Superdome and Qualcomm Stadium: a ridiculous comparison

Limbaugh has apparently been talking about this, and, predictably, Matt Drudge is wallowing in it, too: the comparison between the “savage” behavior that prevailed at the Superdome during Katrina and the “civilized” behavior that we’ve seen at Qualcomm here in San Diego during the fires.

First off, you don’t have to be very good at unraveling conservative code to see that the comparison they’re drawing is between black people, the primary affected population at the Superdome, and white people, the majority (though even this point is up for debate) at Qualcomm.  The argument seems to be that white people are more civilized and handle emergencies better than blacks.

This is a ridiculous comparison for at least three reasons:

1. The wild fires are a disaster, no question, but to equate the overall magnitude of their effect to Katrina is ridiculous. If the wildfires had destroyed all of downtown, midtown, and hit the populated areas along the coast, then we might have a direct basis for comparison. Perhaps 1500 homes have been lost in the fires; 275,000 homes were destroyed by Katrina (source: Congressional testimony, US Homebuilder’s Association).

2. Qualcomm has been completely out of harm’s way, and thus accessible to caregivers, THE ENTIRE TIME. I can drive right down, right now, and hand out deodorant if I want to. Yes, we are doing our best to live up to the most positive of California stereotypes: the evacuee centers have yoga an tai chi classes, as well as clowns and balloon animal makers for the kids, and all sorts of different kinds of food. That’s because, for all the fire-related insanity going on, things here are completely different–sure, lots of people are displaced, but many of us aren’t affected in the slightest. Restaurants are still open, grocery stores–hell, I could go see a movie. Yoga instructors can wrap up their last class and head down to the evacuation center to help out, and be back home, safe, for dinner an hour later.

In contrast, the Superdome was completely cut off from all supply lines and from anyone wanting to help for days on end, due to the massive inundation of roadways in the area.

3. Many of the evacuees in San Diego are from the most wealthy parts of town; you don’t have to be a genius to recognize this fact when looking at aerial shots of the fires, which show many homes that line golf courses and have multiple structures on the property. In contrast, the people trapped at the Superdome were those that lacked the means to leave New Orleans even under an (and late) evacuation order. These were people of very limited means. To the extent that there’s a kernel of truth to the comparison, it’s not race–it’s economic class.

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10 Comments

  1. On you Qualcomm / Superdome piece, I think that it is also important to note that the level of depravity that the individuals in question stooped to has a lot to do with the entrants initial standard of living and sense of socio-economic security. When individuals with bank-roles / insurance and friends and family to call on when they are tried by nature, the results are something similar to Qualcomm… people survive. When you start with little to claim in life, you’re living with a elderly relative or have little else to back-up your life-style, when you actually lose everything, it is not hard to see people stoop to a surprising low. In Qualcomm, you have people that can maintain hope (especially since many have not yet lost their homes, least of all everything); At the Superdome, people lost it all and in many cases their sense of humanity. Or maybe I am just Blathering…

    Cullen, it’d be good to hear from you, shoot me a line some time…

  2. thank you cullen. all of this media coverage is making me ill. it’s bad enough that the national media ignored us for two days while they blathered on about malibu. then when they actually got around talking about us, they have to make these absolutely ludicrous comparisons with katrina. sigh.

  3. Great piece. I’m glad there are others who echo the sentiment.

    Cheers,

    k-

  4. Have you been watching the coverage on KUUUUUSI…For f*** sake. They should change name of the station to Duncan Hunter is God and Paul Bloom is his Biootch. Most of the Bull S** they said about New Orleans is flat out RACIST …There really is no comparrison between the Superdome & Qualcomm.

  5. […] First off, you don’t have to be very good at unraveling conservative code to see that the comparison they’re drawing is between black people, the primary affected population at the Superdome, and white people, the majority (though even this point is up for debate) at Qualcomm. The argument seems to be that white people are more civilized and handle emergencies better than blacks.” more […]

  6. THANK YOU for posting this! Can we get everyone possible to link to it, please? Trucks and cars could not reach the Superdome… dead bodies were floating in the streets. Our smoke-laden orange skies give us a superior air of hellish drama, but I can’t imagine it’s anything like the hell that was post-Katrina. I mean, looking at footage of what NO looks like NOW is still 9,000 worse than what SD looks like now, in the thick of it.

  7. I thought the biggest differences were that Qualcomm never lost electical power and running water. Of the mryiad of ways that NO officials failed their people was not anticipating the need to have emergency generators in place at the superdome and a viable way of dealing with water and sewage problems in a flooded city. SAN DIEGO should think long and hard about what an earth quake could mean in that respect and anticipate the fact that modern civilization seems to break down in about 72 hours when power and water gets shut off.

  8. let’s also remember that many of the initial stories leaked to the press regarding NO, were false. There was, in fact, no rape, nor were people killing people left and right, while stealing food. The ignorance and pure stupidity that comes with the press is mind-shattering/numbing. But then again, this is nothing new and the individuals that presist to gathere their information from these registers are culpable in their own stupidity when their own decisions are informed by these media outlets…

    nice piece by the way!

  9. above, i was refering to reports regarding events in the Superdome…

  10. don’t need a code to tell you the difference


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