Sunday, February 28, 2010

Things I'm Tired Of (I) - Emphasizing Survivors as Looters

Dear news media outlets,

While I understand the technicality of the legal term, could you please refrain from portraying victims of natural disasters as criminals by highlighting their "looting?" It was offensive in 2005, when African-Americans were "looting" while white people were "salvaging" in New Orleans, and it's offensive in 2010 when Chileans are "looting." What do you want? That people remain hungry and without water for an indefinite period of time until the infrastructure is developed enough for the Chilean government to give these things out? That would be fine, except that the infrastructure has just been demolished, and aid wouldn't exactly arrive quickly anywhere that just endured an 8.8 earthquake. People need supplies to survive, and the expectation that capitalism cannot be disturbed, even in the event of a massive natural and human disaster, is absolutely absurd. I would hope perhaps you media outlets could focus on more useful narratives than "let's portray the criminality of everyday individuals who are merely trying to survive," but apparently, I'd be wrong. This was a devastating event, and we're still only learning about how horrible it will be. Chile is facing a long road here; it doesn't need you portraying people trying to survive as base criminals. Please focus on other things.