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  1. #1
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    Race, Class, And Bicycles

    New Orleans Metro Bicycle Coalition responds to Hurricane Katrina
    Sep 03, 2005

    Listserv post from Audrey Warren of New Orleans Metro Bicycle Coalition regarding Hurricane Katrina:


    Hello All,

    Just checking in. We are pretty sure that everyone on the New Orleans Metro Bicycle Coalition board got out safely, myself included, but not without a deep sadness in our hearts. If anyone has any questions about specific people and their whereabouts, they can contact me directly at audreykwarren@yahoo.com

    There are a thousand different ways to look at what has happened, but since this is an organization of bike/ped advocates, I wanted to give a perspective that is relevant to this group. It's a long posting, but I hope you will indulge me. I've got a lot on my mind.

    There's a tricky question on the US census longform that asks if your household has access to a car. I live by myself and haven't owned a car for years, but I can't honestly say that I don't have access to a car. I have a friends and family who I can (and do) call on anytime to borrow their car. I have money to take a taxi or rent a car whenever I need it. I have chosen to live without a car, but have access to all of the privileges that would go with ownership, just none of the hassle. It was never a question as to whether I would get out of the city. We had reservations at a hotel in Dallas by Friday night.

    Perhaps the largest issue that we have struggled with in the formation of the New Orleans Metro Bicycle Coalition is connecting with the population of folks that depend on their bicycle as their only mode of transportation, people who are honestly just barely scraping by. We all know that it is notoriously difficult to get numbers on cyclists, much less get an accurate sense of the demographics, but I would say that easily more than half the bicyclists on the road in New Orleans are riding not because of some ideology or health goal, but because they are broke and even bus fare is beyond their means.

    The vast majority of the people who were left behind had no way out. When you are watching these images on the television, I challenge you to see them as the unseen, marginalized faces of bicycling - the folks that ride everyday, but never find their way to our membership lists, or speak at the Bike Summit, or subscribe to The Ride. Part of the horror of this event is that we as a nation have turned our back on the poor, and that in most urban areas, poverty and race are inextricably linked.

    For me, advocating for bicycle and pedestrian rights is about social justice, and the 900 lb gorilla in the corner is that the complexion of our movement is largely white, middle class. I would like to hear a conversation in the bike/aped advocacy movement that really addresses these issues so that we as a collective can work to put our own house in order.

    If you would like to help out with the tragedy, please consider working in your own organizations to strengthen your ties with communities of color, and connect with people who are struggling with poverty every day. With all of the madness that is being broadcast on the television, it is difficult to know what to do, and I offer this as a meaningful way to channel your desire to help. Reaching out beyond our historic base is not trivial - or easy - but we can't claim that we're just an upstart grassroots movement anymore without enough resources to do it right. If we in New Orleans had made it a priority to address the needs of those who can't afford a car, we would never have seen the devastating images of those that were left behind.

    -audrey

    ------------------
    Audrey Warren
    New Orleans Metro Bicycle Coalition
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

  2. #2
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    Typical liberal, bleeding heart, crap. Get a life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cruentus
    Typical liberal, bleeding heart, crap. Get a life.
    This is not the Politics forum. Can we quit with the blame game already? But since you insist, you will certainly enjoy www.billionairesforbush.com. Rich, racists, and rip-roaringly fun! Conservatives Gone Wild!
    Last edited by barenakedbiker; 09-17-05 at 09:36 AM.
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

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    Quote Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
    This is not the Politics forum. Can we quit with the blame game already? But since you insist, you will certainly enjoy www.billionairesforbush.com. Rich, racists, and rip-roaringly fun! Conservatives Gone Wild!
    Dear Mr. "It's All Whitey's Fault":

    I agree, this belongs in the political section.

    Go down to the political section and read some of the stuff I've written AGAINST THE REPUBLICANS.

    You hardcore leftists are no different than the hardcore right wingers -- different sides of the same coin.

    You can save this article for the rich, white college girlies, they're the only ones dumb enough to fall for this crap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cruentus
    Dear Mr. "It's All Whitey's Fault":
    Duh. I have no idea what you are talking about.
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

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    Quote Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
    Duh. I have no idea what you are talking about.
    You have no idea what I'm talking about?

    This is from the article you posted:

    For me, advocating for bicycle and pedestrian rights is about social justice, and the 900 lb gorilla in the corner is that the complexion of our movement is largely white, middle class.
    If some group is all, or nearly, white that, in itself, is a problem? That's how you think?

    If I had posted this same article with the word "white" replaced by "black", you would have gotten you panties all in a bunch and gone off puling to the mods demanding that the thread be nuked.

    My parents are political refugees from Eastern Europe. I was born in Jersey City, NJ, I went to High School in Hackensack, NJ, I went to college in Newark, NJ. I've been around black people all my life. I've seen it all up close and personal. You can save your tired, old sociology class clichés for some teenager from a lily White town. They're the only ones impressed with that bull****.

    Duh!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cruentus
    You have no idea what I'm talking about?

    My parents are political refugees from Eastern Europe. I was born in Jersey City, NJ, I went to High School in Hackensack, NJ, I went to college in Newark, NJ. I've been around black people all my life. I've seen it all up close and personal. You can save your tired, old sociology class clichés for some teenager from a lily White town. They're the only ones impressed with that bull****.

    Duh!
    I still don't get it. Can someone help me out?
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

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    Quote Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
    I still don't get it. Can someone help me out?
    He's all up in your face like, flaming you and stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
    I still don't get it. Can someone help me out?
    What don't you get? You've been called on your lefty bull**** ,and you have nothing to back it up with. You're used to pointing your finger, with self righteous indignation, and, screaming "racist, anti-Semite, Nazi" and have everyone run for cover.

    Sorry, doesn't work with me. You can stuff it. Now go cry to the mods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cruentus
    What don't you get? You've been called on your lefty bull**** ,and you have nothing to back it up with. You're used to pointing your finger, with self righteous indignation, and, screaming "racist, anti-Semite, Nazi" and have everyone run for cover.

    Sorry, doesn't work with me. You can stuff it. Now go cry to the mods.
    Wow. I wish I had a kewl little electronic device to control the way you interpret my post and make it right. I am sorry I can't. Why don't you write to the original author of the letter?
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

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    Quote Originally Posted by pseudobrit
    He's all up in your face like, flaming you and stuff.
    I don't understand. Besides, I didn't write the letter. Why don't you take up the issue with her? I posted it because I have nothing better to do and have no life.
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

  12. #12
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    I think the person who wrote the article the original poster wallpapered here, is concerned with representating disenfranchized, marginalized cyclists in an advocacy organization who's face is largely white, in the context of the Katrina disaster.

    Minority representation is a problem many advocacy groups face, regardless of fraternity, i'd imagine. Do community organizations in neighborhoods with large % of minority population misrepresent their poorer constituents? Probably.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    I think the original poster is concerned with representating disenfranchized, marginalized cyclists in an advocacy organization who's face is largely white, in the context of the Katrina disaster.

    Minority representation is a problem many advocacy groups face, regardless of fraternity, i'd imagine. Do community organizations in neighborhoods with large % of minority population misrepresent their poorer constituents? Probably.

    Okaaaaaaay. A more nuanced response. Thank you.
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

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    Quote Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
    I still don't get it. Can someone help me out?
    He has a lot of anger. That's about it.
    You don't understand because you were looking for a
    rational train of thought. That was even a rant.
    A rant is about something. His comments were
    rejecting the author's POV but without ever saying why.
    One of the tricks these guys do is what I call a Seinfeld.
    They look like they're going somewhere, but nothing happens.

    Having said that, I do wonder where the author was going with his comments.
    Disaster management is a game pros play. Amateurs just screw up, like Brownie did.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
    I still don't get it. Can someone help me out?
    He has a lot of anger. That's about it.
    You don't understand because you were looking for a
    rational train of thought. That wasn't even a rant.
    A rant is about something. His comments were
    rejecting the author's POV but without ever saying why.
    One of the tricks these guys do is what I call a Seinfeld.
    They look like they're going somewhere, but nothing happens.

    Having said that, I do wonder where Audrey Warren was going with his comments.
    Disaster management is a game pros play. Amateurs just screw up, like Brownie did.

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    The bleeding heart stuff only plays to those who have been isolated from reality. Yep the teenager from the lily-white town is the one it plays to.

    I too am appalled that the official stance for emergency plans in the US is that you must have a car. Bicycles are a great way to move a lot of people, effectively and cheaply. The corrupt gangsters running NO allowing use of the friggin SCHOOL BUSES would have helped too.

    I reserve the most admiration for the white guy who lived on a boat in LA so he wasn't rich, and he hopped on his bike with trailer and rode to Colorado. There's a guy who's used to handling what life hands him.

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    Senior Member biodiesel's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting exercise meant to give more of a perspective than take a side.

    Imagine New York City. All 5 burroughs. Imagine trying to evacuate all 8 million people in 24 hours. Right.

    Back to New Orleans
    My supposition is that whatever the culture race bias etc it is impossable to effect a total evacuation of a major city in less than a few days.
    If everyone HAD driven out their cars would still be stuck on the highway.
    And it's a nice thought to say "busses" How many busses does it take to move 250 thousand people? Who's driving those busses when half the bus drivers are evacuating? The nursing home (bad bad bad) failed to evacuate and we're all upset, but the hospitals weren't emptied either. How many ambulances does it take to evacuate 50 people from a nursing home? 50. Plus 50 crews driving a few hours to Baton Rouge, plus probably double the staff the nursing home has to get 50 patients ready for transport. All the while 50 911 calls not getting answered during a crisis and how many more hospitals waiting? I'll suggest that without outside (federal) help a mass evacuation is IMPOSSIBLE. I've worked in nursing homes and know that even if they have access to a bus big enough for the number of patients most of the patients couldn't walk into the bus, would need 3-4 people each to lift and carry into the bus, couln't sit in a bus seat and would be injured, need oxygen or other medical intervention... Evacuating a 300 bed hospital? That's when we start to 'triage' and stuff people into cars that can go, ambulences based on availability and decide who stays, and who probably won't make it. (Who dies.)
    I guarentee that the city and county does not have enough ambulances or helicopters to have evac'd every hospital in the affected region, nor have enough city busses to have evac'd the people left behind.

    I think the 'fault' for this lies in a lack of planning, lack of understanding of the realities of an evacuation, and a lack of immagination. But the people on the ground can only do their best with what they have. Should have's don't help anyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by biodiesel
    Here's an interesting exercise meant to give more of a perspective than take a side.

    Imagine New York City. All 5 burroughs. Imagine trying to evacuate all 8 million people in 24 hours. Right.
    Where would you put 8 million people after the evacuation?
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
    Where would you put 8 million people after the evacuation?
    It's a mental exercise, don't bother yourself.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  20. #20
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
    Where would you put 8 million people after the evacuation?
    Hi,
    density is inverse to efficiency. In other words, as people spread out they get easier to move. Also, once out of the immediate area of danger, the need to move quickly is reduced.

    But the first step is a doozy. No one has any idea how you could move millions
    within a timeframe that would allow them to escape some disasters. You couldn't justify creating a hundred new train tracks just to handle the surge of an emergency situation. Even worse, generally speaking any transportation capacity
    gets utilised exacerbating the various problems of long distance commuting.

    But there are tons of stuff that can be done, that would save many lives. We should do them.

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    But there are tons of stuff that can be done, that would save many lives. We should do them.
    Air drop bikes along with the food and water?
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

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    Quote Originally Posted by cruentus
    If some group is all, or nearly, white that, in itself, is a problem? That's how you think?
    The problem is that the majority of cyclists in a lot of place are the very poor, for whom cycling is the most practical economic option, and those cyclists aren't part of the advocacy orgs in their areas, generally. It's as if AAA was formed only of people who drove Formula One cars, or something like that, I guess.

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    FWIW, environmental groups are having similar bouts of debate about this, as some of the most pressing environmental issues have to do w/urban pollution & contamination, yet the big green orgs are mostly formed of rich folks trying to preserve wilderness areas, &c. and so are out of touch w/urban grassroots efforts which they could be doing some real good by helping.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laika
    The problem is that the majority of cyclists in a lot of place are the very poor, for whom cycling is the most practical economic option, and those cyclists aren't part of the advocacy orgs in their areas, generally. It's as if AAA was formed only of people who drove Formula One cars, or something like that, I guess.
    I guess you mean like a small band of VC proselytizers/true believers trying to hijack the issue of Bicycling Advocacy as their exclusive province, regardless of their unrepresentative composition.

  25. #25
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    I guess you mean like a small band of VC proselytizers/true believers trying to hijack the issue of Bicycling Advocacy as their exclusive province, regardless of their unrepresentative composition.
    Or the people who hurl personal insults at the VC'ers without offering their own alternatives.

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