Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I flipped on the radio in my truck yesterday afternoon as I normally do after work and I listened to these guys talk about New Orleans. Now, I'm a BIG fm talk fan because nearly all of the broadcasts from the station are live so I'm not sitting like a drone, listening to heavily rotated "shake your boooty" music from the pop channels..... I don't know, sometimes the rotated stuff is good but I can't handle listening to the same songs over and over. Winamp should make car radios and replace the pop channels. I would buy it -- I like the channel selection so much better than XM. On the station I'm listening to right now, The Verve "Bittersweet" was preceded by the Meat Puppets and followed by Lit "My own Worst Enemy". It's 90s - present alternative radio with new, less-popular alternative bands stuck in there every now and then. It's great.......but I digress.

Anyhoo, so my live local radio personalities were discussing Kanye West and his comments about the tragedy in New Orleans. I guess Kanye was having a major problem with the way reports consistantly linked the word "looting" with footage of black folks stealing from stores. He compared it to reporters doing a voiceover to other footage of white people and saying that they're "desperately looking for food". At first, I was thought 'oh come on, they're just showing people - they're not doing it on purpose' but then it kinda hit me. What if people are so used to images like this that they don't even notice what they're looking at.

For example, say I was making a documentary about Detroit and the burbs. We'll say it's about the architecture of residential homes in Southeastern Michigan. For footage, I decide to drive around the residential areas within Detroit and I videotape all the broken, burnt, and collapsed historic housing and the people who live there. Then, I go up to the burbs and videotape all the new houses and the people who live there. I'm not evening talking about economic, social, political blah related to race and wealth but I show images of black people in poor housing and white people in wealthy suburbs. I'm just videotaping the people who live in the houses I'm videotaping.

Is this really how we are? Honestly? Yea, we've made a lot of progress towards acceptance and equality but I can't help but thinking those images.....they're like looking through a telescope and seeing society 30, 60, maybe 100 years ago. A symbol of economic, social, and political oppression that so deep, we don't even realize we're doing it. No, it's not likely on purpose but that's my point. We don't even see it anymore.

It's like when they blur out the name Pepsi on cans on the show Real World. You don't even notice that it's a Pepsi until they call attention to it by blurring it out. you know?


Joseph said...

I had issue with what Kanye West said, only because of the timing with which he chose to say it. It was on live TV during a telethon for hurricane relief. I know he probably thought he was being heroic by going off script and saying "George Bush doesn't care about black people" but in all honesty, it kind of blew the purpose of the whole event. Suddenly it wasn't "did you see all the devestation, and did you dontate?" that everyone was talking about, it was "did you see Kanye West make an ass of himself last night?"

The fact of the matter is that New Orleans is a city where there are many more black people than white people. In all honesty, yeah they show black people and say some of them are looting, and they say some of them are looking for help. Either way, the images on the screen are predominatly black people. In all the footage I've seen about Katrina, the only white person I ever saw was a woman who was dead on the side of the road.

If you didn't see what Kanye West said, check it out here.

Jack said...

I saw it. mike meyers was there too. I looked it up after the radio people talked about it.

Jack said...

Hey I'm just trying to see his point instead of passing him off as an ass.