want is not a license to violence. I’ve been poor. I’ve been homeless. I have gone for days without food, had to steal (food) and even when I got it, the food was not healthy. Poverty can happen to the best of us and I have even turned to the government for help when I was younger, but ultimately WE HAVE TO HELP OURSELVES and REMAIN CIVIL.
When a population has been indoctrinated to believe that everything is OWED to them, that they are oppressed and hopeless, or that SOMEONE ELSE should do something to make life better FOR them, then there is so much more self-righteous justification in their harming others. There is a violent division then between those who are OWED and those who HAVE, automatically categorizing those who HAVE as those who ARE KEEPING IT FROM THOSE WHO ARE OWED.
For instance, I almost always choose to live in a primarily Black and/or Hispanic neighborhood. I always have. I don’t mean to do that intentionaly, but poorer neighbhorhoods usually breed more diversity in NYC and I like the creative, artistic, lively flair of the better of these neighborhoods, plus, I can relate to the creative, poor, and struggling a lot more than the rich and greedy. At one point when I lived in Raleigh, NC, Cyprus and I and our friends were the ONLY White people in our neighborhood. Big mistake. Several times we were confronted late at night by strangers from our neighborhood coming to our windows and our doors demanding that we “give them some money.” We were POOR! We didn’t have money, let alone money to give to a stranger out of nowhere. The hostility rose around us and against us from our neighbors because WE wouldn’t find a way to feed their babies; WE wouldn’t find a way to make it possible for them to make the next payment on their Surround Sound Television Systems from Rent-a Center; WE wouldn’t find a way to get them beer. Fuck that. We were trying to figure out how to make a MEAL from some frozen vegetables and rice for 5 of us without a stove and that was afforded only by the counted change we piled together as a group.
I’m sorry, but Racism is far less rampant than Classism and Prejudice, and those who are in the less-privileged category, no matter how priviledged or potentialled they are, use that stance to justify some horrific and uncivil behavior. Racism is a JUSTIFICATION, not an epidemic.
And that’s what’s happening in The South, particularly in New Orleans. As they plead and beg for services, food, and water, which is perfectly understandable, but instead of finding ways to work together and remain civil, what are they doing? They are using guns to shoot down helicopters with goods and killing rescuers who are helping the needier!
First of all, WHY and HOW does an impoverished population have that many guns in the first place? Because of the teaching that one should be prepared to TAKE what is OWED, rather than earn it. Did these people take food, water? No, they took their damn guns. They were expecting trouble and now they are creating it, even if completely unnecessary.
Why am I so riled up? Because I struggle on a precarious line that teeters toward resigning to the fact that I exist within a violent, stupid, and meaningless species. I don’t WANT to think that way, but when people can so easily erase you from their life, it’s easier to start seeing the shit around you and saying, fuck this.
Of course, I know I won’t end up feeling that way, but that’s why I write about it, so it can go away, out of my skin and body and leave room for the truth of the bigger picture.
Still, I saw a “heartwarming” story on the news about this family who fled from their neighborhood to safety in their own LARGE vehicle. Upon returning to their neighborhood, all was gone. They ended up with a flat tire and out of gas, landing in the parking lot of a CVS. As they told their story, I was touched by the various people around them reaching out to help,… I thought, okay, now here’s what humanity is all about…. UNTIL they mentioned that when they went back to their home, “even their pets were gone.”
They couldn’t take their own animal companions with them in their PLENTY-BIG vehicle??? I cannot FATHOM the lack of consciousness that is required to whimsically sacrifice the life of an animal for mere convenience. Our dogs would have been in that car/truck,… I don’t care if I had to WALK, they would walk with me, but I would never abandon them. I would NEVER leave a living thing in a clearly-defined path of destruction. And what made this even more disgusting was that they said it so incidentally, AND as this was said, the children pointed out that they had “rescued” their STUFFED ANIMALS, though! Well, WOOPTY DOO.
THAT’s the policy of life that is being taught to children. Adults live in that world of perception, too. Everything is expendable beyond that which is convenient or self-serving.
And THAT’s why I am pissed off, because if people weren’t raised in that manner, I might not have a boyfriend who so easily erased me from his life just to return to the convenience of his routines and avoidance of true intimacy, and I wouldn’t have a friend who deleted me from her life, just so she could remain protected from the burden of vulnerability and all that goes with true friendship.
I’m writing all passionately and wildly, but it’s all just cathartic, not conclusive. I’m in pain this week. A lot of it. And when I see that people could so easily remedy that for each other, and yet they choose to make things worse, or not help at all, I cringe painfully inward.
Taking one step…
Okay, and now the next…
I know all of this isn’t the truth. It’s just part of the dance where toes are hurt.