August 31, 2005

"Finding" versus "looting?"

The wire services, in their infinite wisdom, are being selective in how they talk about looters.

The two photos below beg the question: Why is one person "finding" while the other is "looting?"

The first thing that comes to mind is that one is an American wire service (AP), while the other is French (AFP). I guess the French don't believe in looting.

But the other thing that comes to mind is that the one "finding" something happens to be white while the one "looting" happens to be black.

I don't want to think conspiracy, but this is kind of like when Arsenio Hall talked about that things like that make you go, "Hmmmmm..."

Posted by mhking at August 31, 2005 07:16 PM | TrackBack

Exactly. Makes you so a serious HMMMM!

Posted by: T-Steel at August 31, 2005 08:02 PM

If these people are "looting" a grocery store - I can sure understand that under these conditions. The food will only spoil anyway - the grocery stores should be opened so that people can just come in and help themselves - in as orderly a way as possible.

To me, real looting is stealing items that have nothing to contribute to the immediate situation. Looting is trying to break into Children's Hospital in order to get to drugs.

Posted by: suzeisnotfooledbyislam at August 31, 2005 09:52 PM

I agree totally. It is certainly understandable & reasonable for the hurricane/flood victims to take items of sustenance from the local grocery & convenience stores. The caption writers certainly seem to be showing a racial bias. However, I fail to see how a flood victim's survival will be enhanced by taking $150 basketball shoes, guns and jewelry.

Posted by: OddBrian at September 1, 2005 11:00 AM

Mike you know I love ya, but "things that make you go hmmmmm" was a song by C&C Music Factory, not Arsenio Hall (unless he copied it) NOT to divert the issue and thoughtful points articulated in the post, I would add. (Im dealing with enough yahoos in my comments that could politicize a comet attack.)

Posted by: Michael at September 1, 2005 02:44 PM

I think someone at ABC's Primetime read this post, Michael. They just did this same caption comparison.

Congratulations, I should think.

Posted by: Toby Petzold at September 1, 2005 10:43 PM

I hadn't realized before that the "finding" description was from a French news report. Learning that, I think the racial thing is stretching ... read the phrase..."after finding ... from a local store". The "finding ... from..." seems like a really odd verbal construction. Possibly it was originally "taking ... from" and someone decided to change the verb, but other than that, it really looks to me like a lack of familiarity with idiomatic English usage.

Posted by: suek at September 3, 2005 01:52 PM

The direct translation of "looting" in French is "Pillage". But just as many of our words have several different meanings for different situations, so does "Pillage" in French. "Finding", however, does not have different meanings in different situations. Also, I do not think that the French would want to risk the word "Pillage" being printed in a US paper. It just brings up medieval thoughts....but then again.....they are the French. ;-)

Posted by: Bill at September 4, 2005 03:38 AM

I personally searched the web for pictures of white hurricane victims looting. I found nothing. Im sure that whites do, but the media does not report on this. the frence translations, hell even the frence picture in irrelivant here. Why would the associated press report on a man "looting" from a grocery store. there was a Hurricane! The media needs to take its focus off economic issues and economic values. when this hurricane first touched down, people were more concerned about the oil prices than the lives of thousands of human beings. money over life!!! the first major story i saw of human concerns was early saturday. I read about oil concerns on thursday. even if this is not a racial matter, it is definitley one of class and economic necessity. The creator of this page has a great point on the race matter, but there is obviously much more to this.

Posted by: Brian at September 7, 2005 03:23 PM
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