Sunday, October 09, 2005


What does it really mean to call this a "clash of cultures" Scattered in a Storm's Wake and Caught in a Clash of Cultures.

Is the clash here not only the movement of black people from a majority black southern city to an "old mission grounds here, miles from the edge of nowhere in the middle of eastern Oklahoma." A place where, "word spread fast after the evacuees arrived. Everyone wanted to see one up close. Soon, the gravel driveways wending through the grounds of the old church mission were backed up with trucks and minivans filled with locals bearing bottled water or leftover clothes or just wanting to talk to the Louisiana people, tell them how sorry they were for what had happened to them."

The culture clash is a clash of ideology. One of belief. The volunteers expectations that certain people (folks on welfare = black people) are used to handouts, used to certain kinds of regulation and discipline (or else in need of such imposition of discipline - 1/2 hour meals, scheduled outings, curfew, etc.) are shattered. Their belief that as black people they are like those "refugees" they see on tv. Eternally grateful.

Notice that the url for the Times article uses the word refugee though the word does not appear in the article itself. ( nationalspecial/09Refugee.html?emc=etal) The word evacuee appears each time - why not in the url? Nor does the word race appear in an article in which one of the displaced women says, "Where is they taking us?" Nitayu Johnson, a hotel maid with a young daughter, remembered thinking. "They trying to slave us. They going to make us pick cotton. We gon' die."


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