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 Prof Randall's Note: During Hurricane Katrina a picture was published showing a black man carryring a basket with green bottles. There has develop an entire "pulp culture" on the internet which has taken his head and placed it on top of other pictures. One of my students in my course wrote analysis of the pictures which is insightful.  She is white and in her own word she is  "an Ultra-Conservative Republican. . . intelligent enough to spot racism when I see it and I am bold enough to call it racism when I see it. Thinking something is funny does not make it less racist."

I wish I had a 1000 more students like her.


In preparing for my Constitutional Law midterm I came across an interesting message board on 4law school.com.  It had unfortunate pictures of an alleged looter carrying a container of beer through the New Orleans flood.  The initial picture was entitled “Opportunity because earning it, is just for suckas.”  Reading more I found support for this picture and the message it portrayed and encouragement for the original artist to post more pictures and jokes.

I had just finished my readings had been struck by some of the ideas that it’s hard for the Majority group to see racism or subordination because everything seems okay to them.  And that the views can become so clouded in what they see and not what other’s see. It made me think about the past views that we have had, that the world was flat, that Earth was the center of the universe, that the Sun revolved around us, and some of the current stereotypes that are perpetuated today, many of which were discussed in the video last week.

I also thought about your story about how you over heard women making inappropriate racially based comments when you worked in Alaska and how you approached them only to be blown off because one of them was a member of the race they were bashing.  You told the women she ought to be offended.

After reading the posts in the discussion forum on 4lawschool.com, I decided to follow suit and use the opportunity to let the supporters of these images know that they ought to be ashamed and offended. And to help them see the racism involved, I attempted to show them (symbolically define for them) the racism in the photos.

Considering that the discussion board is made up of future lawyers, I though this might be a good time to help the future lawmakers see the racism that exists even in comedically based pictures. Below is what I had to say. Please excuse some of the language and reference to popular culture (Dave Chappell). If you do not include the writing in italics I will be within the page limit.

Are these Pictures Racist?

 I am saddened by how many of you don't realize that those pictures are racist.  As those who study the law, you should be much more informed. It's not just the action, it's the impact.

I hope you'll do some self reflecting and realize that Dave Chappell is funny, Chief is not. (Probably the reason Dave Chappell is a rich bitch and Chief spends his time creating and posting pictures on this site.)

I also noticed that everyone here assumes that the man picture was a looter.  No chance that was his stash of beer? Maybe the man didn't want to leave his beer, maybe that's all he had left.

I enjoyed your attempt at saying it didn't matter whether the man pictured was Black or White. He was being made fun of because he was a looter. But how many pictures were taken of White looters? Do you think that is because they didn't loot? Did you notice that White people were always pictured as protecting their land from looters?

I know that you’ve all convinced yourselves that the evolution was the only racist picture so I’d like to point out what is racist with the otherrs.


Picture 1, the authentic picture surrounded by a board  with the caption “Opportunity, because earning it, is for suckas.”  I’m surprised you can’t see the correlation between the stereotype that Black men are lazy and willing to live off the work of others and the quote.  This goes directly to that. Had it been a White man as many of you suggested, would you have thought it to be so funny. Chances are you would have felt sorry for the man thinking “Oh, that poor hard working blue collar man, he just can’t get a break. He’s lost everything and now all he can do is drink his despair away.”


Picture 2, the Grand Theft Picture. Not only does this picture show a man who is allegedly looting, but now you’ve decided to lump him in with additional criminal activity. This harkens back to the time when Black men were portrayed as thugs just waiting to rape any White woman who crossed their path.

 

 

 

 


Picture 3, Braveheart meets “Lootie.” I’m not even sure I understand this one, why it would even be funny. But, it is the least racist picture. It at least shows the man fighting for freedom, which I think is a much better connotation that the other pictures. In fact, the man you call “Lootie” was essentially fighting for his freedom against the waters that were holding him captive.


Picture 4, M.J. Lootie. Seriously, you can’t see what’s racist about this?  You’ve taken a positive Black male image and replaced it with a man you believe to be the lowest scum of the earth. You are saying that all Black men are the same, criminals and superstars alike. Would you have thought it was funny if it were a White looter’s head on top of M.J. body?  And why M.J. why not someone who has a drinking or drug problem like Martin Lawrence or Darryl Strawberry? Wouldn’t that have made more sense that choosing someone who’s never been accused of alcoholism


Picture 5, Lootie and the Blowfish.  Once again a positive Black male is associated with a man you think is worthless.  I think Kanye West would really like to hang out with you guys. Again, wouldn’t it have made sense to choose a musical star with an addiction problem. You mentioned Dave Chappell, wouldn’t it have been “funnier” if it were the body of Rick James?

 


Picture 6, Evolution. I’m so glad that you guys can see what is so wrong with this picture. I was surprised how long it took you though.


Picture 7, Lootie needs a make-over. This one might be a little harder for you to pick up on, but the connotation is that Lootie can be made over into a nice metrosexual who won’t cause anymore problems.  He’s not good enough the way he is. He’d be better if he’d join the culture of the White man. You could even go so far as to say it shows that he’d be better off as a Gay White man than as a Black man with any sexual preference.

 

 

 


Picture 8, Where’s Lootie. While I was glad to see there was one family of color being represented in the picture as something other than looters, you’ll notice once again that the family is only good because they are just like the rest of the people around them. This suggests that minorities should not hold on to their culture but assimilate into White society. 


Picture 9, Lootie the alien.  If you can’t see how a Black man being driven down the street so that he can escape and return to his own planet has racist connotations, I’m concerned about your knowledge of history and the current plight of the KKK. There are plenty White Supremists who just want the Black man to “go back where you came from.”

 

 

 

 

 


Picture 10, Lootie Woods.  Again we address the problem with saying with associating a positive image with one you see as criminal.  I’m curious, if it wasn’t about “Lootie” being Black, then why not put his face on the body of John Daly, who has a history of hitting the bottle.


Picture 11, Another Evolution Picture. Though the picture is of an orc from Lord of the Rings, the caption suggests that it’s a looter from 900 B.C. and with a caption of “Something’s Never Change” there is nothing but racism about. To suggest that Black men have not evolved since 900 B.C. is something only someone who truly believes in their own race’s superiority could do.


Picture 12, Darth Vader Looter. I’m sure it was by accident that the Black man is being associated with a monsterous evil villain who wasn’t there for his son. Just another perpetuation of Black men not being strong father figures.


Picture 13, O.J. Lootie.  This one shines so brightly with racism that it’s hard to see how no one picked up on it.  It’s widely know that a majority of White Americans see the O.J.Simpson criminal trial as an deviation of justice. The picture here is saying that Lootie will be just another Black criminal who will escape punishment. I’m not a big supported of the O.J. verdict, but Barretta got off, too. It’s not about being Black or White when it comes to trial. You should know that it comes down to rich or poor. O.J. and Barretta had money they are free.  Prison is often about poverty, similar to much of the tragedy of New Orleans.


Picture 14, Lazy Lootie getting a beer handed to him while he lies about. Though this picture at least shows a White man on high keeping a Black man down by giving him an addictive substance, it once again shows the Black man relaxing and taking handouts. Notice, too, that the children (or cherubs/angels) are with the White man, who is clearly being shown as a God. Hmm, a White God, I think you might be using that good ole White supremist theory that “God created (White people) in his image.”


Pictures 15 and 16, Sticking it to the White Man. This another clear representation that these pictures were all based on racism.  It they weren’t and the statement is true that it could have been a White looter and it would have been just as funny, how would the caption “Sticking it to the White man,” accompanied by a picture of two White men, have made any sense?


Additional Student Note

I am a law student, a 2L. The pictures created quite a conversation piece in my Race & Racism in American Law class today. I printed them out and passed them around. I don't recall anyone saying that they thought the pictures were not racist.

And to the unregisterd user who said the pictures were funny but that doesn't make him a racist. It's not that you are a racist, the pictures are racist. There is a difference between a racist object, action, situation, law, effect, etc. and a racist person.

Calling me a racist for pointing out the racism is ridiculous. The pictures created the theme and "Lootie's" face was posted on the bodies of other Black men. The association with all Black men was made by the one who created the pictures and the one who posted them. The theme is clear. To deny it is to disregard your own posts regarding how you cannot look at the pictures individual (in reference to the evolution pics) but must consider them as a whole.

All of the law students on here should recognize that it doesn't take intent to be racist, a disparate impact has been recognized as being racist. The pictures cater to and promote stereotypes that's why you find them funny. Promotion of those stereotypes is a hinderance for those depicted. As my prof said today, when you are representing a Black man accused of a crime these stereotypes may affect the way you see him as presumptively guilty or innocent and the way you represent him as such.

Going back to this whole "it would be just as funny if it were a White guy" theme, please explain how a white guy's head on M.J.'s body would be funny/make sense, or on Tiger's body or O.J.'s. Your claim doesn't fit the evidence. The pictures under the caption "sticking it to the White man" wouldn't make sense if the original picture had been a White man.

I know you fear being labeled a racist and I'm not labeling you a racist, but your actions are racist and the thoughts and themes being promoted in the pictures are racist. Calling them humourous doesn't make them any less racist.

And not hiring someone because of their race and claiming it's because of a "gut feeling" will just add to institutional racism.

Being that you are entering into a field which is supposed to represent all of humanity and fight the good fight it's sad that you can only see your view.

p.s You are so worried about who I am here's some info. I am a 2L at UDSL. I am a Dave Chappelle fan. I am an Ultra-Conservative Republican. I am intelligent enough to spot racism when I see it and I am bold enough to call it racism when I see it. Thinking something is funny does not make it less racist. It's is funny that you try to attack people on their characteristics when you know your argument lacks merit. You want me not to be a law student (why the hell else would I be on this site) and you attacked Tim for only having 52 posts. That's a sign of someone who can't stand to battle on the issues.


 

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