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NYT: Blacks Want Their Share Of BP Stash

Like the night follows the day, the New York Times finds social injustice in the doling out of BP’s stash:

Delta’s Black Oystermen Seeking Cleanup Work and Clinging to Hope


July 28, 2010

POINTE A LA HACHE, La. — Way down in the delta, just south of the Belle Chasse Ferry at Beshel’s Marina here, black men with work-worn hands and several generations of fishing in their blood sat around on old milk crates, hoping for a piece of the oil cleanup action that seems to have bypassed their little stretch of the bayou.

Nearly all of them have taken BP’s courses on oil cleanup, but few said they had been called to work; their little skiffs remain moored and forlorn, tied side-by-side like wretched sardines.

“The little guy loses again,” one of them lamented.

There was Hurricane Katrina five years ago. And now the great spill.

But even before those two blows, the fishermen in Pointe a la Hache and other small, historically African-American fishing towns and villages that dot the east bank of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, have long had to fight hard for every dollar, every oyster and every opportunity they could drag out of the bayou.

In decades past they have dealt with the red-lining of leases on the richest oyster beds and waterways. In the 1970s and ’80s they said they fought the laws against hand-dredging that disproportionately limited the work of the black oystermen. Many have been nudged out by the major fishing operations owned mostly by native whites and Europeans.

Oh, and those non-English speaking Vietnamese immigrants, who somehow seem to have done all right.

And they have even had to compete with migrant Hispanic workers who are willing to work for little, and who filled the void when Hurricane Katrina ran off so many of the locals

Something we never heard the New York Times mention at the time.

But isn’t it odd how, at least according to the New York Times, illegal aliens only take jobs away from blacks? Never from anyone else. That is truly vicious.

With so many deckhands making so little money, maybe $100 a day, much of what they did make, in cash, was never reported. But now, to get loans to recoup on damages or lost income, or to be compensated by BP, they said they needed to show documents to prove how much they made

Needless to say this entire article is really The Times pushing for these people to get reparations from BP even though they can’t document their losses. 

How terrible this is for all the people down there who have worked entire lives for cash under the table — and not paying a red cent in taxes. (Maybe we should put the IRS in charge of all the Gulf reimbursement payments.)

It is just heartbreaking that just because they cannot document their income, they might not get some free money. And why shouldn’t BP just give them whatever they want?

After all, it worked out so well after Katrina, when FEMA handed out money based on people’s ‘word.’ In the end it turned out that only a third of the money FEMA passed out was squandered on fraud.

Steve Rinehart, a BP spokesman, said the company was unaware of any groups being left out of the cleanup efforts and had tried to be as inclusive as possible. “The selection is by vessel, not by person,” he said. Criteria include a safety check of charter vessels and crew training.

Steve Rinehart is sounds like a ‘cracker’ name to us.

Mr. Rinehart said recent changes to BP’s vessels-of-opportunity program would allow rotation of the 3,000 vessels he said were registered.

Whew. That was close.

While officials have reopened oyster season, which will surely mean a boost to the morale and pocket book of these oystermen, Mr. Encalade warned against high hopes of a hefty harvest.

So they can return to oystering? What is the problem, again? (And why isn’t this story about black men who work in offshore drilling? — Just kidding.)

He said the fresh water that had been diverted from the Mississippi River into the bays and bayous to keep out the oil had killed off much of the oysters, which need the right balance of salt and fresh water to survive. And officials had reclaimed many of their leases, he said.

Before the spill, Mr. Encalade said, he had 1,500 acres of oyster bed. Now he is down to about 300, with most of his oysters dead, picked clean from their shells by crabs and scavenger fish

Funny, but none of the previous articles in The Times about the amazing lack of damage to the wildlife in the Gulf have mentioned the oil killing off oysters. Maybe it has happened, but we haven’t seen any reports.

The rest of the problems, if true, seem to stem from the government.

Roger Moliere Sr., 71, sat perched behind the wheel of his truck, watching his son and a deckhand unload the skiff he built with his own hands when Junior was just a boy.

“When you’re poor and black and this is all you know, what else are you going to do?” Mr. Moliere said, grimacing. “Was a time if a man lost his job he could always come down to the bayou and feed his family. But this here, what you got happening now, this here might finish us off.”

Mr. Moliere, now retired after 52 years as an oysterman


This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, July 28th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “NYT: Blacks Want Their Share Of BP Stash”

  1. Right of the People says:

    “Mister BP man, I was making $10,000.00 a week oystering before this spill. Honest I was but the man be paying me cash so I ain’t gots no record of it. You can believe me, I wouldn’t lie.”

  2. oldpuppydixie says:

    So I can’t go out and get oysters any more. And it’s cause I be black. And the spill cost me my Rembrandt collection! And that ALSO be cause I be black. And, uh, “toxic oil syndrome” caused my 150′ Hatteras to sink in really, really DEEP water. And I want that replaced! And the only reason you wouldn’t believe me is cause I be black. And….

  3. proreason says:

    No matter what, the scam artists thrive.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    Back to running numbers and dealing on the corner.

  5. AcornsRNutz says:

    I am not trying to be a blatant racist, I am only offering this as an alternative hypothesis. But, why do we assume that because they are black they have always had less money and work than the other fishing communities. That logic, if reversed, could be just as plausible if we use the same thought process. Or perhaps, as is most likely, these clowns at the NYT sought out these unfortunate black souls with the same diligence that they stood staring out to sea hoping to see the oil washing in in 10 foot waves. They are likely no more representative of the average black fisherman in the gulf region than I am.

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