Saturday, August 29, 2009

Get Your Ish Together

The above image was taken after Hurricane Ike outside of Galveston, Texas.
Q; Which house is still standing?
A; The one that was built to withstand the storm surge that usually accompanies a hurricane.
Since Katrina, we've had four or five named storms hit the Gulf Coast between Galveston and NOLA.
But NOLA gets all the attention.

As I watch the coverage and read all the news stories and blogs about how the government failed the citizens of NOLA - I still ask "What could the citizens have done differently?".
The citizens were given notice that there would be a mandatory evacuation (Which means, if you decide to stay - be prepared to fend for yourself.) as far as a week in advance of the storm.
The use of the Superdome was intended as a last resort - not as one's best option.
The refugees didn't bring enough food or water. (People have been told for years to prepare a hurricane survival kit.)
The issue is often reduced to one of racial oppression instead of government ineptitude.

I know... it's the popular meme to turn white people into villains concerning the response to Katrina - but if it's that bad, donate or volunteer here;
or here;
Brad Pitt is the man. Doin' Angelina and rebuilding NOLA.

People often cite the story of white people denying refuge to Blacks at gunpoint in small towns along the evacuation route.
But this isn't only about race.
After Rita, many in my all-Black neighborhood stood vigil over our property with guns in hand.
Anyone who wasn't known was denied access.
It wasn't because those driving around were also Black - but because we were protecting our resources.
It was because we didn't tolerate looting.
The same could be said of those whites in the small towns.
It was more of a class issue than one of race.

Since our recent spate of hurricane damage - I've done a lot more voluntary restoration work.
The thing I've noticed is the dearth of Black faces at the rebuilding events in Black communities.
The question I'm often asked by young cousins (usually forced by me to help in recovery efforts) is "Why?".
The statements made by their sorry-ass parents and grandparents is; "Why is y'all doin' work for free?".

I've done work in areas where those who lived in the areas would sit beneath the trees drinking and watching as the mostly white volunteers were sweating to rebuild their neighborhood..
I've provided free housing to people while their biggest concern wasn't getting a job and starting over, but that of trying to figure out how to benefit from the next government program.
I've paid for my groceries while listening to welfare recipients proclaiming that "We need to have us a hurricane every month." while they were unloading scrimps (or strimps) and porter house steaks from their shopping carts and then paying for their goods with newly refilled LoneStar (food stamp) cards.
While picking up cousins in Fort Worth after our evacuation for Ike, I met a group of people from NOLA who were still having their bills paid and complaining that the government wasn't doing enough THREE YEARS AFTER KATRINA.

After years of trying to help those in need, I'm over Katrina and it's "victims".
After dealing with people who expect the government to solve all their problems and raise their families, I'm tired of the screams of "Racism".
Four years after Katrina and people still think that the government owes them a new house?
Ne-ga-ro please...
Just get your own shit together.


FreeMan said...

The sad thing about it is they never had any shit to get together. They are waiting for the government to build them houses, rebuild their neighborhoods and overall improve their life.

So I can't knock you for getting tired of it. I mean the government has been helping for 3 years that's a long ass time. Anyone with a bit of get up and go should have prospered from having someone sponsor them for such a long time. It's just the cats who never have and never will that seem to be the loudest. Like everyone else they give the poor a bad name and that name is called LAZY!

Check your email when you have the chance!

Max Reddick said...

I agree that it is perhaps more a class issue than a race issue. Those people who could afford to probably had a hurricane preparedness kit. But those living hand to mouth could not afford to. Those people who could afford to leave and who had a place to go probably did so. Those who stayed perhaps could not afford to leave, and if they did leave, where would they go? Where would they stay.

And you are correct in assuming that they could do more to rebuild their community. I do a lot of volunteer work in the inner city and I am always amazed at how many white people show up to clean up our communities.

brohammas said...

We arent all that bad... not all of us, just some of us.
Sotion is how do people change? Do you think people can change? Is there a program, a policy, or an incentive that promotes work and industry, and if so, what organization administers it?

uglyblackjohn said...

There were a lot of people who actually needed help.

The problem was (is) that too many others were just sorry and lazy.
These people rob the system of resources that should go to those who deserve assistance.

How do we change people?
By changing the system on which many of them rely.

FreeMan said...

@UBJ - Right, because people are people and when you don't pay attention they will pee in the chicken soup. So you have to install cameras and point it out to them because by themselves they will take advantage of everything.

tonyb said...

This should help:
What do you expect in case of an insured loss? Are You Disaster Ready? (hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, fire, etc.). President Obama gave his telling response: