Houston Rescue Images Destroying Media’s Race Narrative
Countless pics and videos show white, black and Latino Americans aiding each other without hesitation
For the past two weeks, media panels on CNN have painted a picture of America as a nation deeply divided by race. But the countless rescue stories out of Houston, and the images of men rushing in with boats to rescue whites, blacks and Hispanics from rooftops and flooded homes and streets have shown Americans something different.
“The racist thing is going out the window because of the hurricane that happened in Texas…” a Florida woman named Jennifer Santana who goes by the pen name Political Avenger said in a YouTube video that got a thousand likes on Monday.
"It kills the media that there's such a diversity of people in Texas that are helping each other," she said, describing news photos and video of black and white rescuers pulling people out of floodwaters.
"You see all kinds of people doing the rescuing and being rescued. All kinds. All types. All peoples," she said. "This event has literally destroyed the Nazi, racist narrative of the mainstream media. Killed it ... It has destroyed it. You can see it, and it's plain as day. Nobody cares about racism. Nobody cares about race. Nobody cares about class. People are just caring about people."
The round-the-clock coverage of rescuers coming in with their own boats to help people off rooftops and from flooded streets has been intermingled with feature stories such as the one about "Mattress Mack" — the furniture-store owner who put out a video inviting flood victims to come and crash out on his furniture for the foreseeable future. Hundreds of people, some of them soaked through to the bones, showed up and are now camped out in his showrooms. And even after many had arrived, he went on CNN and gave out his own phone number on live television, inviting more to come.
"Race War? I don't see it. I just see Americans," said Twitter user Cari Kelemen in a tweet accompanying a photo of a white man carrying a black child on his back through a flooded road, and a black rescue worker carrying two white children, one in each arm.
"This is where, to me, and the rest of the country, a natural disaster like this is a moment for unity," says Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, adding that a disaster like Hurricane Harvey is usually a slow period for his organization, which tracks liberal media bias, as real news takes over from opinion journalists.
CNN panels on Charlottesville and race are gone, and instead, Americans see footage of people of all races coming to each other's aide in Houston and other cities in Texas and now southern Louisiana, where Harvey made a second landfall on Wednesday.
Ward Connerly, head of the American Civil Rights Initiative (ACRI), was watching the coverage of the historic flooding in Houston with great interest.
"The most impressive image that I saw yesterday were these two little girls, one brown-skinned and one pink-skinned, and they were playing together ... they were playing as if they'd known each other their whole lives," he said.
He said it reminded him of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. When he first heard it, he didn't believe it could be possible.
"I thought, that dream is not reality, doctor," he told LifeZette this week.
But he believes it now. For the last 20 years, Connerly and ACRI have fought racial preferences in college admissions, and also state hiring and contracting, most recently focusing on the extreme discrimination against Asian-Americans in college admissions.
Connerly said that what he saw in the coverage of the disaster in Houston confirmed what he's long felt — that most Americans don't care all that much about skin color.
"My view is being reinforced every minute in Texas," he said.
The media's message in the aftermath of the clash between white supremacists and Antifa in Charlottesville, he says, was that "hate has returned to America."
But in the coverage from Texas, Connerly said, we all can see that this isn't true.
"There are other human beings who are in search of assistance, and it really doesn't matter to them what color the person's skin is."