From NBC's disclaimer related to Kanye West's straight from the reality of his heart, unscripted comments regarding the lack of timely response to devastation in the Gulf Coast region to the gut wrenching stories from thousands who lost everything but their lives, the future of black and poor people in America may well rest on the fated fury of Katrina. Watching arrogant media men fight back tears as they see, smell and are seared by the reality of hundreds of thousands of America's citizens living in the underbelly of poverty, is amazing.
The response from more than fifty countries around the world, including Armenia, Iceland, Cuba, Russia, France, Honduras and Dominica, has been so affirming, reassuring. No textbook could have taught the lessons wrought by Katrina's wrath. Osama Bin Laden could not have done a better job than the terror wrought upon the citizens of the Gulf Coast region, brought about as a result of failed environmental policies, greed, ineptitude, and the straight, no chaser combo of race and class.
The axis upon which our democracy turns is broken. We've clearly witnessed the results of having our lives in the hands of the highest level officials of our country, including the former Arabian horse trainer, FEMA director Michael Brown. While I support the call for donations and fundraisers, what we must understand is that time, energy and incisive strategic planning must take place to address the very foundation upon which our policies are written and daily lives lived. Strike up the band Black Caucus and march on to claim victory like you've never done before.
First and foremost, the people now located in shelters and the homes of relatives and strangers throughout the South and across the country are American citizens fighting against incredible odds not to loose their minds. Nature, in tandem with man, has divested them of their land, jobs, day to day memories and rhythm of their lives, and long held traditions that have sustained multiple generations of blacks, whites, Cajuns and Native Americans in the region. Many of those herded into shelters are now being guarded by military overseers.
We now have the wealthiest generation of black people ever and strategically putting that wealth to work in the best collective interest of us/our future, especially the displaced and dispossessed citizens of the Gulf Coast region is an essential part of re-growing New Orleans and America.
Need must come before greed or the "Katrina Affect" will be felt over and over and over again and the re-destruction of Nouveau New Orleans could occur before the rebuilding is complete. The rebuilding of lives and communities in the region must serve as a metaphor for the rebuilding of America and it cannot be done without including the highest regard for the enduring stewardship of the earth.
This is the time Black America can choose to be in the forefront of putting our democracy back on the axis of affirmation and make a sustainable comeback or fold our tents and steal away. Embracing divine dignity, I'm choosing to be in the comeback choir with my eye on the biggest prize ever closing the book on racism and classism, without distorting the reality of history, and establishing a very different kind of legacy for generations yet to come.
Old School Sista, Neo Soul Spirit
Writer, Social Commentator & Poet
Daphne Muse is a writer and social commentator who lives in Oakland, California.
© 2005, Daphne Muse
Copyright © 2005
Last Modified: September 7, 2005.