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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Excuse me?

I’ve been so focused on this effort for Algiers that I really haven’t had much time to poke around the online community and catch up on the “chatter”. I took a few minutes this morning to run a couple of things down, and I’m good and mad about something. Forgive me, but I’m going to take a moment to vent.

Some of the background noise I’ve been filtering out has been about racism, and the strong criticism of authorities’ disaster response. Under normal circumstances, I’d have had a fair bit to say on these subjects, but I’ve been working under the assumption that the crisis is now, and the time for throwing mud and pointing fingers will come soon enough.

Having said all that, I was horrified to come across this discussion at the Democratic Underground, about "the other side of the tracks"
. I would have ignored it for the ignorant raving it obviously is, had they not stated that they’ve forwarded excerpts from Polimom.blogspot.com to CNN.

This is absolutely incredible. They’ve made assumptions about the racial and economic make-up of the Algiers community based on… what? I’m really not sure. I have to assume they’ve never, ever, been to Algiers. (They even used statements from people NOT on Algiers Point to support this.)

Algiers is a big place, although from the community feeling here on Polimom this week, you may not know this. Algiers is diverse, both racially and economically. Saying the Point is “affluent” reflects the trend in recent years to reclaim and remodel the cottages and shotgun houses – but it is hardly some kind of white enclave filled with vigilantes.

Since the phones finally died Wednesday night in the rest of Algiers, the vast majority of my information has been about the Point. But I grew up in that “other” part of Algiers, and I’m having trouble imagining my old neighborhood being described by anyone as a white vigilante enclave. (That’s a funny thought, actually).

Just out of curiosity – how can these people tell, from reading my blog, what race any of the individuals involved are? For that matter, they don’t know my ancestry, nor that of the looters. Maybe they are just showing us their own ignorant prejudices?

End of rant. For now.


  • At 3:52 PM, Blogger 400blockElmira said;

    People are going to be fussing and fighting on this for years. I have taken refuse in Houston I am a refugee, black or white. there is no shame (or race) in the word, and any racial discrimination is brought on by the ones pointing the fingers. Just keep your focus, don't let a poor mentality take you down too.

  • At 4:30 PM, Blogger Tomkub1960 said;

    I have to say that as an evacuee from the City of New Orleans and the neighborhood of Algiers... I too am disgusted by the mainstream media focussing on the white - black issue. The thing to do was to react... However, I too have thought and said, (While watching countless hours of CNN & FOX) - why did this occur in the manner it did.... I could not imagine thousands of white people camping out at the Superdome, the convention center or on I-10... However, is it racial or is it because 60% of New Orleans Citizens are Americans who happen to be Black?

    I also want to say that each and every American or Foreign national that was stranded and left in the city are heroes too me. Sure there were or are bad people of all color... but I would have gone nuts and surely may have died during this past week if I was "corraled" in that city waiting and expecting help.

    To each and every person... the many who helped, the many who saved others, the many who went without food so babies could eat etc... etc... etc... God Bless each of you - and may God Bless your lives from this moment on. You are all true heroes....

    Most will never read this... because they are poor people who do not have computer access - But I promise you that I will tell everyone I meet who was there, how much I admire their strength and faith.

  • At 5:04 PM, Blogger D.Beach said;

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 5:11 PM, Blogger D.Beach said;

    As a loyal Democrat I am deeply disturbed by the ridiculous assumptions made in the post described. I would respond, but registration for the site has been suspended.

    This tragedy should not be politicized. But the issue of poor resident's inability to evacuate must be confronted.

    If you steal food to stay alive, I cannot fault you. If you steal a TV, you should be jailed (or shot if you're breaking into to someone's home).

    Blame for the situation lies almost entirely with the pathetic response of FEMA.

  • At 5:45 PM, Blogger Tacola said;

    As far as I know, we're the only white (if it matters) family on my block in Algiers Point. I'm not affluent, either. Trying to turn this into a race issue is outrageous.

  • At 5:51 PM, Blogger The Caron's said;

    It's incredible that the media hasn't made known the fact that the gov blanco refused assistance from the gov't. the friday before the storm the gov't requested to take over the evacuation. Blanco didn't want to do it because she thought it was a political move and that they would impose martial law. She put political motive ahead of peoples lives - she should be ashamed of herself.

    Lessons learned: The serious break down in communitcation, big egos, and the lack of preparedness - on ALL levels evacuees, city, state and feds. EVERYONE had a responsibility to be prepared. No one was and here are the results.

    Currently rescuers are having a hard time getting people to leave their flooded homes. Once you refuse help I believe you are now responsible for your own life. I lived there for 5 yrs and that mentality is just a way of life good or bad it just is. You gotta respect them for their decision regardless if you do not agree with it. I'm done.

  • At 6:00 PM, Blogger Cousin Cody said;

    I too am from Algers. I have family who live at the Point. I live on Somerset Dr. My neighborhood is extreamly diverse. I may not have race in common with all of my neighbors.... what I do have, is common goals and a common vision for my comunity. My neighborhood is not wealth. People may so with out something so thier children can play in the school band.

    I am safe in Baton Rouge and am lucky enough to have frinds who have given me a feeling of security. I had a way to get out. It is short sighted to say that thoes poor people where left at the Dome because of the color of their skin. They were left there because of a poor national response. My cousins at the Point are Jerome and Nattily. They are fine and will be located in BR starting Wend.

  • At 6:26 PM, Blogger 1234MOM said;

    I've been watching the tragedy from Katrina from upstate New York. Here is my prospective and I think it is what you have been hearing regarding the race issue. The response to the hurricane has been completely pathetic. People who survived the hurricane were left to die by starvation, dehydration, and lack of medical assistance. There is absolutely no reason why assistance was not available IMMEDIATELY to all areas affected. Katrina was coming and everyone knew. We all pay taxes for services and one of the services that we pay for is emergency response. Both the Governors from Louisana and Mississippi have been doing ALL that they can. Governor Blanco made a correct decision not to let the Federal Goverment take over. They BOTH requested HELP immediately! Their ONLY mistake was NOT REQUESTING that their states be declared a "state of emergency" before Katrina actually hit.

    The finger pointing and race issue is being brought up because of the slow lack of response from FEMA, the National Guard and ultimately the Bush Administration.

    Even big corporations were sending food, water, and financial donations down to the affected areas. Walmart sent three truck loads of water down and was turned away by FEMA who said, "We've got it covered."

    People are dead and have died at the convention center because there was no food or water.

    A nursing home's residences were promised they would be evacuated on Tuesday. They all drowned in their beds on Friday. . .no one came!

    Now when you consider that we all knew Katrina was coming, that we have several disaster agencies in place to handle this sort of thing, and now all the additional death due to the slow response, it doesn't all add up.

    Remember the tragedy of 9/11. The goverment was there in minutes. That was a disaster that had no warning. I know that people of all races and economic class were affected by 9/11. The MAJOR difference has been the response to Katrina WHICH WE ALL KNEW WAS COMING.

    This is why the race issue is being brought up. On all the news channels what we are seeing are people needing food, water, and people dying. The majority of them are African-American. Why were people evacuated to the Superdome WHEN numerous studies have been done warning the government that the levee system needed to be upgraded. Who deined Louisana the funds to upgrade their levees? The Bush Administration. Who has allowed the wetlands to be sold to developers? The Bush Administration. Why were these people sent to the Superdome. Because it was CHEAPER! Cheaper than putting them on buses and paying for the cost of moving them and maintaining them somewhere else.

    I think when you are able to really hear and see what is going on you will see what we are seeing. A majority of the people who were left behind and then left to die were the ones who didn't have the financial means to leave.

  • At 7:23 PM, Blogger desertblog said;

    Just get us some info.

  • At 7:39 PM, Blogger paternostery said;

    I know for a fact I'm the only white person, and certainly the only Canadian, within 3 square blocks where I live in "lower" Aligers near O Perry HS. My neighbors range from black Americans to Latino to African and Mideastern refugees plus one Korean immigrant. As a Marine Corporal I definitely don't qualify as "affluent" but, like my neighbors, I picked Algiers because it was affordable, everyone was just trying to hold a job and raise their kids with the exception of a few dealer-types. I wish I had the spare time and spare money to indulge in Democrat mudslinging, but I'm too busy arguing with my insurance company and trying to budget between affording some more underwear and eating until I can go home.

    Politics and race did not create the crisis, it was just plain shortsightedness and stupidity. We need to focus on relief and rebuilding, not recrimination.

    Semper fi!

  • At 7:46 PM, Blogger Tacola said;

    I have been biting my tongue to alot of the political hatred spewed as of late but I am now compelled to respond to a previous comment.

    Louisiana disaster plan, pg 13, para 5 , dated 01/00

    'The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating'

    And yet:

    I'm not showing this to lay blame or fingerpoint, I'm showing it to illustrate that there were breakdowns at ALL levels of government.

    Instead of issuing politically charged statements of blame, maybe some of us should go and volunteer at our local Red Cross. I believe they even have them in upstate New York.

    Perhaps after a hard day of volunteering you could stop off at the library and brush up on Title 32 of the U.S. Code which states that though federally recognized, the National Guard falls under the authority of it's respective state's Govenor and can not go into action unless directed by the Governor (unless federalized under Title 10, which would be an unwise plan because a.) Troops would then be subject to the Posse Comitatus Act *18 USC 1385* and b.) Govenors would then have to request the use of their own military resources from the President, thus tying up even more valuable time).

    Do everyone a favor....save the politics for next week, and go and help someone.

  • At 9:42 PM, Blogger 400blockElmira said;

    state of Texas is offering food stamps for Louisiana residents
    2 months, no questions asked, just have ID

    they also are offering free gas
    and you can apply for unemployment over the phone
    pass this to anyone who may be stranded in Texas

  • At 10:21 PM, Blogger The Caron's said;

    To the Marine Corporal: 1) thank you for your service; 2) Go to the nearest Red Cross - there you can get a loan or grant via the Navy/Marine Corp Relief Society that is what they are there for (I know I've been a volunteer). My husband was stationed at Belle Chasse.

    To Tacola: HooYaa!! You hit the nail on the head!

    Next week I'm due to man the phones for our local Emergency Mgmt Agency up here in North MS - the MidSouth area has taken in 25,000 evacuees. I was a Navy Ombudsman for 10yrs and I'm used to help others in time of crisis.

    A few of my old Algiers neighbors were headed here until they got in touch with relatives in GA. Now I'm working on getting them home. But they are safe.
    God Bless this great country of ours and each and every survivor.

  • At 10:33 PM, Blogger 400blockElmira said;

    help for the self employed or newly employed
    disaster employment insurance

  • At 10:34 PM, Blogger victoria*notsosecret* said;

    Polimom thank you for such an informative site. Very well said. People do not know who, what color, race you are and for some to make assumptions is extremely ignorant. Too many putting blame and criticizing rather than trying to repair right now.
    Your rants/vents are welcome anytime.

  • At 7:49 PM, Blogger Orion14 said;

    Well then, what race where the looters? hummm? Care to comment?

    Foolish people like yourself got people killed in NO with your "we are all one" crap, like the 8 year old white boy raped and found dead in a freezer locker with his throat cut in the superdome, along with elderly white people bludgeoned to death.

    One day it will all come back on you. I can't wait for that day.

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