fter more than a week of self-sufficiency, George Ossy, an immigrant from Africa living amid the chaos of the Rockaways, with his 10-year-old daughter in tow, walked into the relief center down the street, one of several set up by the volunteers who had descended on the storm-battered peninsula in Queens.
Moments later, a white woman leaned down to address his daughter. “Have you eaten in two days?” she asked.
Mr. Ossy surged with outrage. Power was out, yes, and nights were cold for sure, but Mr. Ossy, a taxi driver proud of the long days he works to earn money for his family, was insulted by the suggestion that his daughter was not well cared for.
“I said: ‘What do you think? You think we live in the bush?’ ” He felt condescended to by the volunteers -- many of whom hail from upscale neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He turned and left.
As volunteers with the makeshift relief efforts have applied their own rules on how to dole out relief -- telling people where to wait and enforcing limits on how many blankets or food items storm victims receive -- some have entered the more fraught area of applying their own values to those they are helping.
As she gave out diapers and cases of infant formula to storm victims, Bethany Yarrow, 41, a folk singer from Williamsburg who has been volunteering with other parents from the private school her children attend, said she was shocked by the many poor mothers in the Arverne section of the Rockaways who did not breast feed. The group, she said, was working on bringing in a lactation consultant.
“So that it’s not just ‘Here are some diapers and then go back to your misery,’ ” she said.
That sort of response has rankled Nicole Rivera, 47, who lives in a project in Arverne, where the ocean sand still swirls up the street with every passing vehicle. “It’s sad, sometimes it’s a little degrading,” she said as she stood in line in a parking lot waiting for free toiletries.
Ms. Rivera said that she was thankful for the help, but that its face -- mostly white, middle- and upper-class people -- made her bitter.
“The only time you recognize us is when there’s some disaster,” she said. “Since this happened, it’s: ‘Let’s help the black people. Let’s run to their rescue.’ ”
“Why wait for tragedy?” she added. “People suffer every day with this.”
A woman standing in front of her in line interjected. "To be honest, I pray to God I never see these people again,” the woman said. “The only reason these people would be out here again for us is if something like this happens again, or worse."
Originally posted by muzzleflash
reply to post by Ex_CT2
They have to judge you on various criteria in order to determine what type of help to provide.
Judged as starving? Get them food.
Judged as homeless? Help em find shelter.
Judged as bleeding? Get a doctor.
Etc. Cant fix something if you refuse to judge which component needs repair.
Originally posted by NoRegretsEver
Minorities go to school and hear stories of whites "discovering" things, and go home and here from their families that this is in fact NOT true.
Kids go to the movies, and see white parents adopting young minorities, and their lives cannot get better until they come along to save them, even the movie the Last Samurai, had a white hero.
Originally posted by Ex_CT2
reply to post by PvtHudson
Your take on it seems odd to me. I have no love for the NYT, but I do know that people who've suffered a disaster don't like being judged by the people who are supposedly there to help them.
Actually I think that's the real problem on the left (well-to-do dilettantes). I think that itself is more emblematic of where we're getting off-track and why this country is going to hell....edit on 11/19/2012 by Ex_CT2 because: (no reason given)edit on 11/19/2012 by Ex_CT2 because: (no reason given)