Wednesday, September 07, 2005

You Get What You're Looking For...

"blacks loot new orleans hurricane katrina"

No, that's not the synopsis of news headlines over the last couple weeks, it's the search term somebody used to find my page.

Look at it.

That's all that really needs to be said.

Unfortunately, some just won't get it, so more will be said.

Think there might be an extraneous term in there? The very inclusion of that one word - "blacks" - speaks volumes about not only the individual who typed it, but also about society as a whole.

It should have been left out, of course, but even worse, it could have been left out. There is no reason to type "blacks" because it's understood that that's exactly who the perpetrators are anyway.

But this person still typed it. This demonstrates precisely what was being looked for. Due to an environment of institutionalized and aversive racism, coupled with (and resulting in) a corporate media structure that is fed off of advertising revenue - which is a psychological game played with a target audience based on previously established belief structures - and used to sway, if not outright form, public opinion in a sound-bite society, we have a concrete example of conditioning (and arguably, social engineering).

It's not simply that this person thought the inclusion of the term would provide specificity enough to sufficiently narrow the results to exactly what s/he wanted to find. Besides, in the most likely scenario, our searcher didn't sit and formulate a search strategy, carefully considering the best approach before taking the appropriate course of action - s/he just pulled up the search engine and typed what came to mind.

It's merely a reflection of what this person is seeing on the television, internet, and in print media, hearing from others, and programmed to think on an almost instinctive level.

Even more alarming to me is that this person actually expected "blacks" to be a feasibly productive term. To this person, it's so obvious that black folk do all the looting and rioting that it should only be expected that a journalist would just come out and say so in a report. More frightening is the fact that such obvious stereotyping would be looked down upon, and therefore other methods have been developed and employed, with perhaps even more success (and the whole mind state that goes with this).

Was this person searching for ways to assist those afflicted? What about "help hurricane katrina victims"?

Or how about "prevent hurricane katrina disaster"? I'd assume it's more effective to discover and prevent the cause of a disease (even if it is social) than fight the symptoms. I mean, do we want to eradicate herpes or just stop the itch? Cure cancer or merely stop hair from falling out during chemotherapy?

Even a purely intellectual inquiry such as "hurricane cause" would show some hope for human nature.

But greed, xenophobia, and bloodlust once again defeat altruism, sympathy, and compassion.

I'm not even going to assume this person has a confederate flag hat covering his mullet or some lightning bolts tattooed on his neck. Realistically, this isn't some crazed, sociopathic, bigot. Or even a Republican. He doesn't necessarily have to be male, uneducated, or even white (but we can safely - though not absolutely - assume s/he isn't black). This very well could be some liberal-minded, college educated Generation Xer who listens to Hip Hop and cried over visions of starving African children.

But this person IS racist (which one does not have to consciously or intentionally be). And it would probably be safe to say American and Christian. All three of these say a whole lot about the place we live in: something that is verifiably demonstrated in the phrase "blacks loot new orleans hurricane katrina."


fahren said...

Why can't I meet white boys like you in person?

albiesgirl818 said...

I can answer that, Fahren. Because white men like Dub usually live in Europe. I'm going to go ahead and generalize and say: not many American white men are critical thinkers. That's why I'm not into them. White American men like Dub are the needle in the haystack.

I loved your commentary on this, Dub. Keep up the good blogging.

DUB said...

fahren, I wish I could answer this question. Actually, I could (and probably will) take a stab at it, but it would go off on so many tangents, and attempt to cover so many areas that it would be ineffective. Knowing the passion I have, it would also quite likely become a rant. All in all, I hope you can and do, if it can have any bearing on your overall opinion of white people in particular, and mankind in general.

albiesgirl, I do agree with your statement. I will say that the OVERALL point of view taken in Europe is more open-minded than here in the States. We are quite arrogant, which both stems from and lends to our isolationist attitude.

In a conversation with my brother recently I suggested it may have something to do with Europes's great suffering during the two World Wars. They have a concrete, tangible, and personal experience with, and example of, absolute despair. They don't have to sympathize: they can empathize. The fighting happened on their soil. They witnessed the evil mankind can commit against itself firsthand.

I propose that the lack of religiosity on the continent has much to do with it too.

Then again, it is Europeans that are most to blaim for the atrocities of colonialism - out of which our very nation arose.

I'm not going to fully delve into it here in a comments section, but I will acknowledge some truth in the statement. I will also remind you that closed-minded bigots do exist over there.

Also, fahren, I find the term "white boy" psychologically emasculating. I assume we both know the reasoning and effect of its ("boy") application toward black men. Reciprocation does nothing substantial in the name of retribution in the long-term. I am not implying that you meant any harm whatsoever in your usage, but I believe it is at least partially related to the topic dealt with in this post.

fahren said...

i hear you loud and clear