A couple of impressions from the last 14 or so days of my life:
- Last week was the 1 year anniversary (is this term really applicable?) of Hurricane Katrina & its devastating effects effects on the Gulf Coast. I watched Spike Lee's When the levees broke, and did the knowledge to the various articles & reports from that area. Here are my conclusions:
1) The U.S. Government never gave a damn about Louisiana in the first place. The reason that black people in N.O. were so behind the 8 ball to begin with is that America treats the entire state as a colony (meaning take all it's resources and give it nothing). The state gets nothing from the off-shore drilling that's done in the Gulf Coast. With no federal dollars coming in, and no industries beyond tourism and fishing. This was a castastrophe waiting to happen.
2) Katrina was not a natural disaster, it was a social disaster. Making the distinction is very important. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of rapidly worsening social disaster all over the country. Detroit is a social disaster. Philadelphia (which by the way has the same death rate as the U.S.'s first couple of months in Iraq) is a social disaster. You can't handle social disaster through law enforcement, and you can't change it with prayer, positive thoughts or good intentions. There has to be a comprehensive social upheaval that speaks to every aspect of our being.
3) When watching the HBO special, I noticed that every black person who held any type of governmental position was an understanding seed (light skin) which is due to the social engineering and class structure that has been maintained in the N.O. for hundreds of years(It's one place where black people can say "I'm Creole" and it actually means something). If anything should have been washed away, it should be that.
- The uproar over Andy Young's remark regarding other ethnic groups doing business in black communities can be filtered down to a couple of points:
1) What he said was true, and anyone who has lived in a black community in the last 40 years knows it. I travel all across the country, and it's the same everywhere. The other piece that was inferred b.u.t. not explicitly mentioned is that different ethnic groups are able to come and build a economic foundation based upon the needs of the black community. When I was young & coming up in philly, 90 percent of the corner stores were owned by asians, mostly from Vietnam (the other 10 percent were owned by jamaicans, b.u.t. thats another blog).
The peculiar thing that I noticed was that I only saw the children of the families in the stores during the summer time. When we struck up a conversation, I found that they all lived & went to school in the suburbs, and that none of their future plans included doing anything regarding a store. They were all going to school for subjects like Accounting, Medicine, Business Law, or Finance. I then understood that the family opening a store in the hood was a upward mobility move that allowed the parents (most of whom were 1st generation immigrants) to get a foothold and help their children get an education in subjects that will give them access to resources and networks (my blog on Asians & Education coming soon). Frankly, we would do well to mimic that move.
In about 1995, all of the Asian stores disappeared, and were replaced by Dominican bodegas. I guess that the plan was born (brought to completion), and they were moving on for the next step of individual & community progress. Now, philly looks like new york with bodegas on every corner. Given the history of dominicans & blacks, it shouldn't be long before their work is done, and we see another ethnicity.
2) Andy, why were you representing wal-mart to begin with? As much as I detest what has been done in our communities by other groups, the only difference between them and wal mart is that the food will be cheaper. There's a reason that the empire that Sam built doesn't like unions: they don't want to pay living wage. Recent big-box fights in Chicago have gone against the stores, so their looking for new strategies to get in. Andy was representing walton world as a paid consultant, so who knows where his true loyalties lie?
- America is in some deep shit now. Isreal not being able to knock Hezbollah out, plus the extended engagement in Iraq & afghanistan shows that the world's superpower may be overstepping it's bounds. By the way, what the hell is "Islamic fascism" anyway? Last time I checked,fascism was a national phenomenon, not one that crossed borders