This process of dehumanizing our people is so systemic, whether its floods, power outages, or unrest resulting from police terrorism, when it happens, you can routinely find even so-called progressive "Brown" and white folks attempting to either validate or criticize (in step with the capitalist media) those folks who would engage in these types of activities.
The fact that the media shows these images consistently shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who understands history. All of those networks as privately owned capitalist media outlets. In other words, their sole purpose for existing is to serve as the propaganda arm for the multi-national corporations (the capitalists) who own them. This is true even for so-called "Public Broadcasting" which is only on the air because of money they receive from corporations in the form of foundation grants (a scam way for corporations to dictate how they pay their taxes). This flies in the face of those of you who have been taught that media is "free" in this capitalist society, but if you open your eyes to it, you will find the reality ill-refutable. Take all of the NBC affiliates for example. NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, and any others I've missed. All of these outlets are majority owned (meaning the highest percentage of stock owned in the corporation) by David Rockafeller and his Rockafeller capitalist ruling class family. The Rockafellers also own majority stock in Chevron Oil and Chase Manhattan Bank. Consequently, even a high school student would be able to ascertain that they would use their media outlets to project images that represent their economic interests. And a major element of their interests is in keeping the majority of people out here confused and disoriented about where the real source of their trauma is actually coming from. Brown people have historically been easy targets because the foundation aka the system of white supremacy, is already in place. Therefore, its so easy for them to project that the problem is "those lazy, shiftless, criminal, brown people. Those Blacks. Those Mexicans. Those Puerto Ricans," etc. From centuries of programming, everyone, including people from all of those groups, are already primed to direct your anger at that African who lifted a television. If he could just be arrested, somehow, the fact you can't pay your housing expenses, or you have a job you hate, no job, or a partner you cannot stand, all of that will miraculously go away if that television lifter is "held accountable." There is no other explanation that explains why people who are programmed to be apathetic about pretty much everything are so triggered by images of Brown people taking a computer or a television, as if this happening will reduce years off of your life.
The last sentence is especially true since that anger is certainly misplaced. And, please understand, I'm not making the conciliation argument that these folks are just lifting baby formula, water, or diapers. Many of them are, but even the ones who are lifting electronics, I'm not running away from that. To call them looters is absurd. The only purpose that serves is to keep people's attention diverted from the oil companies who permit their franchise stations, in their name, to raise gasoline prices to $10.00 a gallon at a time when people desperately need gas to find safety. They want to keep your attention away from the retailers who are selling 24 bottle water blocks that normally sell for about $5.00 or less for upwards of $50.00 at a time when people desperately need water. That's an emergency situation in those locations so we don't want to hear the excuse that their price gouging results from their inability to get deliveries. By doing what they are doing, they are engaging in real looting, plain and simple. And, I can say that because the businesses that engage in this criminal behavior come out of these situations in profitable condition, which is their design all along. Clearly, whatever they give away, they can write off so that's not the issue. So, don't talk to us about that African with the television. In fact, I hope 20,000 people take televisions from Wal Mart because even if they do, that doesn't come close to balancing the exploitation Wal Mart reaps on its underpaid workers. Or, the looting Wal Mart has carried out against poor countries like Haiti for years by exploiting their labor (sewing those cheap clothes for sale). And, this is without even talking about all the so-called "humanitarian" organizations that people are donating millions of dollars to like Red Cross, United Way, etc. There are actually studies that indicate that up to 85% of the money donated to these organizations actually goes to bureaucratic administrative expenses which means the people who are suffering losses never see a red cent from these outfits. More sophisticated looting you apparently approve of since many of you donate to these organizations.
Probably one of the best examples of looting took place after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana in 2005. Haliburton, or Kellogg, Brown, and Root, a contracting company that previously had a board member named Dick Cheney (the Vice President under George W Bush's administration). This company somehow, which has never been explained, bypassed federal requirements to submit to a fair bidding process. Instead, they got sole bidding for the clean up of New Orleans in the aftermath of the flooding. And, despite the reality that the standard going rate for clean up at that time was about $2.00 per square foot, this criminal enterprise got away with charging us tax payers a previously unheard cost of $20.00 per square foot, or 10 times the going rate! Now, that's some big pimpin looting right there! And each of you prostitutes (because you pay for this type of looting all the time) didn't even know it. That's why they want to keep you focused on that African with the television. They know you believe that the few hundred televisions they lost, which is easily compensated for by the amounts they overcharge customers each year (which is about three times the amount they lose in so-called theft), not to mention their provision for losses which they write off on their taxes, is really going to increase the cost of televisions for the time you want to buy one. You believe that, or at least somebody you know does, because that's what the Rockafellers of the world want you to believe so you don't focus on the Chevrons, Shells, and Kellogg, Brown, and Roots of the world that are stealing from you in direct and criminal ways that don't even register a blimp on your radar.
You don't put two and two together to conclude that Chevron, Shell, and the rest of them loot cheap oil, and the labor to refine it, from Africa, and other parts of the world as their standard business practice. Then, to add insult to injury, they price gouge you during your time of need. Why, I wish we could get organized enough to storm all of their stations and take as much gas as we need, whenever we need it for heating, etc., without paying them a cent. I say this because with what they routinely steal from Africa, we could lift gasoline from them for the next 50 years and they would still be in the red for what they owe us.
So, good decent people shouldn't do the bidding of the people who oppress us. Don't call our people thugs. They aren't thugs. They aren't even qualified to be thugs because the actual definition of a thug is someone who can steal an entire continent and an entire people. Not someone who lifts a simple television that is worthless with the power out anyway. There's no equivalence. Its like trying to compare a fly to an shark and then saying the fly is the real threat. Even Kim Jong Un of North Korea is calling out white supremacy in the U.S. and he hasn't even ever been here. Instead of you pondering that, you just hate him (because that's another thing they told you to do) without you having any knowledge of North Korea. Are you seeing a trend here yet?
I remember several years ago when I was preparing with my then young daughter to enter a now defunct Montgomery Wards Department store. As we approached the front door, it flung open and a young African emerged at a steady run with an arm full of jeans. Following him was an equally young European who presumably was a store security person. Even with the weight of all those jeans, that African was outdistancing that European so the European yells out for me to stop or obstruct the African in some way to slow him down. Unfortunately for Montgomery Wards, by coming my way, that African was not running by the right type of confused African that would help them. I actually stopped and encouraged the African to run faster. He engaged in some of the best acrobatic moves to easily outdistance the European security guard. When that guard reached me, huffing and puffing, he started to berate me for not helping him. He said something about "setting an example for my daughter." I laughed and told him I'm setting the best example for my daughter. I've taught her that Montgomery Wards, and all the stores like them, exploit labor from poor countries to make the clothes that African was carrying. Then, they sell the clothes for such a high price that no one from the country who made them could ever hope to even own a pair of those jeans. I quipped that the lower prices that those lifted jeans will go for is the only opportunity our African family has to even benefit from the product we produced. Then, on top of that, they exploit him - the security guard - by expecting him to put his life on the line protecting their property while underpaying him and I'd bet not even paying him adequate health care coverage in the event he is injured on the job. His immediate response was that he was underpaid and he actually had no health insurance. So, I asked him why was he working that hard for someone who wasn't working hard for him? He shrugged and turned around and went back into the store.
Carter G. Woodson, that old African scholar, talked 100 years ago about the psychology of oppression and how the slave minded person will work harder for his oppressor than the oppressor himself. The only looters are the capitalists. Everyone else, regardless of what it is, is just doing their part to balance the scales. What they are doing isn't the problem. The problem is that its being done just on an individual level with no organization. What actually needs to happen is mass organizing for us to take back what these capitalist corporations have been stealing from us for centuries. In order to do that, we will first have to stop accepting our enemies definition of the conditions. I realize people make those donations because you want to feel like you are doing something to address the problem, but once you know that this is not what's happening, isn't it time to dedicate yourself to actually doing something to help? So, let's start with repeating after me, the only looters are the super rich! The only looters are the super rich!! Once we all get that down, then we can have the foundation to start building some real structures to take back from those who steal from us as policy.