Hurricane Katrina Photo Part II

The individual who wrote the capture for the now infamous “finding” picture broke his silence today.

The people were swimming in chest deep water, and there were other people in the water, both white and black. I looked for the best picture. there were a million items floating in the water – we were right near a grocery store that had 5+ feet of water in it. it had no doors. the water was moving, and the stuff was floating away. These people were not ducking into a store and busting down windows to get electronics. They picked up bread and cokes that were floating in the water. They would have floated away anyhow.

looting, as defined by the dictionary is:

1. Valuables pillaged in time of war; spoils.
2. Stolen goods.
3. Informal. Goods illicitly obtained, as by bribery.

finding on the other hand, is defined in a way that makes it sound much more law abiding:

1. To come upon, often by accident; meet with.
2. To come upon or discover by searching or making an effort: found the leak in the pipe.

Taking property that isn’t yours without express consent, especially if it’s only feet away from a grocery store (which makes it obvious who the owner of the goods are) is still looting. Both definition 1 and 2 for looting 100% describe *both* pictures. The definition of “finding” doesn’t apply to either in the context of the caption. This is just like you can still be charged with armed robbery even if you don’t fire your weapon. Looting is looting. It doesn’t matter the color of your skin or what type protection the property owner had in place to protect their goods. You steal them in a circumstance like this (this really falls under time of war like anarchy)… it’s looting.

Yahoo Letter

Yahoo published the following in regard to this topic aknowledging it and explaining (although they didn’t write the captions, they just syndicate it):

To Yahoo! News readers:

News photos are an especially popular section of Yahoo! News. In part, this is because we present thousands of news photos from some of the leading news services, including The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France Press. To make this volume of photos available in a timely manner, we present the photos and their captions as written, edited and distributed by the news services with no additional editing at Yahoo! News.

In recent days, a number of readers of Yahoo! News have commented on differences in the language in two Hurricane Katrina-related photo captions (from two news services). Since the controversy began, the supplier of one of the photos – AFP – has asked all its clients to remove the photo from their databases. Yahoo! News has complied with the AFP request.

Here are a few of the postings that have commented on the photo caption language:

Flickr

Salon

Romenesko

Gothamist

You can comment on the issue on this message board.

Yahoo! News regrets that these photos and captions, viewed together, may have suggested a racial bias on our part. We remain committed to bringing our readers the full collection of photos as transmitted by our wire service partners.

Neil Budde
General Manager
Yahoo! News

Update: added yahoo letter.

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10 Responses to “Hurricane Katrina Photo Part II”

  1. […] The author of the ‘finding’ caption responds […]

  2. Excuse me, but to say that the definition of finding doesn’t apply is just wrong. The articles were “found” by both individuals. It might not be the most precise way to describe what happened, but both definitions of finding do describe it.

    I would still call it looting if I wanted to tell someone else what happened, but you cannot give the definitions of finding as above and then state that the individuals did not find the goods to further your argument.

  3. Theadversary says:

    Wow, you are absolutely desparate to call “white” people looters. That’s some twisted view of your definitions. The situation described doesn’t even come close to fitting definition one of “loot” and matches almost exactly both definitions of “find”.

    Be that as it may, the woman still isn’t white.

  4. Robert says:

    You can also say a bank robber “found” the cash in the bank vault using the same logic. Yes he did perhaps “find”. But the action taking place was “looting”.

    “Find” is an act of discovery. The theft is “looting”.

    If the individuals *found* the goods, and left them, then “find” is the appropriate word. By stealing… it becomes looting (thanks to the circumstance “theft” isn’t quite right as a state of anarchy is currently in place).

    Looting is without question the right term for both parties.

    And the author of the caption didn’t dispute the subject being white (that would have been the easiests copout for the author), so we can safely assume the subject is white, but likely covered in mud and silt thanks to the flooding.

  5. european visitor says:

    well maybe it’s both looting or finding, but it’s defenitily NOT racism

  6. Theadversary says:

    Wow, so if someone tears apart your “logic” you delete their post, eh Robert?

    What a typical liberal. Oh well, please continue with your racist diatribe.

  7. Rory Parle says:

    Wow. When I read about this first I assumed people were bothered by the dichotomy between the captions, not by the fact that people were being ‘let away’ with looting. Looting is taking advantage of anarchy to steal. Taking goods because you need to survive shouldn’t be called looting, since the negative connotations of opportunism are unfair when applied in this circumstance. Looting implies profiting from others’ misfortune, not trying to remedy your own.

  8. usa says:

    I feel like neither situation would or should be considered looting due to the given circumstances. I do know that yes, racism still exist and i do feel like deep down “Americans” still love to see black people as the ones that will always do something wrond, while white people are the victims.

  9. Cyrano says:

    You people are all missing the point.

    Nobody knows what it in anybody’s bag. It could be stolen goods or it could be personal belongings saved from the storm. Nobody knows. So, you can’t accurately call it looting or finiding. Instead, it would be better to describe it perfectly objectively (whicvh the media finds impossible to do). The only objective way to describe the scenes in the photos is to explain what the individuals had in their hands. “The black guy had a big black garbage bag, but we The Media don’t know what’s in it.” “The White guy had a backpack, but we The MEdia don’t know what’s in it.” What we do know is that for none of these people can their current situation be please, and we hope they receive the goods and services they need to put them back on their feet.

  10. Cyrano says:

    *…situation be pleasant…*

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