Monday, September 05, 2005


i have been reading my favorite blogs and i've been truly touched by how people are actually being moved by the tragedy down south. y'all got me feeling speechless. (although i am never actually speechless).

there but for the grace of God goes any of us.

and i choose not to - i fight not to - live in fear. but i can't help but wonder what is wrong with americans. if we don't know how to be good to each other, why is that? we are so far from the promised land that dr. king saw from the mountaintop in his i have a dream speech. as a country, we are facing a huge disaster that affects us all. and instead of being able to concentrate solely on alleviating human suffering and sustaining human lives, we are forced to consider the role that politics and race relations and classism and media coverage have played in the formation of the situations that led to the terrible aftermath of this storm. that makes me distrust humanity on a level that i have never known i could.

is my next door neighbor the kind of person who would steal an automatic weapon in a tragedy and shoot it at a helicopter that is trying to rescue sick people?

would my white co-worker have the audacity to believe that racism plays no role in the media coverage and rescue efforts (or the lack thereof)?

is my president, who calls himself a born-again Christian, really calloused enough to hold back on his power in such a way that it takes four or five days - damn near a WEEK - to get some help to the suffering people in new orleans and throughout the coast, instead of putting his presidential muscle into making things happen not "faster" but "now"?

we find out how people really are when some shit goes down. this is often said. this is one of those things that you know in your head and agree with, but you have a limited amount of opportunities to experience its truth - and if you're lucky, to have the presence of mind to learn from that experience.

my heart hurts for humanity - still - because this tragedy is showing me so many shades of ugly. so many shades of evil. my eyes water, my chest heaves, my brows furrow at the thought of how people are dying because of considerations that were overlooked and lives that weren't valued as much as others. and the only thing i feel i can learn from witnessing this mess is that people are way too susceptible to evil - the kind i can't understand. the kind i can't wrap my mind around. the kind that is devoid of a true understanding of love.

and i have other concerns.

why do the survivors in new orleans seem so disorganized? it may be politically incorrect to criticize them, but i was wondering why everyone seems to be everywhere. why aren't the older women taking care of the sick and disabled while the younger women and girls supervise the children, while the young boys help the grown men protect the weak, forage the city for survivors and supplies, and relocate the dead so that children would not have to play around corpses? in the days where the militia was absent and the cops were outnumbered, where were the strong men to take leadership, organize a militia, and control the violence until the national guard came? i am reminded of the black panther party's school breakfast program and how it makes our pre- and post-million man march community look like a bunch of punks. maybe i'm bugging - maybe this was happening, but the media wouldn't cover it because that would be too much like right - that would be showing intelligent strong black men - that isn't the kind of coverage they believe people want to see, because america's worst nightmare is way more newsworthy.

and if we can't handle a hurricane that we can see in advance on weather radar, how in the hell can we withstand the next major terrorist attack? i cannot take the department of homeland security seriously - not that i ever did, but especially after this mess. what on earth will if have to go through if something happens where i live? will my well being depend on how much i make a year and will people's sympathy for me be contingent upon the color of my skin? will we collectively be so unprepared and hard hearted that this mess could happen again? i shouldn't be an afterthought in my own damn country, which was built on the whip scarred spines and calloused feet of my ancestors, and defended in wartime by men like my grandfather and my dad and my cousin. why do i continue to live in a place that calls me and treats me ugly? why do i foolishly expect this country to have any love for me and people who look like me?

i need a hug. and maybe a plane ticket.

found a quote: "Is this what the pioneers of the civil rights movement fought to achieve, a society where many black people are as trapped and isolated by their poverty as they were by legal segregation laws? ...If Sept. 11 showed the power of a nation united in response to a devastating attack, Hurricane Katrina reveals the fault lines of a region and a nation, rent by profound social divisions." Mark Naison, director of the urban studies program at Fordham.