There is this one, fat, black, woman who keeps wading across my TV screen. Or maybe there’s a hundred of her. She drags her belongings in a gym bag through chest- deep oily water. Her arms are as fat as thighs. Her THIGHS are churning all that’s foul beneath the surface.
And then there’s the brother. He’s a do-ragged, unshaven gangsta from central casting with a case of beer on his shoulder. Maybe he’s her nephew. He doesn’t have a record deal—yet— but he does have a nasty hard core rapin’ and robbin’ video out on cable news right now.
Auntie and nephew are the worst possible sterotypes of black America. America sees them playing on an endless loop on TV this week. We haven’t seen this many black folks acting out this much pain since the rebranded Rodney King uprising in L.A.
All I can see are metaphors, blowing in the wind from Katrina, the perfect storm.
Forget forest and trees. On TV we can’t see the class for the race.
Last Saturday the ‘official’ evacuation looked like nothing more than the start of a very long weekend--people with available credit, mostly white, stuck in traffic. Or was that the ‘60’s white flight to the suburbs. No, no, it was the stampede of white Dixiecrats into the party of small government and big oil, AFTER they got to the suburbs. But where is THAT video?
Instead, we’ve got talking heads. The FEMA director insisted to CNN that he makes “no judgement” as to the reason why Auntie and nephew stayed sadly behind. He didn’t want to “second guess” them. That’s a euphemism for saying they had no good reason at all. Not when tax cuts have brought so many new jobs and so much prosperity.
Another TV ‘relief official’ said Auntie was just plain unplanned. Unplanned —like what happens--who happens--when you’re too dumb or lazy to use birth control. If you’re poor, that is. As if there was still anybody planning for the black and the poor in America.
Someone said the unplugged black folks in the street in New Orleans have no idea that the whole world is watching them do whatever it is we THINK we see them doing. I saw Auntie and her nephew on a roof, desperately moving her mouth up to the air at a news helicopter shooting video down. But, of course, I didn’t hear a thing. What DID she want, anyway? Her nephew has been reported shooting BACK at a helicopter-with bullets. Great- Now we’re in Somalia.
Or is it Baghdad? There just aren’t enough boots on the ground to do the job. Soon the soldiers may be outgunned by a growing insurgency. Nahh, couldn’t be. This is just black culture outta control—keepin’ it real, real.Still, I wonder what a black Louisiana national guardsman in dusty Iraq is making of this.
In my metaphor, what we are seeing is the SS Deep Dixie. It has been gored by an iceberg that everyone saw coming. It’s poorest blackest passengers are trapped in the steerage of political minority, going down slowly, but not without putting up a dirty fight. And sometimes they come up, treading water, like rats in an oil-slicked sea.
My Auntie. If she were not poor and black, this would not be happening to her.
Today the president finally toured the area. All it took was an act of God to get him and Fox News together to look my Auntie in the eye. When she looks back, I hope she shoves her soggy shoe wherever she thinks they should put THEIR metaphors.