In light of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, this week’s “Interesting News From Elsewhere” is going to be a brief, unoriginal commentary on CNN’s coverage of post-quake Port-au-Prince entitled “How Come When It is Black People, Trying to Stay Alive is Suddenly Criminal? aka Kayne West May Have Been Right if by George Bush He Meant CNN.”
The Onion ran a news brief in 2005 addressing this very topic (I told you it was unoriginal) with the headline “White Foragers Report Threat Of Black Looters.” Meanwhile, The Awl has had continuous, humorous coverage of CNN’s coverage of the looting, including finding this quote under the headline “CNN Just Not Finding Enough Looting in Haiti Yet, But Give It A Day“:
“Friday dawned clear and calm in Haiti’s capital, but there were increasing concerns that the peace may not last. Many residents of Port-Au-Prince have not had food or water since Tuesday’s devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake, and worries are growing about what could happen in the next few days if aid does not get in their hands quickly…. Although there is relative calm, there was sporadic looting and violence Thursday afternoon.”
How is it that the words looting and, worse, stealing, which are criminal offenses, are used when there are so many English words better suited for the situation? Foraging (which NPR used this morning), scavenging, appropriating, requisitioning, or taking, for example.
That being said, I hope the likely misleading or wrong reports of Haitian crimes and criminals do not discourage you from making a donation to one of the many groups who are currently working to help the victims in Haiti.