When Are Haitians Looters and When Are They Just Hungry?

January 20, 2010 by: Africa Speaks

By: Natalie Hopkinson
January 17, 2010

“Nearly five years ago, when you could see photo captions of white Hurricane Katrina survivors side-by-side with black survivors, the racial double standard in the news media covering a catastrophic tragedy were obvious. Hungry, desperate white survivors were ‘finding food’ while hungry, desperate black survivors were ‘looting’ for food.”

Looting vs Searching for food
Dueling Photo Captions:
“A young [black] man walks through chest deep floodwater after looting a grocery store in New Orleans…”
“Two [white] residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans…”

Full Article : theroot.com

Filed under: General,Haiti,USA
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2 Responses to “When Are Haitians Looters and When Are They Just Hungry?”
  1. Africa Speaks says:

    The Looting Lie

    In the wake of Haiti’s earthquake, the media is widely reporting stories of looting. Didn’t they learn anything after Hurricane Katrina?

    By Cord Jefferson
    January 15, 2010 – campusprogress.org

    It’s been three days since an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale devastated the small island nation of Haiti, leaving tens of thousands dead and many survivors homeless. Sadly, the images and stories emerging from the disaster—including dead children and aid shortages—are all too reminiscent of those that followed Hurricane Katrina. So is an unfortunate media talking point: looting.

    Already, tales of “machete wielding gangs” looting Haiti’s rubble are widespread, from news outlets on the left and the right. Similar stories surfaced after Hurricane Katrina, but we now know of a large body of evidence proving that the media greatly exaggerated reports of post-Katrina New Orleans being overrun with violence and theft.

    To discuss this troubling media phenomenon, and to better understand what happens in the immediate fallout of massive natural disasters, Campus Progress spoke with Dr. Kathleen Tierney, professor of sociology and behavioral science and director of the Natural Hazard Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    Do you think that because the victims of both Haiti and Katrina were poor and black, the media approached the stories with a certain perspective?

    Definitely. There is an institutionalized racism in the way these poor black disaster victims are treated. The victims of Katrina were treated with so much presumption, as if you could assume they were going to loot, because they were black. Just like we know that the people in Haiti are bad because they’re black. Black men especially are demonized. During Katrina, the media picked up on every rumor—whether it was raped 4-year-olds in the Superdome or people shooting each other. Actually, for a paper me and a couple of my graduate students wrote called “Metaphors Matter,” we found some transcripts of TV programs in which members of the media expressed regret. They were saying, “We really blew it during Katrina; we acted on all of these rumors.” I myself was on Jim Lehrer’s show, where they were asking about the looting [in Katrina], and I got into it with a police officer, and he ended up agreeing with me that it was a myth. It’s not real. I thought the media would have learned something after Katrina, but evidently they haven’t. Here we go again.
    Full Article : campusprogress.org

  2. Africa Speaks says:

    When the Media Is the Disaster: Covering Haiti

    by Rebecca Solnit

    Soon after almost every disaster the crimes begin: ruthless, selfish, indifferent to human suffering, and generating far more suffering. The perpetrators go unpunished and live to commit further crimes against humanity. They care less for human life than for property. They act without regard for consequences. I’m talking, of course, about those members of the mass media whose misrepresentation of what goes on in disaster often abets and justifies a second wave of disaster. I’m talking about the treatment of sufferers as criminals, both on the ground and in the news, and the endorsement of a shift of resources from rescue to property patrol. They still have blood on their hands from Hurricane Katrina, and they are staining themselves anew in Haiti.
    Full Article : truthout.org

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