Natural disasters have the ability to bring out the best in people and in many cases, the worst. Tornadoes that level small towns draw families - whose every possession now litters roadways – together.
In the seminal book Bowling Alone, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam bemoaned the declining sense of community in America (which eerily parallels the decline of Pre-Obama America), and it is in natural calamities that people showcase their innate kindness and benevolence.
In the earthquake that ravaged Haiti, billions of dollars was sent by people in America to help that already beleaguered nation. Curiously, the same gifts to the nation of Chile were small when compared to the generosity bestowed to the Haitians, even thought the earthquake that hit the South American nation was of much greater severity and ferocity.
Looking back on Hurricane Katrina that ravaged New Orleans in 2005, one can again see the outpouring of grief from Americans for those people unfortunate enough to leave the city before intense flooding, panic and widespread looting was afoot. Lawlessness raged in New Orleans prior to the hurricane, just as lawlessness raged in Haiti prior to the earthquake.
In both cases, an outpouring of donations and relief was given philanthropically to the citizens who were incapable of containing the aftermath of Mother Nature themselves. The Chileans were ignored.
You recall, Kanye West went on national TV in 2005 and stated that “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people,” as the rapper decided the president’s response to the ongoing looting, murder and mayhem in New Orleans was the fault of a white president, when it was Black people engaging in said activity.
However, a flood of much greater brutality has devastated another southern city as of late, and yet the media is curiously absent from covering this remorseless act of nature. Oddly, incidents of rioting, looting, murdering and congregating inside a sports arena are noticeably absent from the news emanating out of Nashville.
Instead, citizens working together for the common good of overcome nature’s tragic indifference are all that seems to be transpiring. No “We are the World” telethons are being conducted to raise needed funds to combat the emotionless water that rises in Nashville, flooding such landmarks as the Grand Ole Opry.
Black people in others city paying attention to the flood in Nashville can only look on with utter horror at the dignity and civility in which the citizens of that town go about helping one another out to battle the forces of nature, without demanding governmental aid. The home of country music, Toby Keith has yet to get on national TV and state that “Barack Obama doesn’t care about white people."
Instead, citizens of Nashville fight the flood themselves and in the process illustrate that the thesis of the book Bowling Alone is grossly inaccurate. Whitopia’s still possess the ability to maintain a culture that breeds commonality and trust among their citizenry.
Indeed, it is times of trouble and anguish that neighbors showcase their true colors either pulling together to overcome obstacles that could endanger a fellow citizen or engaging in behavior more akin to anarchy. An odd correlation between the number of white people present in a city or country (think Chile) and the response to the natural disaster is appearing. Conversely, the amount of Black people and the exacerbation of a natural disaster only ensure the complete ruination of that city (New Orleans) or nation (Haiti).
In the case of the latter, millions upon millions of dollars will be collected through private philanthropy to help rebuild what was already broken – Haiti was a mess prior to the quake, New Orleans was the most dangerous city in America before 2005 and recently reclaimed that title though its Black population had been dispersed throughout the south – while Nashville will be left to rebuild by the citizens of that city alone.
One writer for Newsweek stated the flood in Nashville didn’t provide a strong enough “narrative” to warrant massive news coverage, despite writing that the flood could end up being one of the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history a mere paragraph before:
As you may have heard, torrential downpours in the southeast flooded the Tennessee capital of Nashville over the weekend, lifting the Cumberland River 13 feet above flood stage, causing an estimated $1 billion in damage, and killing more than 30 people. It could wind up being
Or, on second thought, maybe you didn't hear. With two other "disasters" dominating the headlines—the Times Square bombing attempt and the Gulf oil spill—the national media seems to largely to have ignored the plight of Music City since the flood waters began inundating its streets on Sunday. A cursory Google News search shows 8,390 hits for "Times Square bomb" and 13,800 for "BP oil spill." "Nashville flood," on the other hand, returns only 2,430 results—many of them local. As Betsy Phillips of the Nashville Scene writes, "it was mind-boggling to flip by CNN, MSNBC, and FOX on Sunday afternoon and see not one station even occasionally bringing their viewers footage of the flood, news of our people dying."
So why the cold shoulder? I see two main reasons. First, the modern media may be more multifarious than ever, but they're also remarkably monomaniacal. In a climate where chatter is constant and ubiquitous, newsworthiness now seems to be determined less by what's most important than by what all those other media outlets are talking about the most.
Many people now openly wonder if Barack Obama doesn’t like white people for his callow attitude toward refraining to acknowledge the floods in Nashville (recall, he spoke of the great tragedy that was the earthquake in Haiti mere hours after it hit Port-au-Prince) bespeaks someone completely neutral to the calamity unfolding in the heart of Tennessee.
This is besides the point and a query that is unnecessarily asked. Instead, the question Black people should be asking themselves is why is Nashville unlike New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?
Why is the National Guard not being called into duty to police the streets of Nashville as they were needed to do in New Orleans of 2005 (and potentially war-torn Black areas of Chicago in 2010)?
The Tennessean reports on areas of Nashville that have received scant help from the government save the kindness of neighbors:
"If it wasn't for individuals saying, 'I'll help,' we'd be in a bad situation," East Nashville Councilman Jamie Hollin said. "I'm not sure what government infrastructure support we've received, if any. The reason East Nashville has done so well is because of its volunteers stepping up to the plate and taking ownership of this situation."
Unlike “The Chocolate City” New Orleans, Nashville doesn’t have as many pitiful Black faces to showcase to the nation and cause feelings of inadequacy and self-pity among Disingenuous White Liberals. Unlike Atlanta, Birmingham, Detroit and other majority Black municipalities that are poorly run and stand on the verge of collapse and ruination (currently and if a national disaster hit), Nashville is a majority white city:
As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 64.8% of Nashville's population; of which 60.2% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 28.3% of Nashville's population; of which 28.1% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.3% of the city's population. Asian Americans made up 3.1% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 2.4% of the city's population; of which 0.1% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 0.9% of the city's population; of which 0.8% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 7.3% of Nashville's population.
White people helping out white people is inherently racist, which is why philanthropy must always go from white people to blighted Black cities or nations (or the entire continent of Africa). Giving money to fellow white people makes little sense to white people, as they only feel moral superior when they give their money to piteous Black people. As the situation in Nashville illustrates, white people are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.
Thus, why the Nashville flood is receiving a complete media blackout, and why precious few dollars flow into the city in the form of relief for those citizens who dare band together and brave the elements and flood alone.
Like the flood that ravaged Des Moines, Iowa a few years back, the act of nature affected the wrong population group. Had it been Cleveland, Ohio instead of lily-white Des Moines, then the national news would have had a natural disaster worth covering.
Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes the flood in Nashville, for the stark differences between disparate demographic groups battling the uncontrollable elements is once again on display for the world to see. Haiti vs. Chile once round one. New Orleans vs. Nashville is round two.
The white response to natural disasters is now cemented through the peaceful flood battle in Nashville, while the Black response is sadly remembered through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the tragedy that continues to befall Haiti.
When – not if – a situation like the one in Greece (national insolvency) occurs in the United States, would you rather be in a city like Nashville or New Orleans?