Saturday, December 20, 2008

Katrina’s Hidden Race War: In Aftermath of Storm, White
Vigilante Groups Shot 11 African Americans in New Orleans

From Democracy Now:

JUAN GONZALEZ: Some of the white men involved in the vigilante group have publicly bragged about taking part in the violence, but none of them have been arrested. In 2005, several of the men talked about their activities in the Danish documentary Welcome to New Orleans.

INTERVIEWER: How did you protect yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: You had to do what you had to do. You know? If you had to shoot somebody, you had to shoot somebody. That simple.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2: We had looters.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: It was great!

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 4: It was great!

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: It was like pheasant season in South Dakota!


UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: If it moved, you shot it!

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: No way! That’s not a pheasant, and we’re not in South Dakota. What’s wrong with this picture?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: We walked the streets. We had side arms. Yeah, you had no choice. It was that bad. At least, you said—police said, “Just put them on the side,” because they knew they were doing wrong, you know? Said, “Just put them to the side.” That’s all we could do.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: [inaudible] in Chicago.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: I am no longer a Yankee.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: I earned my wings.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: He understands the “n” word now.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: I learned my wings.

UNIDENTIFIED: …all the looters and stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: What looters?

UNIDENTIFIED: You didn’t see all the looters?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: We had three. They left here, one without a t-shirt and the others full of buckshot.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: And we have the t-shirt to prove it.



INTERVIEWER: What happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: We shot him! What happens in other parts of this state, I don’t know about. But over here—

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 3: We don’t care about.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: —this is our neighborhood!

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: But in this neighborhood, we take care of our own.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: We sent them back in to wherever they came from and said, “Don’t come back.”
Click here to watch, read, or listen to the rest.

I want to say I'm unsurprised. I mean, I keep saying that racism is so much more widespread, so much more of an issue than mainstream America will admit. This ought not to surprise me. But I'm totally shocked. These aren't hillbillies. These aren't backwoods idiots with part time Klan memberships. These are city people. Yeah, I know it's everywhere. But this takes us back the lynching era. It's as though there has been no social progress at all.

Sure, New Orleans is a deep South city, but it's a city, which is supposedly a place of enlightened attitudes, generally speaking. And that one Chicago transplant, a Northerner, sure was happy to be taking shots at black people. Is it really that bad? I'm disgusted. Man, remove the civil authorities for less than a week and whites become as bloodthirsty toward blacks as ever. It really is that bad.

My best guess is that an enormous percentage of white Americans in a similar situation would do exactly the same thing. And if that's true, then things are much, much worse than I had imagined. I've got to think about this.