OK tell the truth: How many of you people out there had that fifty inch flat-screen plasma TV already picked out that you were gonna grab if Barack Obama was robbed in the presidential elections in 2008 and shit got ugly in the streets? Anyone? Anybody? Oh c’mon don’t tell me I was the only one?!! Shit, I know some of you had an entire house of furniture and appliances picked out, no? As human beings we’re just greedy like that and at times our animal instinct takes hold, right? Surely that last idea has manifested itself before our very eyes as we watch the situation in Haiti from a distance; and I’m sorry, but I hate to think that race has anything to do with it, but you already know…
In spite of what the media says, what we see happening in Haiti isn’t looting folks. Looting is what black people in America do after police officers are acquitted of any wrong doing after being caught on tape beating a black man to near death. Looting is what you do when a black man is shot to death by a police officer at a train station for no apparent reason as seen on video on YouTube. Yes, I could go on and on with other examples but you get the drift, right? Looting is a foolish and opportunistic act done by “certain people” often in our own communities as a show of protest and rage. An act carried out by mobs which do more harm than good to our communities. In Haiti right now, it is very different than described above.
In Haiti, what we’re seeing are people trying to survive in the wake of what the United Nations calls the worst natural disaster they’ve ever responded to in history. The United Nations has even condemned the media for its sensationalism with reports of unlawfulness and looting. Such reports dehumanize people in dire need and rarely casts any empathy for those involved. I’m sorry, but I’d like to think that if I haven’t had any water, or food in a week and a half while journalists walk around with cameras wanted to interview me I’d be kinda angry too and forced to act in ways unbecoming or outside the norm. I mean not punch them in the face angry; but angry enough to run up in an abandoned building and maybe pick up a few Hostess Cupcakes.
“Many of us Haitians are offended by the coverage of the earthquake. Once more, a natural disaster serves as an occasion to showcase the impoverishment, to exaggerate the scenes of violence that are common to any catastrophe of this type.No, I am not watching the news. I am too busy trying to find a way to keep my hope alive because the work in front of us is humongous.” – Evelyne Trouillot (Haitian novelist & Port-au-Prince resident)
Lord forbid if I were to ever come to the conclusion that “looting” is just another racist code word used by the media. Not wanting to wish anything bad to any country where white folks clearly are the majority. But if the tables were turned and with everything being equal, do you think the coverage and stories would be the same? I mean am I supposed to believe there’s something in the DNA of black folks that causes them to resort to “looting” as opposed to the orderly and “survivalist” behavior of white people in the very exact situation of desperation?
Lord forbid if this earthquake ever happened in that European country known as Whiteopia, and these images were captured and exploited as it has involving Haitians in the aftermath of the earthquake. I could be wrong but I doubt images of Caucasians hearkening back to the savage days in the Caucasus mountains caveman style would dominate the media. But then again, maybe I’m just stupid enough to believe that white people eating each other after a plane crash in the Andes mountains in South America is just stuff that white folks do and has nothing to do with survival. Yeah, I guess I’m that stupid to conclude that looting is just a black thing.