White Privilege Caused Hurricane Irma
Last Sunday, Hurricane Irma pounded the state of Florida, leaving massive devastation in its path. Sean Joseph Watson found one survivor of this deadly storm, Harry P. Chavez, and interviewed him for this piece. What follows is a harrowing story of survival in the face of natural and white-manmade disaster.
Watson: It’s hard enough to survive in America during the age of Trump, especially as a Latinx. But Hurricane Irma on top of that? How did you manage?
Chavez: These truly are difficult times. When we aren’t the target of Trump and his brownshirts, we are the target of Mother Nature xerself. While the Trumpists take away our livelihoods, a monstrous storm, caused by the very excesses of white society, threatened to take away our homes!
Watson: Make no mistake, white privilege caused Hurricane Irma. How does that make you feel, knowing that white industry, white lifestyles, caused the destruction of many Black and Latinx communities in Florida and the Caribbean?
Chavez: The hurricane decided to make a beeline for the southern part of Florida, with its enormous Hispanic population, then decided to shift to the east to spare the predominantly white Tampa Bay Area. Meanwhile, black and brown bodies that sought refuge in Houston after Katrina are again having their lives ripped apart in the aftermath of Harvey. White privilege is real, and it seems to even have an effect on the atmosphere itself!
While the dead were still being plucked from the rubble that remains of 97% of Barbuda, I sipped fine red wine, and watched events unfold in HD and in air conditioned comfort. When I woke up this morning and popped a K-cup into the machine, taking in the smell of freshly brewed coffee, I began to realize that white privilege is truly the most shameful thing on Earth. My life goes on, though going without Uber Eats for a couple days was difficult, while so many lives are ended or changed forever.
Watson: That brings me to my next question. Did you feel you had to “pass” in order to survive? Like, Aubrey Plaza-level passing?
Chavez: Of course! We had to all act like we were all so afraid for each other’s lives, like the community was really “pulling together”. It was all BS… the second it looked like their precious McMansions were going to get toppled, they beat each other senseless for plywood and generators. While the poor and disadvantaged just prayed for the best.
Watson: Who beat each other senseless over plywood and generators? You mean, yt people?
Chavez: Of course! Wypipo got all scared that their perfect little white lives were going to get inconvenienced, Though they had lake houses up north, or a hotel room booked in Amsterdam, they still fretted about, safeguarding their possessions. Where did the people without much means stay? The cold floor of a high school gym, or rec center. Rather than truly help their fellow man, they made sure their riches were preserved, and skipped town.
Watson: Let’s not forget that many tried to not just preserve but even profit from the misery, with stories of price gouging for gas, food, water, and tickets out of Florida. Did you fall victim to any price gouging, at all?
Chavez: It was absolutely insane, my friend! As the storm approached, you would see one price for gas in the morning, and come the evening the price has jumped 15 cents! 7 Eleven even took the step of giving away free water, because they were charging astronomical prices for the same thing that comes out of the tap for pennies. I saw whites grabbing Perrier and VOSS water off the shelf at Publix, while the disadvantaged paid $20 for just a few bottles of water at 7 Eleven, because they didn’t have the bus fare to make it out to a big supermarket.
Watson: That sounds pretty outrageous, like being in the Deep South during Segregation with the separate water fountains. Do you feel your governor, Rick Scott, did enough to combat this problem?
Chavez: He paid it lip-service. Though I am sure he was more concerned about making sure Disney World could be open to scam tourists, rather than worry about a single mom trying to make sure her children can survive a week without electricity or reasonably priced food.
Watson: No help for single mothers…. Did you see any other instances of misogyny in the runup to the storm, during it, and/or in the aftermath?
Chavez: Of course! All those wypipo getting their time to shine, white men with tight haircuts and big badges to compensate for, well, you know. Non-stop coverage from local and national networks and the ability to seem concerned about the plight of the commoners can be a big career boost to Sheriffs of small towns and the police chiefs of semi-major cities.
Watson: Let’s not forget that Florida is a state in the South and filled with white people in law enforcement. With that being said, how did the police act during this whole ordeal? Brutal? Discriminatory? This is a fair question to ask since this is the state where Trayvon Martin was killed and his killer acquitted.
Chavez: The stories demonizing black and brown bodies as “looters” started coming out seemingly before the storm made landfall!
Look at this picture:
These young men could have been at home, helping protect their families! But no, some boys deciding to do what teenagers do, and head out when they probably shouldn’t have, were rounded up like cattle. The desire to incarcerate defenseless blacks doesn’t even take a break for a category 5 hurricane.
Watson: And yet no arrests for the looting that occurred from white people via rampant price gouging? Seems a little absurd, don’t you agree?
Chavez: If this were a truly just world, it would be absurd. But this is Florida, under the reign of Rick “Skeletor” Scott, so the chances of a non-white ever coming out on top are slim to none.
Watson: Truly a microcosm of reality in America. White people continue to fleece the country with its industry and financial institutions, whose excesses cause environmental devastation never before seen in history, for which people of color will bear the brunt of the consequences, while D’ Wyatts use tragedy to fleece again, repeated ad infinitum. Meanwhile, people of color just want to live their lives without being harassed. Do you see an end to this? Do you have any hope this cycle will eventually be broken?
Chavez: You’ve connected the dots and exposed the vicious cycle for what it is! The system is built from the ground up to help whites, especially white men, win… every time. We can only break free from this bondage when we decide we will no longer be of, or take part in, the system. The people of St. Maarten decided to take their situation into their own hands and take from the white-owned shops what they needed to survive after “the man” abandoned them to die in 185 MPH winds.
Watson: Wow, people taking back their destiny from an oppressive government that refuses to help them or represent them…. Ain’t that why wypipo always say America was formed? 🤔
Chavez: All those buckle-shoed, powdered wig-wearing, slave-owning, sons of bitches wanted was for their profits, and their slaves, to remain in their pockets, rather than that of their king. Nothing has changed since then, really.
Chavez: Needless to say, whether we’re being whipped in the fields, or whipped by winds twice as fast as a Major League fastball, we can expect to have to fight white people every step of the way.
We hope you enjoyed this tale of triumph amongst tragedy! Harry P. Chavez’s story proves that if we put our woke minds to it, we can overcome anything! ✊
If you haven’t already, please read our older articles to awaken your mind to more ways to fight injustice. We come out with new articles regularly, so stay tuned, because the outrage never stops!