The Freedom to Live or Die
Being descended from Arkansas White Trash who are descended from indentured servants who fled England rather than be the honored guests at a hanging, I know a little bit about being poor and I have to tell you, being black is not a requirement for being poor in the United States.
This whole Katrina disaster is being drawn along racial lines - in fact a lot of things in the U.S. are drawn along racial lines when, in fact, they are actually class lines. The worse crime in this country is not being black, it is being poor.
Yes, most of the people in New Orleans that were hit the hardest were black - but not all of them. And yes, there is traditional racial prejudice in this country but class prejudice is by far the older of the two evils, having been brought here long before the first African was sold into slavery on these shores.
Do poor black people have it harder than poor white people? I don't know. When a person doesn't eat, they get hungry. When they don't have a warm place to live in the winter, they get cold. I know from experience that a white skin doesn't alleviate either condition.
Now that I've said that, let me hasten to add; I am aware that being black and being poor gives a person a double whammy. I’ll also admit that I can only be aware of that from a white man’s point of view but I take issue with the concept that just being black is enough to get one left to drown in New Orleans. The rich blacks in New Orleans did exactly what the rich whites did. They loaded the kids in the SUV, charged up a tank of gas on the credit card and drove north.
What I am saying is this: the ruling class wants us to make this a race issue. Race issues divide the many (the poor) into ineffectual little groups that can never stand up against the man holding the whip. If we see this as a class issue, that is if we define it as “people were left to die in New Orleans not because they were black but because they were too poor to afford to get out” then we have a chance of uniting a group large enough to actually get something done.
I assure you, despite the present outcry, this is not the first time in U.S. history poor people have been given the “freedom of choice” to live or die. Anybody who has ever read Howard Zinn can tell you that. I can also assure you that if we allow the ruling elite to split us along racial lines, the New Orleans disaster will not be the last time the poor will be given this "freedom."