Friday, August 25, 2006

For Those Who Don't Understand The Other Side of New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS 3RD WARD MAGNOLIA PROJECTS

If you have any trouble viewing the above video here is a link to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QGon3B0FJc

The German found this video via one of the New Orleans Saints fans websites. I haven't seen what most of the folks there had to say about it but I did go to YouTube and take a look at the comments there. Well, that got me pretty well fired-up. I was going to leave this message on the YouTube site, and I still may, but I just wanted to get it off of my chest here first. It's not really addressed to those who read this blog from time to time but anyone who reads this is welcome to respond to the video or to my viewpoint here.

I'm from New Orleans too (the 9th Ward) and as sad as it made me feel to see this, I'm glad that I did. At this point, just a taste of the familiar--even the worst of what was there--is better than nothing at all. I look at these guys and all I can do is feel sorry for them because this is the only life they know; How can they do anything different? I see this and say to myself, "There, but for the grace of God, go I". However, I look at some of the commenters here and they are the ones who should be ashamed of their ignorance. To them I say:

It takes absolutely no intelligence to just criticize someone without trying to understand them first. Having lived in New Orleans my whole life, I can attest to the fact that these guys did not lie about a single thing they said about the police here. While you online voyeurs were busy looking for justifications for your bigotry, it's evident that you didn't take the time to learn about the track record that our local "Boys in Blue" have. If you did, you might come to see that the system that helps to induce the glorification of violence by these "Magnolia Boys" is the same one that brings about the conditions that lead so many police officers to also behave in a manner that is unethical at best and illegal and inhumane at worst.

Still, some ask, "Why don't they just get up and leave if there are no jobs there?" Well, if all one has to do in order to leave is just keep trying, then why were there so many people who couldn't even leave New Orleans when this country's worst domestic tragedy took place? Did you know that, during the hurricane, the Superdome and Convention Center contained more than just poor, black people? That's right. There were plenty of white people left in the city even after the evacuation order went out, working people with cars but no money for gas and hotel rooms out of town, people who had enough money to go but had relatives who were too old or sick to be transported out of town. If being some place else was possible, many of these would have left.

The same is true regarding many residents of New Orleans housing projects. Most who can leave do leave to live in other areas but leaving is often prohibitively expensive because--*surprise, surprise*--leaving requires money and if you can't get a job, how do you get the money to leave? Well, you can sell drugs or rob those who do have money. But that's the very thing that people here are complaining about these guys discussing. My fellow Americans, you can't have it both ways. Either you think that it's more important for them to get out of the housing projects or you think it's more important for them to be model citizens which I'm sure all of you here are, right? Let's just say I wouldn't bet on it.

The people in this video are just like the people viewing it; We all want to survive and we can only do so using the means at our disposal. It is a very immature coping mechanism for you to think that you're not like the people on this video because you don't know what you'd do if you were really in their shoes. Perhaps you'd like to think you'd be the few exceptions who are able to come from living in squalid conditions like these to rise up and become the next Bill Gates or Mahatma Ghandi or President Bush. But ask yourself, how many of those well-admired people actually had a start like these guys on the video?

But you probably never thought about any of this and I think I know why. It's because any idiot can mouth off racist epithets and cliches. It requires no independent thought whatsoever.
So, pray tell, what differentiates you from these Magnolia Boys that you're criticizing here? Well, likely you've had more educational and economic opportunities than these guys had. Yet, you aren't any more intelligent than they are. This shows that you've made the choice to be stupid and that's even worse than just being some individuals caught in a system that perpetuates and thrives on violence and poverty.

I'm really glad that this video draws people like you out of the woodwork. The world needs to see that the culture of violence and ignorance that we reside in isn't restricted to just those members of our society who are impoverished and black or brown. It's a societal problem that can only be fixed from the top down. Unfortunately, many of the people who have the power to effect the sort of changes that would benefit the majority of Americans are unwilling to use it because they understand that in a capitalist society, there can be no wealth without sheeple like you who are willing to believe any stereotype that you've been taught by some bozo on television or the radio.

Thank you for proving that these guys aren't the worst that America has to offer to the world because--drum roll, please--ladies and gentlemen you are the shouldn't-be-proud owners of that title.

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