The Outlook

This isn't for the sensitive

No New Orleans

I don’t usually cross-post between blogs, but this post bears re-posting

I guess since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, we’ve become desensitized to lower levels of natural disasters in cities.

Or maybe we only care when it looks like you can make a sexy political story out of it.

Last weekend it began raining in Nashville, TN and it didn’t stop. More than 13 inches fell in 2 days. That’s about 30% of Nashville’s annual rain fall in 48 hours. The great city of Nashville sits on the banks of the Cumberland river and the river rose and flooded a lot of downtown Nashville.

Additionally, the Army Corps of Engineers was forced to release water from 2 dams and this water flooded other areas of the already super-soaked city. There were 20+ deaths in Middle TN (which doesn’t only include Nashville), many families have lost everything as the vast majority didn’t have flood insurance. The city is reporting over $1 Billion in damage.

One might think the national media would have jumped on this. Another major natural disaster in a large city (Nashville has a larger population than Atlanta, and ranks as one of the biggest Southern cities) with almost no recognition from the outside world.

You’d be very wrong if you thought that. Sadly wrong, even.

I don’t expect national coverage to the extent that New Orleans recieved in 2005. For one, this flood wasn’t that big or wide-reaching and for two, there were many other things at play outside of a city being completely under water. I don’t want to get into a situation where we compare this to what happened in New Orleans in 2005, because for the most part they’re not comparable.

But the question remains — who’s going to Volunteer for the Volunteer state?

Ironically, apparently only the state itself. All the stories you hear now are about neighbors helping neighbors. Which is great. And the state is recieving federal funding. The President called the Governor and the both agreed his presence, with all that is required, would take away from the relief efforts, for now.

But where’s the national media coverage? Nashville could use the help of every state in the union, not just every city in the state.

On a larger note, I think the media ignores the South (except for Atlanta) all the time. I think that point has been proven in light of this.

If you go to CNN.com now and search Nashville, all sorts of videos will pop up. But those videos we distinctly remember of Anderson Cooper in New Orleans as the city flooded, CNN doesn’t have because they, like their other major outlet counterparts (and I don’t mean to make it look like only CNN ignored this for almost a week) didn’t pay much more than a footnotes’ worth of attention until now.

I’m sure someone will say, and rightfully so, they’re there now. Yes. They are (interviewing mostly country stars who have been effected — thank God for Kenny Chesney who pointed out that he will be able to replace things, while other families will not). Nashville will come back, it will be fine and that will happen regardless of whether or not major media outlets notice. I’m just put off by what it means when newsworthy things are happening and no one cares.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | News, Politics | , , | 1 Comment

Conservatism and Black folk

The concept of a black republican is not still the anomoly it has been, but it’s still something many other black people have trouble understanding.

For the record, I do not consider myself a Republican. I am, though, perhaps a little more conservative than I may have thought previous to my current job. In fact, most black people are conservative. Our community is a conservative one. I think that if we, as a community, made it a priority to be educated on the issues and vote for candidates based more on their stances on issues than anything else, we’d find more of us voting for Republicans than we thought.

But let me say now, this is in no way going to be a post meant to encourage people to vote pro-Republicans. I don’t think the GOP deserves the minority vote, at all. I’m tempted to say neither does the Democrat party, but I’ll give them credit for at least looking like they care.

I don’t read very many black conservative blogs. I’ve tried to, I want to know the opinions and sides on every issue, but so many of them become fodder for “I’m not like the┬árest of the Negroes” that it becomes stomach-churning. I just want the opinion, preferably with something to back it up, and nothing else.

In all that, there seems to be the implication that a “true” black Republican is not like other black people. The fact of the matter is, there’s no deep difference between a black person who identifies with the Republican party’s ideology and a black person who identifies with the Democrat one, just like there’s no such difference between the two types in white America.

I think many black Republicans would argue with me and say they are attacked, and they are trying to defend themselves. I’d agree with that on some levels — but let’s consider a few things:
1) After Reconstruction, when black people were voted into Congress (and before Jim Crow laws all but slid that to a halt, in the South and eventually in the North) they were all Republicans. Why? Republican was the party of Lincoln — it was the party that had freed the slaves.
2) The shift of the black vote from Republican to Democrat has it’s roots in the move of the Dixiecrat party. In the 1930s, the Dems ideology shifted to one in support of many things they are known for today, such as civil rights and economic intervention. It was Harry Truman’s support to, essentially, end racial segregation that ran many Southern Democrats out of the party. These Dixiecrats would ultimately become Republicans.

It’s hard to imagine a person supporting a party that at one point was adamant about keeping their community down. It would be like a person who was a victim of a heinous crime, advocating for prisoner’s rights. Not too far-fetched, but definitely hard to understand. I think a lot of black Republicans struggle with explaining their stance in the face of what I like to call “black guilt.”

At last year’s Essence Festival, I recall a friend of mine recounting how he was all but harrassed to sign a petition in support of Barack Obama. At that time, he had not decided which potential Democrat nominee, Clinton or Obama, he wanted to support. He recalled the assertion many made that he wasn’t “black enough” because he didn’t immediately jump on the bandwagon. As black people we have a very “groupthink” way of going through life, and it’s not always good.

I’d like to see us as a community start to consider that what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander and really start to get educated on the issues. But more importantly, we should empower each other to do that even if it means being different and not ridiculing each other. At the same time, I’d like to see black conservatives make a better effort to talk about why they hold their views. Not that this is about changing anyone’s ideologies, but you sure can attract more flies with honey than vinegar. I get the feeling, from far too many black Republicans, that they look down their noses at more liberal black folks. What’s that about??

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Politics | 1 Comment