So-called black leaders and other assorted entertainers and racial activists were quick to use Hurricane Katrina and its resulting flood as supposed proof that America’s tragic racist personality had suddenly resurfaced. “Genocide” was the way the morning show hosts of New York’s no. 1 rap station, Hot 97, described it. The real racial tragedy, however, is not a lack of respect or compassion but the giant distance by which these spokesmen have been left behind by America’s steadily advancing society.
One point that was seized upon with disturbing zeal was the canard claiming that newscasters were labeling white looters as “just looking for food” while only their black counterparts were described as “looters.” The rumor was spawned after two photos from two separate wire services described two separate incidents, using different words in the two separate captions — the result being that a black person was identified as having just “looted” while a white person was identified as having just “found” food.
Both cameramen stick by their captions. Chris Graythen, the Agence France-Presse photographer, said, “I believed in my opinion, that they did simply find them, and not ‘looted’ them in the definition of the word. The people were swimming in chest deep water, and there were other people in the water, both white and black.” Aaron Kinney, the Associated Press photographer, said he slugged the photo with the word “loot” because he had just seen his subject loot a store.
No matter. The pictures ricocheted around the Internet and anyone with a bit of sensitivity was soon denouncing the blatantly unfair way the media was treating Katrina’s minority victims. Kanye West, the producer-cum-rapper, was one such myth perpetuator. In a now-notorious appearance on NBC’s “A Concert for Hurricane Relief,” Mr. West said:
America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well off as slow as possible …
They’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us …
George Bush doesn’t care about black people.
Days later the determinedly unrepentant Mr. West described President Bush’s failure to prepare levees for Category 5 hurricanes as evidence of his ill-will toward black America, saying, “They have been trying to sweep us [African-Americans] under the kitchen sink and it was so in people’s faces and so on TV … that they couldn’t even hide it any more.”
“If these people hadn’t been poor and black,” said Rep. William Jefferson, a black Democrat who represents most of New Orleans, “they wouldn’t have been left in New Orleans in the first place.”
Deploring what he called racially insensitive news coverage, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, “The Red Cross will not go in there because it is too dangerous. The rescue has been slow because some see us as foreigners and 2/3 human.”
The Reverend Al Sharpton visited the Houston Astrodome and labeled the relief effort “inexcusable,” saying race had played a factor.
Author of “The Debt — What America Owes to Blacks,” Randall Robinson, blogged on the Huffington Post:
I am a sixty-four year old African-American. New Orleans marks the end of the America I strove for.
I am hopeless. I am sad. I am angry against my country for doing nothing when it mattered.
This is what we have come to. This defining watershed moment in America’s racial history…
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?