Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Babs: Now underprivileged can eat cake

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Remember when Bush senior stood flabbergasted at the price of milk in a grocery checkout line? Because he had no clue what milk costs? Because he had never, ever stood in a checkout line to buy milk? Well, wifey has shown once more how stupid the face of privilege can be. Babs thinks the refugees are better off sleeping on someone else's floors than they would have been in their own homes, because they are underprivileged. And wouldn't you rather be in the great state of Texas than a godforsaken Gomorrah like New Orleans?

Kudos to Christine Francis, a New Orleans woman displaced by Katrina with her family to Austin, interviewed on NPR news today. Francis corrected Robert Siegel when he joked that her family practically needed MBAs to understand the bureaucracy of filing for FEMA aid, politely informing him that in fact, her sister already had her MBA and that she herself was three classes away from finishing the degree. When he mumbled something about how her neighbors probably didn't have MBAs even if her family did, she corrected him again, telling him that her neighbors were all professional people, and that the 9th ward, where she lived, was mostly black homeowners, the highest percentage of African American homeowners in the city. She bemoaned the misrepresentation of her neighbors as poor slum-dwellers and rightly blamed the news media for ignoring the black middle class. Siegel thanked her for the interview, but was reduced to near-speechlessness, and quickly ended the conversation.

This reminded me of a story I read a few days ago in the New York Times about the architecture of New Orleans as a terrible casualty of Katrina. While the writer mentioned the 9th ward, talked about the house he owned there, and praised the community spirit of an area where back folks and white folks lived happily side by side, the article made it seem as if whites were moving in to gentrify the place. He mentioned that his neighbor, Miss Marie, had been born in the house he now owned, but then he went on to characterize her own house nearby in the most condescending terms, as little more than a shotgun shack.

But I guess he and Barbara Bush would see Miss Marie as better off now, anyway.


Diva said...

Excellent entry. Yesterday another NPR interviewer (can't remember who) was condescending to an African American man who had lost his family. The interviewer kept asking stupid questions about whether the man had started looking for his relatives. It's like...duh...of course. And Babs, what planet is she on?

Sfrajett said...

I know, right? It's a time-share fantasy of what everyone displaced by the hurricane must be feeling. "Texas! I've always wanted to travel there! Perhaps NOW our family can finally stay at a nice hotel and order room service and movies on pay per view!" Sooo creepy.

shrinkykitten said...

This a.m. on the news some volunteers were welcoming evacuees to our city. One of the volunteer chicks came on and kept saying "Those people are soooo grateful to us. You can see it in their faces even if they don't say it. those people just need our help, and they are so grateful." She repeated "those people" 1200 times. I felt like hurling.

There is a really interesting/horrifying article in today's NYT on the backlash against evacuees in Baton Rouge.

Sfrajett said...

Wow. Nothing makes some people so happy and smug as a disaster, I guess. Bitch PhD has a great link to an EMS site with a 1st person account of hostile law enforcement and border patrols to keep refugees from crossing freeways into nearby towns. I hope all this news gets out!