Last week, a reporter at the New Orleans Times-Picayune wrote a story about the health concerns surrounding poor residents in a housing development beside the Pallas Hotel, which is scheduled for demolition. The photo accompanying the story shows a boy playing with an iPad, an image that infuriated some readers, who wrote in to question exactly what a boy living in the projects was doing with an iPad. Times-Picayune writer Jarvis DeBerry takes these letters to the editor to task.
Readers called and emailed reporter Katy Reckdahl to express their anger. One less caustic correspondent was clearly worried at what the reporter might think of him for raising the issue: "Not to rush to comment. I hope this is nothing more than someone gave him the iPad as a gift and he is using it for educational means or just playing games … I hope I am not over thinking this. I am not prejudice (sic) — this just did not look right."
I imagine that at some point or another all of us who aren't poor have decided which items poor folks, especially those on government assistance, should be allowed to have. And which items they should be denied. Fancy rims have been known to set me off. Maybe for you it's gold teeth, Air Jordans, the latest mobile phone. City Councilwoman Stacy Head used her taxpayer-funded phone to send an outraged email when she saw a woman using food stamps to buy Rice Krispies treats. What right do the poor have to sweetness?
Read Jarvis DeBerry's entire piece at the Times-Picayune.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.