Tuesday, June 3, 2008

FEMA Is Evicting Katrina Survivors

image As of June 1, FEMA has plans to evict the  last of the Katrina survivors living in trailers, unless less they could prove to City Hall that their rebuilding plans or other circumstances make that timeline impossible, two city officials said Wednesday.  The government is concerned that should another hurricane hit the area, the trailers will turn into flying missiles, as well as the concern regarding toxic fumes.  More on this story can be read here, here,and here. 

There can be no denying that the aftermath of what happened has revealed exactly what bodies matter in the US.  Who can forget the images of the super dome.  People were trapped waiting for their government to step up and help. I remember the media portraying blacks who were going image into stores getting diapers and formula as looters. LOOTERS, in a time when they had absolutely nothing, and  Bush was too busy with other things to give a damn.  Katrina made it obvious to the world at large that if you were black, and poor you do not count.  Some people have still not gotten this message.  While reading on this story I made the mistake of reading some comment threads.  Here are a few examples of what I came across.

From Nola.com comes the following:

nolattorney: most people living in trailers [31 months after the storm] have no intentions of seeking permanent housing. Road Home will be used to buy a new TV, just like those FEMA checks and Red Cross cards.

annx12345: I agree with nolaattorney--it has been 31 months people need to get on with their lives. Living in a trailer is no "real" life. Most of these people are used to "free" housing. People must understand that nothing is free post Katrina. They must accept responsibility for themselves and their needs. They can't depend on the government to give it to them and need to do something about it on their own. No more GIMMEEE.

sweetyankee: Let's go people - enough free housing. I have never heard of free housing for 31 months! They complain about the odors, the noxious fumes, etc. but do they leave - noooooo. Why? Because it is free. I do not want to here "I am 5 kids and can't make it on my own. Well you obviously should not have had kids in the first place. America mean Freedom NOT free hand outs. It's a disgrace to have sooo many people who can't seem to support themselves. Once again I am grateful to be a self-supporting, independent Yankee woman. I went to public school, worked 3 jobs to put myself through community college and saved every dime I had. Nobody handed me a thing, from free food to free housing!

People that are stuck living in trailers are not there because they want to be.  The idea that this is a choice is the most ridiculous thing that I have come across in a very longtime.  Who wants to wake up every morning in an formaldehyde death box? When they considered all of the wonderful options out there as poor blacks they decided that no, ...they don't want to live like Oprah ( cause you know we all have that kind economic privilege) I choose option B, a stinky, over crowded trailer that daily exposes my family to life threatening noxious fumes. image

Before the storm hit these people were already living on the margins.  Capitalism is not about enriching everyone.  It is about exploiting the masses while enriching a small segment of society.  After the storm hit, rents skyrocketed as well as the fee for staying in cheap run down motels.  Most cannot even afford to rebuild the substandard housing that they resided in pre-Katrina.

Then you have people like sweetyankee questioning why people had kids.  Since when is procreation the privilege of the rich?  Let's not blame the system that seeks to profit from tragedy.  It is all the fault of the individual that they cannot afford to pay the exorbitant fees that land speculators are now demanding.  It is all the fault of the individual that the city is not rebuilding the subsidized housing that was lost in the storm. Who are "these people" precisely? Do you mean the poor?  They are not just a nameless, breathing lump, they are human beings, a fact that seems to have been forgotten.

From chron.com

whitneynhouston: When they didn't have the means for sustainable housing before the hurricane was it our responsibility to house them?
No.They need to quit playing the pity card. These people who are still in trailers are better off now than they ever were before the hurricane. It's not right.

Yes, it is the social obligation to make sure that everyone has access to shelter, clothing, education, food, medical care. and water.  These are essentials to life, not just some sort of luxury.  If they are exhibiting a sense of entitlement to the aforementioned, they are correct in doing so.  In a system in which every person who does not own the means of production is exploited, it is playing the pity card to correctly identify with your class position? Perhaps you are the one that needs a lesson in simple economics. If they are better off than they were before the storm, what does that say about the system in which we all live? 

duckyq: Ummm..Does anyone else see a problem with folks still living off of our tax money almost 3 years after the fact???!! Six months, okay. But not almost 3 years!!! Get off your butt and get a friggin job already!!!

My personal favorite:

Houston1291: Damn... it's been 2 1/2 years!!!! What have they been doing this whole time? These people are so lazy! Sometimes when people don't do for themselves, you just got to give them the boot. Maybe then, will they make an effort to build a better life for them and their still growing family. They don't work or pay rent but still making babies. That's not right. If they haven't done anything for themselves by now with this much assistance... then they never will.

Yes get a job already, while you are at it get 2, or 3 because you are going to need at least that many to pay for the increased cost of rent and food, not to mention utilities. Those kids that you weren't supposed to have because you are poor can get jobs to.  Who cares if they should be concentrating on studying, or just playing and be kids, they have no right to be here because they were born to a poor family.  Can't they get a paper route, and start paying their way? There has to be sort of limit to the social contract.  Those that are elderly, undereducated, and in poor health should just be invisible.  Why should valuable tax dollars go to supporting them, when the US is busy funding an illegal war in Iraq?  Haliburton needs the money far more than these people... besides if we keep these people poor long enough they will see the military as an escape route, and quickly sign up to kill other poor people. Let's not give them the help that they need.  We wouldn't want too many people living a life of equality, self-respect, and autonomy.  Only the so-called middle class should have the right to make debt fueled trips to Walmart. Yeah for humanitarianism, lets all sing kumbaya and say a prayer entitled I am so glad to not be poor and black, in the good ole US of A. Privilege you just have to embrace it!


Lynn said...

I agree with you, 100% and I am glad that the comments such as the ones you posted do not represent everyone. Sadly, they represent a lot of people and I am not sure how such thinking can be changed. It does not seem to matter when we try to point out facts about poverty and assistance- there is still that notion of the cadillac driving welfare cheat, or the welfare mom with ten kids just trying to get more checks... even though many of us know the rules and how little people get and how hard it is to qualify and what food stamps will buy and so on... it's about racism, and about lateral resentment. We turn against one another and rarely against the oppressing class.

What would happen if people got as angry about the majority of government spending the way they do about the relatively small amount that goes toward this kind of assistance? Corporations get more of our tax money than ANY group of people in need.

And the tax issue brings up another point- why aren't more people outraged that we pay for things like FEMA and we paid big salaries for people to sit on their hands and bungle the job. Oh, but it's ok to hand those people checks.

It's all about EARNING, right?

Give money in a disaster- well, that's not deserved. Pay people to let Americans die on rooftops- well, thats...just the way things work.

Then again, wasn't it the Bush Mother who remarked that the victims of Katrina are better off now? Think about these statements.

Ebony Intuition said...

I agree with you also.

I wonder if those who left those ignorant comments ever wondered what would happen if tomorrow a natural disaster strikes in their back yard.

I really don't understand where people get this mindset from..

Sally said...

I'll never understand why some people prefer to bash those placed in impossible situations rather than offer any real solutions.

What ever happened to social responsibility? Or looking out for one another?

This is not about giving up your job or opening up your home so that these people can freeload off of you (as if that's possible in this situation). I'm talking about decency. I'm talking about recognizing that these people weren't "asking for it" and had no control over what happened to them.