I apologize if my silence on the Texas disaster strikes anyone as indifference. My thoughts are always with black people as we collectively experience disaster daily—be it financial, educational, familial, or otherwise. My silence reflects my intellectual meditation on a so-called natural disaster that is not unlike anything we as a collective have seen or experienced in the past.
I was seventeen when Katrina hit. Despite the disturbing pictures on the news, the disaster did not appear real to me until I visited New Orleans my freshman year of college as a community outreach volunteer. The images of houses uprooted from plots of land are seared into my brain, as are the signs of those who returned home still seeking beloved pets and loved ones swept away or drowned by what the media referred to as Katrina. I also remember cleaning out a severely damaged convenience store when the owner asked us to leave in an outpour of emotions that brought him to tears. To the news, Katrina was a breaking story used to culminate the careers of countless white journalists. To blacks, Katrina was heartbreaking–the joys of their lives turned into memories.
What was perhaps most interesting about this trip, is seeing that despite black tragedy, whites thrived. While the lower ninth ward, a predominately black district, received extensive damage, the French Quarter was virtually unscathed due to the high levees and brick houses.
Whites were also in charge of the relief services. Thus, what I though was involvement with my university’s community service initiative, was actually whites seeking to consummate their journey to liberalism. Despite their liberal performance, the white leaders scolded my HBCU cohort, for not fulfilling what they deemed proper engagement. Yes, a service seemingly dedicated to helping blacks in need, was overly burdened by the presence of blacks on a journey to education, and seemed to find pride in reprimanding a group of black students in front of a predominately white constituency.
Similar behavior proves quite common in after school initiatives and non-profit organization started by whites supposedly in existence to aid black youth or black people. The blacks involved in these initiatives often misconstrue the interests of white founders and leaders. In doing so, blacks are often castigated by said whites in an understated attribute of the white liberal—seeming more involved or more dedicated to black disenfranchisement than actual black people. Thus, these portrayals illustrate that these natural disasters that prove detrimental to blacks provoke an unnatural response from white responders who use black disenfranchisement or tragedy to emerge as a white savior.
The same can be said of Hurricane Harvey whose devastation has proved a platform for a multitude of white saviors. Every day, the news is inundated with images of whites “saving.” Even the heat placed on Paster Joel Osteen for initially declining to open his doors for those in need, proved a gateway for his emergence as a white savior. Furthermore, the figurative knocks on Osteen’s church proved a mess for the pastor to emerge as a Jesus- like figure—despite his initial reservation in granting civilian access to the prodigious property their tithes paid for.
The Osteen scenario proved quite resonant, in that it exposed an unstated conflict with the white savior figure. The white “savior” is an illusion which appears to “rescue” blacks from a systemic heist to which they benefit. This notation, brings me to the query that anchors this post:
How natural are natural disasters?
For whites to win in times of loss—be it a hurricane or any of the other injustices that burden the black community, suggests that white gain is as natural as a hurricane—a conceptualization that substantiates white evil while simultaneously oppressing the colonialized.
These natural disasters also conveniently displace blacks. Natural community disasters like education displace blacks into charter schools as Katrina displaced many blacks to New York–which experienced Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and Houston–the location of the latest natural disaster. Coincidence or Convinience?
To some, these disasters merely expose how systemically disenfranchised blacks are in comparison to their thoroughly protected counterparts. But do these natural disasters expose systemic disenfranchisement, or are they a product of white supremacist conjuring induced to ensure cyclical disenfranchisement continues to plague the black collective?
Regardless of how one may interpret these occurrences, the natural disaster as it effects blacks reveals “nature’ as reflecting the nature of whites—making it cruel, destructive, yet predictable.
As a collective, we many not be able to predict when the wrath of white supremacy will strike—but we know for sure that it will.
So while natural disasters may reflect the nature of our oppressors—it also reflects our nature as Africans to adapt and overcome.
Thus, it it is imperative that we as a collective, to the best of our ability, maintain a stance ready for combat. So whether it is having a passport, being physically fit, eating healthy, reading and writing more, policing our neighborhoods, learning to swim, or farm—there are a plethora of attributes we can cultivate as a collective to increase our survival rate, and denounce the white savior by saving ourselves.
Black Power ❤
5 Comments Add yours
Hmm. You’re not alone in your questioning C.C. I’ve had similar suspicions with the 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti. Do these “natural disasters” merely expose racial inequality or is something else going on here? Just look at the way hurricane Katrina help speed up the gentrification process in New Orleans and all the private contractors who made huge profits. I just wanted to say your not alone in your suspicions and to keep questioning. Thank you.
Here’s a good article to read on the issue: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/06/naomi-klein-how-power-profits-from-disaster.
And here’s an excerpt from the article: Richard Baker, at that time a Republican congressman from Louisiana, declared, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.”
Conspiracy theories?!Ok… I’m not sure if you are eluding that they are creating these natural disasters to displace blk ppl??? I’ll read it again.
But I actually thought they manipulated Mother Nature and created this disaster using chemicals to take the attention off of white “supremacy” and the negative images of white America that was being shown to the world. ….. but idk…. its just a coincidence. I mean, You have Kevin hart creating challenges now..Ppl coming together when it seems like just two weeks ago America was on the brink of a civil war….?? Now the white ‘saviors’ have come to the rescue after being exposed to the World two weeks ago.???.. It’s some trickery going on! I’m convinced.
And also this disaster covers up what trump has been doing lately for instance he lifted a ban Obama placed back in 2014/2015. They have militarized the police with war weapons! Read about it. The same police who aren’t trained and could careless about black lives…. coincidence? Or is it really just nature? It’s a serious accusation with no real proof that they are manipulating nature.
I am in the area of the world know as Houston Tx, forgive me for being wordy but this still has not sinked in, the massive devastation that has disrupted black lives. Although I was not personally effected by the historic storm, I am affected by the massive damage, where there are parts of the city I cannot even get to. Whites have up signs saying “you loot we shoot” at barricades in their neighborhoods, with all these white people off from work, I ask the question, who is crazy enough to be looting, with the residents home? Who are looters? Are looters only black people? I do not know if this storm is natural or not, I do know white people burn midnight oil learning how to do everything including manipulating the weather. It really does not even matter if it was natural or not because even if it was natural, white people are masterful at seizing an opportunity and using it to strengthen Racism White Supremacy. I feel for the black people, because we were already highly confused, with this storm, it’s going to cause even greater confusion. I generally do not go out at night when it’s late, it opens up the door for black people to be mistreated and victimized and I try to minimize that as much as possible. At this time it is extremely dangerous to be out at night because white people are out patrolling with assault rifles, they look giddy. I am highly suspicious of everything going on, these white people appear to be happy to me, which is kind of strange, just my observation.
Speaking of Hurricane Katrina, I was in New Orleans the weekend before Katrina hit and that city has never and will never be the same, I also heard about some white politico in Chicago saying they wish they could get a Katrina in Chicago to clean their city up. So this type of thought, speech and action from whites make me highly suspicious to what is going on, I also sense this storm is some type of major public relations effort on the part of white people to make themselves look like saviors instead of savages.
“Yes, a service seemingly dedicated to helping blacks in need, was overly burdened by the presence of blacks on a journey to education, and seemed to find pride in reprimanding a group of black students in front of a predominately white constituency.” Standard operating procedures for typical Racist White Supremacist behavior.
Yes white people are about come up and you can see it in their faces, something has either already been planned or is being planned right now in the confines of all white board rooms. The White Savior image is going hot and heavy in Houston and unfortunately blacks seem to not comprehend this. They will most likely end up praising Joel Osteen.
C.C you laid out some deep questions that the black collective really needs to spend some time pondering deeply on. As I stated I have a high level of suspicion for what my eyes are seeing.
“Thus, it it is imperative that we as a collective, to the best of our ability, maintain a stance ready for combat. So whether it is having a passport, being physically fit, eating healthy, reading and writing more, policing our neighborhoods, learning to swim, or farm—there are a plethora of attributes we can cultivate as a collective to increase our survival rate, and denounce the white savior by saving ourselves.” This is excellent advice!!! We definitely need to get on War Time Footing, we just cannot afford to be goofing off or lolly gagging anymore!
I will end with this, I happen to listen to a broadcast recently of Neely Fuller Jr. and he said white people love to fly over in a airplane of a disaster area, in this case he was talking about Katrina, he said it was symbolic, with black people looking up into the sky at the God like white people saving them off of the roof tops. Mr. Fuller recounted the black woman that the young white male half her age dropped down and saved. When he picked the black woman up her dress blew up exposing all of her business and you could see her big brown legs wrapped around this young white male and the helicopter hoisted them up, that image was circulated and recirculated. I remember this picture. Mr. Fuller said this is black folks salvation – and indeed that picture was symbolic as the White Savior dropped out of the sky and rescued her, while her husband and family was still on the rooftop waiting to be rescued. Tragic indeed.