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Lootie is a prime example of the presence of racism in Internet Memes.
George Bush neglected to delare a state of emergency until August 27th, two days following the storm’s arrival. Katrina finally dissapated on August 30th. 1836 were confirmed dead, another 705 missing, The storm caused a total of $81.5 billion in property damage.
Many had no access to food or water for days. With their homes destroyed, many residents, black and white, turned to looting as their only option. Over 46,000 National Guard and federal troops were temporarily deputized, giving them law enforcement jurisdiction. Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco told ABC NEWS “They have M16s and are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and I expect they will.” At least five residents were shot and killed by local police.
FEMA’s failure to plan for disaster relief drew much criticism from the press, and in 2006, Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security Richard L. Skinner wrote a 218-page report in which he states “widespread criticism for a slow and ineffective response to Hurricane Katrina. Much of the criticism is warranted.”
The AP inadvertendly starts a meme.
On August 25th, the Associated Press published the story Crisis Grows As Flooded New Orleans Looted, which contained a number of images documenting the aftermath of the storm.
In one of the photos, a black man is seen wading through waist-high water carrying a crate full of beers with the caption “A looter carries a bucket of beer out of a grocery store in New Orleans”
The Original Photo:
On September 2nd, 2005, a “New Orleans Looter” photoshop thread was started on Ebaum’sworld.com
For a few months in 2005-2006, photoshops of Lootie, as the man became to be known, became popular on Freerepublic.com, a fringe site for radical right-wing conservatives, Gunco.net, an online firearm community, and in the forums on DavidDuke.com, the official website of former Louisiana State Representative, white seperatist, white nationalist, Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke.
There were even a number of websites created with the intention to capitalize on the racial mockery.
The Memetic Hubs Want No Part
On YTMND, only three Looties were ever created. Each has under 1000 views, and they range from 1-3 out of 5 stars.
Although Lootie has been spotted on 4chan, Encylopedia Dramatica makes no mention of Lootie. This likely has more to do with 4chan’s spite for Ebaumsworld than their regard for race.
And on the SomethingAwful forums, goons typically express disgust with the meme.
For an in-depth, picture by picture analysis of how Lootie images reinforce the stereotype of the black criminal, see The Racism of Lootie, by an anonymous law student at the Univeristy of Dayton.
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