23 January 2007

Perception is reality...

QUESTION - What is going on in this photo?

ANSWER - According to the Associated Press: "Scavengers Simone and Dougal roll home an empty barrel that they recovered from Branscombe beach near Sidmouth, England. Dozens of people swarmed over the pebble beach exploring the contents of containers from the stricken vessel Napoli, which is grounded about a mile out at sea. Officials said some of the containers were carrying the possessions of people immigrating to South Africa. Picture: AP"

While smiling Simone and Dougal are cheerfully wheeling home what is allegedly an empty barrel, hundreds of photos just like these are all over the global electronic and written press. In all of my reading I continuously see the words "scavengers" and "beachcomers" describing these people, as if they are a cheerful group of retirees looking for nick-nacks to share with the gang at the old folks home. Of course, the words used to describe the actions of these people are "liberating" and "salvaging."

Let me back up for a moment - a few days ago, a massive cargo ship ran aground in high winds during a storm off the coast of Sidmouth, in England. The ship was carrying a wide array of goods, many of which fell off and washed ashore and still more that remained on the deck of the grounded vessel.

Well, the citizens of the nearby towns have decided to descend on the beaches to steal all that they can find of value. Some of the more popular items are brand new $15,000 BMW motorcycles, expensive engine parts, clothes, shoes, dog food, oil paintings and other things. Hundreds of people are just all over the place STEALING things that DON'T BELONG TO THEM!!! But, the English police are on the job! According to the AP, the police are TELLING the SCAVENGERS to stop taking items from the beach. TELLING THEM!!! At last count I have seen at least three photos of police standing around looking bored and stupid with their hands in their pockets.

My issue here, if you haven't figured it out yet...

Why is this considered such a mild and happy-go-lucky crime? Is it because the people commiting these blatant acts of larceny are jovial caucasians? Is it because the people STEALING all of this property are so blindly drunk with their own arrogance that they feel it is okay to take what does not belong to them? Is the media looking on them as kind-hearted ruffians because of their skin color and stupid Alfred E. Newman - "What, me worry?" smiles on their thieving mugs?

All day, I kept saying to myself, "With great power comes great responsibility." Sure, that line is straight out of Spider-Man, but it is true! It is true for both the National and International Media. The mass media has to constantly be aware of its power and its impact on the world and on global racial relations.

My point is - PERCEPTION IS REALITY! The mass media controls much of the perceptions that people around the world make and live by. This controlled perception becomes the reality that many people live and die by. When the media gives hundreds of white people that are clearly breaking the law, a white-washed and sugar-coated presentation from one end of the planet to the other - it skews the global perception. It makes white people seem light-hearted, playful, whistful and high-spirited.

" The [WHITE] scavengers, joyfully found thousands of dollars worth of other people's belongings strewn across a sunny beach. Many of these fun-loving scavengers playfully ignored the chiding of local police as they loaded motorcycles and BMW transmissions on their family vehicles." This is basically how most headlines read.

Now had this ship run aground in say, Mogadishu, the headlines would have read-

"Thousands of angry Somalis violently looted a beach covered with Internationally owned property and belongings. Seven people were injured when private security, hired by the ship owner, arrived on the scene in heavily armed helicopter gunships." And, you know I'm NOT lying.

Need I bring back the images of countless Black folks in New Orleans after Katrina? Okay - sure, some folks WERE looting! When your home is flooded and sitting underwater and you are stealing stereos and DVD's - yes YOU ARE LOOTING, regardless of your race! But, on the other hand just because you are black and you have a bag in your hands YOU ARE NOT A LOOTER! The Mass Media ignored this fact! Every Black person on film in the Katrina aftermath that was holding a bag and standing near a business was captioned as A LOOTER! [Google it if you doubt me!] While White Katrina victims were described as "finding" things to survive the Blacks were all "looting"!

The Global Mass Media has to look hard in the mirror and learn to be fair and neutral when it presents events that happen across this planet!

By the way - the people in the photo - ARE LOOTING! THEY ARE STEALING ITEMS THAT DO NOT BELONG TO THEM! For God's sake, these arrogant fools gave their names - they need to be found and prosecuted!



Seaniemo said...

No truer words can be written. As I read the post I immediately thought about the description they gave to the blacks during the Katrina tragedy.

They also gave the whites more of a warmer description at that time too. But riddle me this...Is the face of racism starting to be a little more in your face? Or am I just looking for a fight?

tickledpink21 said...

Yep I was thinking exactly the same thing when I saw the paper with these (white people) with shopping bags full all over the front cover. The headline said lightheartedly "NATIONAL LOOTERY"

I remarked to my (white) boyfriend " You see if that was Katrina in America they would have said they were robbin'", my boyf said something along the lines of they must be allowed to do that. Now Im pretty sure my boyf isnt predjudiced because the way the madia at first portrayed it was that thees (white) people are so lucky to get all this free stuff. Never said s**t about illegality.

Now even though these people are now acknowledged as doing more harm than good on the news they still arent getting the hard hand of the law, more along the lines of "those pesky White looters". It wasnt hard to detect in Katrina coverage the underlying tone of "you see I told you those Black people were violent, criminals and rapists". When it comes to these people, I do believe if it was the White underclass in the country they would have a worse time with the media. White middle class have no way been tarnished or drawn assumtions of their general collective charector with this looting.

Which leads me to believe that the coverage of Black "looting" in Katrina served two purposes. First it was just general raciam to assume they were robbing and not just trying to survive, and secondley it provided a unspoken validation for the amount of time they delayed the rescue. Hidden social values were displayed with Katrina, You have to lie to say you didnt feel that.

CreoleInDC said...

We always think of the same things as when I read this I IMMEDIATELY thought of the Katrina pics.

One day soon I hope the type of forthright discussions we have here are picked up by members of the media who control what is printed and how it's printed and are viewed without tinted or tainted glasses. Why? Because until the images the masses see are delivered fairly...race relations never have a chance. NEVER.

Gunfighter said...

From the television news, pretty much anywhere in America.

News Story 1:

"Teenaged party-goers, got a little out of hand, this weekend, as large groups of students spilled out of bars during beach-week in Daytona Beach, Florida. There was some minor fighting and vandalism, which police quickly quelled. One arrest was made, and property damage is believed to be in the tesn of thousands of dollars"

News Story 2:

A crowd of black males turned a party into a riot, this weekend, as large groups of rowdy revelers spilled out of bars during the so-called "frek-nic" celebration in Atlanta, Georgia. There was fighting in the streets while cars, busses, and businesses were damaged or destroyed by gangs of vandals before police, wearing special riot-equipment, and wielding batons, restored order.

Only one arrest was made... there were too many perpetrators and not enough police to catch them all. Property damage is believed to be in the tens of thousands of dollars."

These two news reports are discussing identical incidents. The only majotr difference in the two incidents is that the participants in the first circumstance are white. In the second incident, they are black.

onefromphilly said...

I could not have said it better...so I'll just say


Anali said...

I wish it weren't true, but I have to agree with you. I immediately thought about Katrina. If these people were black, they wouldn't still be rolling the barrel or smiling. They would be lying on top of the barrels being handcuffed from behind by the police and looking very unhappy.

The Thinking Black Man said...

Hey SEANIEMO What's up Brother?

Yeah Katrina came back to me all over again when I saw that. I wanted to jump up on the train and shout, "Hey! Do ya'll see this racist bulls***!" But uh, you know with Homeland security and all, I probably would have gotten shot!

And yes, I think racism is just more in our faces. Folks are like, "We're gonna' do what we want to do, and nobody is gonna' stop us."

Hi there TICKLED... Nice to see you back in the game!

National Lootery, huh? Insane.

A buddy of mine was telling me something about possible "rights of salvage" or something that might add mild legitimacy to what these people are doing. I'll have to look into that, but frankly, to me it is still stealing! Like I said, had this been an African shoreline - the owners of the ship would have hired armed security guards to lock that beach down within an hour of it running aground! ONE HOUR!

Hello CREOLEINDCMy Big Sista!

I've heard interesting discussions in cyberspace here about blogs and bloggers being the second coming of the modern media. We the citizens on the frontline of life and the world will set the tone of information exchange and current event reporting. I think we can make the difference. Wouldn't it be great if 60 or 70 years from now [in a more perfect world I hope] someone found an old Internet database and retrieved all of our blog posts and all of our thoughts and ideas and somehow created us - The First Generation Bloggers as the pioneers of change.

Geez, I can really dramatic in the middle of the night!

The Thinking Black Man said...

Hello GUNFIGHTERMy Brother!

I'm with you all the way on that!

I actually started a post a long time ago on that very point, I'm not sure if I posted it.

I think I titled it, "It's okay, the white guys were drunk." The media has this surprisingly uniform way of toning down the unlawful actions of white people. It is absolutely amazing!

Just this evening, I heard on the news that a "RIOT" broke out at a highrise in Hyattsville. Of course, the people involved were Black men - college seniors from Howard. On camera they all came across as intelligent and articulate and while I haven o personal idea what happened at this party, I know in my heart that had white guys from College Park been involved, the media would have called it a college party that "got a little out of hand."

Thanks ONEFROMPHILLY! The pictures and the captions really do all the speaking!

Hello there, ANALI.

That stayed on my mind all day. I these were Black people, those pesky little coppers wouldn't be standing by with little grins on their faces...

To steal a quote from my favorite pro-wrestler, "Stone Cold - Steve Austin" Those coppers would have "been opening up a whole can of whup ass" on those LOOTERS if they were Black!!!

It is nothing short of a crying shame, this whole media presentation of these events.

Tasha said...

I really wish this weren't true. Of course my thoughts immediately went to Katrina. I saw some news stories that spun the looting going on to make the media consumers feel sorry for the [white] people in the pictures because all of their belongings were destroyed so they had to scavenge for clothing/food. But the "others" in another picture were straight up gangsta for looting the property of the storekeepers. Really, it's a shame.

t-hype said...

Word. Call a spaade a spade! LOL!

The British are awfully fruity about this sort of thing. You can read comments on the BBC website.

It's all good in the small beach community but if there were "an accident" leaving precious cargo unguarded in metro London, I doubt the police would be so kind...

Gunfighter said...

What really pisses me off is that in the news, when discussing crime, black men are referred to as "males", not men.