Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's not us. It's them.

Minnesota began to prepare for up to 5,000 evacuees to travel to Fort Ripley where they would be housed, fed, offered medical care and access to federal relief resources. Discussion was held as to how the displaced residents would be housed. Family units together? Men, women and children housed in separate barracks? Couples together, children separate?

Nobody came. State officials reduced the number to 3,500 possible evacuees.

They haven't come either. The hastily formed medical team, proud of themselves for setting up a MASH unit at Ripley, was sent home. Some of them may be called back next week when the, maybe 500 now, evacuees show up. If they decide to do so.

An article in today's Minneapolis StarTribune mused that the displaced residents were really wary of the climate change. And also that they liked to stay close to home, more so than Americans in other locales, even. We are to surmise that it has little to do with assumptions. The assumption that those who essentially have nothing will take anything. That those who had little to begin with will appreciate something. That our generosity, on our terms of course, is and will be welcomed gratefully. Apparently the response of thousands of displaced persons was "Thank you, but no. Appreciate your offer, but it is really too much. And too late."

I, for one, am used to but no less weary of this we know what is best for you attitude. Many think they are being kind. Generous. Christlike.
To others, though, it is an insidious means of infantilization. Belittling. Insulting. Unwelcome.

Just something to think about.


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