Black men are typically portrayed in the media with some combination of banditry and simplemindedness. The local news in
Apart from graphic coverage of the destruction and hapless victims, the dominant images after the storm were largely of men. There were innumerable stories and pictures of Mayor Ray Nagin. He was largely presented as an emotional and ineffective mayor whose weaknesses and failure to prepare contributed to the degree of devastation in
When we entered the room there were about 35 tough looking black women eating and waiting for the session to begin. The consultant had three super polished women with her too; so it was a room full of women. I commented to HANO that I didn’t realize it was a women’s leadership organization. He chuckled and said, “Breh, it ain’t.”
“Where are the men?”
He looked at me and smiled and didn’t say anything. Then he introduced me to Sister. He said, “this here Breh, is what you call a solider.” She said that if I’m down with Brother HANO, I’m on the right team and then she hugged me so hard our ribs got all tangled up. Sister looked like a Native American. Her skin was reddish brown and she had long, bone straight, jet black hair. She was short, squat and strong looking. Her back was straight as an arrow and power was dripping off her.
She said, “I ain’ no soldier, but I’ma fight for my people right here in
HANO said, “Ain’ nobody else gonna fight for us.”
“You know that’s the mothafuckin truth.”
HANO explained that Sister had always been a community leader and organizer. She had made improving the living conditions for black people in
HANO said, “Sister, Breh walk in and the first thing he asks is, ‘where the men?’”
They both laughed and then HANO held Sister’s hand.
“These women here Breh, are holding us together. Whatever little hope we have, we have it cause of them.”