Archive | August, 2015

The US Government doesn’t care about Black people

30 Aug

It was probably the only time Kanye said anything decent. Speaking of saying things, it was the use of certain words at the time that helped this natural disaster expose the institutional and structural racism at play within the American political and military system. Various different bureaucratic and planning decisions intertwined to result in New Orleans being almost wiped off the map. There was only one definite conclusion – the African-American community affected were at the bottom of the food chain, for being black and for being poor.

People displaced were referred to as refugees – seen as a burden on other states. The national media played up the efforts of rich people from other states , almost expecting the mostly black survivors to be grateful for another chance. One top political figure was heard to say that the lives they were living post-Katrina were better than those they had lost. The concept of acceptable and unacceptable “looters” was introduced. Like in the aftermath of the London riots; we were plagued with so much fake moralising about people taking items from shops that they didn’t need. For some reason the effect of mass media commercials and a culture of having things we don’t need were two paradigms not applied to the actions of those who were desperate. Those in power didn’t want any context put on the disaster left by the hurricane.

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The engineers of the US Army, the people who built the levees, were never going to take responsibility. Nor was responsibility going to be taken for the drying up of the surrounding wetlands due to oil extraction. The fact that the majority of people who lived in the affected area were living near the poverty line with very little money being put into local schools – and this was before Katrina hit – was ignored. A part of America, rich with culture and music, had been devastated by a natural disaster and now the vultures were circling. Property developers and insurance companies knew the rebuilding process would involve gentrification.

Ten years on and the crimes committed by the US Government and the organs of the political and justice system against Black Americans is getting worse. Since Katrina we have seen how even a Black President operates in the interests of the rich – mostly white. The critical media has finally turned its spotlight on the killing of innocent black people by the police; something that has been happening in that country for many years before Ferguson. The working class African-Americans areĀ seen as cannon fodder. Economically forced into the army to meet a certain death, and at home, the places they liveĀ are the least protected from natural disasters.

The amount of lives and property destroyed by Hurricane Katrina greatly outweighs any of the effects of the September 11th attacks. Those of us outside the US are all too aware of the 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th and now 14th anniversary of 9/11. Few of us will be aware that a decade has passed since Katrina wreaked havoc in the Gulf Coast. It just doesn’t fit into their commemorative agenda.