It’s the Little Things…

I was listening to Ann Curry of NBC this morning talk about the devastation in Chile. I happen to love Ann Curry; her reporting is laced with compassion and caring, which I think is every bit as important as is accuracy.

Anyway, she was in Chile, and talked about how horrible is the aftermath of the 8.8. earthquake that happened on Saturday. I found myself holding my breath, to see if she would use the “L” word: looting.

Why? Because in the aftermath of Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti, I was incensed at how reporters zeroed in on the presence or possibility of looting. In Haiti, even as the horror was unfolding before our eyes, the reporters kept saying that the authorities were worried about looting. In New Orleans, following Katrina, when for days the people could not get food or water because nobody would deliver it, the reports again zeroed in as people took what they needed in order to survive. My God. People in New Orleans were standing on roofs, begging to be rescued. Others were on a hot, concrete bridge, dying in front of our eyes. People were stuffed into the Convention Center and the Superdome, with horrible to no facilities to use the bathroom. The people had no food, no water, and no help …and yet, the reporters concentrated on looting. Instead of going to New Orleans with food and water to help the people, the government sent the military with guns. Thank God for General Russell Honore, who ordered the men to put the guns down and help the people!

In Haiti, the fear or anticipation was in every report. I love Anderson Cooper, but even he laced his reports with the fear of looting. Again, I call out to God. What were the people supposed to do? There was no food, no water, no housing, no bathrooms … and yet there were survivors, from infants to old people, who needed to eat and have water in order to live – in spite of the devastation.

What I am afraid of is that the world lives with a veil over its ability to be fair when it comes to people of color, and if the people of color being dealt with are poor, the veil is even more dense. The world still has a tendency to see people of color as objects and not as human beings. There is compassion but it only goes so far. Instead of empathy there is fear and disdain, and a readiness to justify bad opinions of people of color by going to the worst case scenario, expecting the worst, ready to pounce on the people as opposed to lifting them. Fear of people of color is a disease of the world.

I still ache when I thinkof how Belgian doctors left post-op patients unattended, according to news reports, because night was falling and there was no one to protect them. I felt my heart fall to my feet. These were doctors, for goodness sake. They had operated on desperately wounded people … and they just left! I thank God for Sanjay Gupta for staying there with the patients, alone, with no other doctor to help, overnight.

People of color are people. They/we hurt, ache, yearn for life just like everyone else. The world has painted us as objects to be feared, not people to be cared for and respected. I applaud the resiliency of people of color everywhere, for we have endured not because of, but in spite of the world.

The people in Chile will “loot” because they are desperate. I wonder if the military will take up arms to keep that from happening, as they did in Haiti and New Orleans. And, I wonder if the much needed food and water will have as much difficulty getting to the people in Chile as it has had getting to the people of Haiti and New Orleans. Better it would have been for my soul if some compassionate soldier, while working to keep order, had been seen throwing loaves of bread, water and formula to desperate people instead of threatening their already uprooted lives with threats of even more pain.

Just a candid observation.

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Comments

  1. I really do not have anything much to say. What I was thinking and praying about you have commented on so beautifully. God help us for we can see how to do it ourselves.

  2. I really do not have anything much to say. What I was thinking and praying about you have commented on so beautifully. God help us for we cannot see how to do it ourselves.

  3. Latoya Snead says:

    I wonder if the reporters have thought about what they would do if they were left with nothing. Would they still call it looting or survival?

  4. Angela Stafford says:

    Here where I am at on this. I think people are too comfortable with their own secure circumstances that it is very easy for them to past judgement on others.One never knows what the day may bring. The bad thing is because they have never been through any trails when a trial occurs they are the first one to break. So I say to them be cautious of your ill thoughts and words because your day will come. Will your strength and faith be ready? Probably not.

  5. Sheila T says:

    Media is such a powerful tool. Those subliminal and subtle messages need to be exposed more often. Well said. Thank you.

  6. G. Edwards says:

    I thought about that last night when I heard on the news about some looting in Chile. The reporter said they were taking food, water, milk, etc. but some were also taking appliances. Food and such = survival, TVs and such = looting. Where is the military and media outrage about this? I only heard this reported on ABC news, it probably leaked out. I pity the poor reporter when he gets back home.

  7. Sheila T says:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124192514&sc=fb&cc=fp

    This link shows another instance of the use of the word “looting” in and NPR article on Chile’.

  8. Stealing Peace says:

    My question is were any of the Doctors people of color? If not, where were they? How can we expect others to do what we are not willing to do for ourselves, our people of color. At least they showed up, these doctors, at least they showed up.

    I think too many people of color, wait for someone else to do what we should be doing for our own. Because maybe we think that we are owed this or that.

    Slavery was costly, but it was the relationship with one another as a people, the relationship with their God that kept the will to do whatever, whenever for whomever a thing of grace and thanksgiving. What happened?

    It saddens me to see people of color kicking our own when they are down, turning away from our own brothers and sisters when they are obviously in need of help. I heard a comment from a gentleman of color ‘Let someone else help ‘them people,’ referring to our Haitian brothers and sisters, ‘I’ve got problems of my own.’ Again I ask, what happened?

    It is not just the world that has painted people of color to be feared. People of color fear people of color. It happens.

    Better it would have been for my soul if God had shown compassion and left nothing. I wouldn’t have a need to ask what happened for it would be clear to me that God got tired of waiting for his people, to take care of his people. Tired of waiting on the world to change. That did not happen though, so Im thinking that God is still waiting. So the question should be how long will he wait, how long do I, we, have to really help one another.

  9. Rebekah Sharpe says:

    The media in this country alwasy focuses on the negative and omits the positive. This is even more so the case when people of color are invovled. As much as people like to think that racism is dead because slavery has been abolished, black people can vote and even because we have a black president, this could not be farther from the truth. I appluad you for brgingin thses issues to the light and giving everyone a chance to have stimulating conversation about such topics.

  10. The media is corporate owned. That means “non-black” or no people of color own the media. The nedia is corporate controlled. Guess what that means?

    The spin masters try to sell us a bill of goods about this being a post racial society, but the white supremacy that controls the media continues to hammer home the truth as to where their heads, their hearts and their wallets are, Rev Sue. As long as white people see people of color looting, that justifies their shooting!

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