Friday, September 02, 2005

The "Third World" in New Orleans... 

I made the mistake of watching ITV news today, and was treated to several different reports with pictures of suffering people and devastation, all of which described New Orleans as being like a 'Third World/developing country'. And I couldn't help bu think - 'Is that because everyone in those photos is black?' It seems to be black people in these communities who have been worst affected, true - and there's no surprise there - but there are plenty of white people on these films. They're just not treated as The Other quite yet... (In one report, the narrator even said that the scene "would shame even a Third World country". Because of course these countries are damn proud of devastation in general, right?)

The only people actually interviewed on these films were white, and this allowed them to show off their signs saying they'd shoot looters and spout off about the government. Meanwhile, the only voice black people had was when they were seen crying for help from the Convention Center and screaming in hysterics en masse. None of these people were giving their story. So - people being denied their individuality in crisis? Yep, maybe that does sound like a developing country after all...

The Debunking White community on livejournal has pulled up a much more blatant example of racism, though, quite shocking even when you expect this kind of thing. Captions accompanying AP photos on Yahoo News show the difference between those who "loot" and those "find" is basically reducible to the colour of your skin. Interestingly, the latter photo - shown on the DW link - has now been removed by Yahoo: "To our readers: This photo was removed from Yahoo! News at the request of AFP. Yahoo! News statement on photo language controversy."

So at least there are some people out there pulling the news services up on these things. But it;s obviously not enough.

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