by Scott Shields, Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:03:09 AM EDT
Both Atrios and Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing have posted examples of photo captions in which a black person is identified as "looting" goods while white people are "finding" them. Aside from the obvious racial stereotyping, I would argue that none of them were guilty of a crime.
Yesterday on NPR, an older woman was interviewed after taking part in the "looting" of a store for food. After giving her full name, she expressed a great deal of remorse for what she was doing, saying that every time she'd ever seen looters on television, she'd been extremely upset by it and never thought she'd be in their shoes. Well, shame on anyone who would make these people -- who are in the middle of a literal hell on Earth -- feel as if scavenging for bread and clean water from flooded and abandoned stores is somehow wrong or shameful.
Tens of billions of dollars are going to be spent on aid, reconstruction, and redevelopment in the areas hit hardest by Katrina. But right now, stealing a few loaves of Wonder Bread is a matter of survival, not a violation of the eighth commandment.