This post originally appeared on Carolyn Edgar’s blog, CarolynEdgar.com.
ne of the saddest tales in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is the story of Glenda Moore, a Staten Island woman whose two children – Connor, age 4, and Brandon, age 2 – were swept away by a storm surge. Moore reportedly knocked on her neighbors’ doors, begging for help, but no one would help her.
Glenda Moore is black. Her husband, Damien Moore, is white. Staten Island, New York City’s fifth and often forgotten borough, is 64 percent white. Unfortunately, these facts are pertinent to this story.
When two children of an Upper West Side family were allegedly murdered by their nanny, many people criticized the children’s mother, Marina Krim, for having a nanny. If, as Salon Magazine put it, the Krim case “unleashed an onslaught of trolls” — the Moore tragedy has launched an avalanche of particularly vicious trolling.
A person posting as PCwriter posted the following comment about Moore on CNN:
“Yes the mother should go to hell for putting her children in harms way…. I feel bad for the children who lost their lives. Seeing that they had to depend on an irresponsible mother. Poor children never had a chance.”
As a mother, I can assure PCWriter that Glenda Moore, after losing her babies, is already in hell. Should Moore have evacuated sooner? Perhaps, but does it matter? A mother and father lost their two young children in the storm. Shouldn’t we have compassion for them?
No, according to a person posting as gtrbt1 on The Christian Post (The CHRISTIAN Post, mind you):
“Many whites, including myself, have experienced black on white crime first hand. So how many people are going to let a muscular, screaming black woman into their house…? How would you know whether it was just a trick and you were about to be the victim of home invasion, robbery, rape…That is the problem, you just don’t know. The one thing black people never want to do is own up to the fact that they have a bad reputation as a race because they have earned it…. And that is the problem, blacks in America on average feel entitled to engage in looting and crime against whites with the assumption that we deserve it. And then people are shocked when whites won’t open their door to a big black woman screaming and pounding on it? Hello, get a clue. ”
Never mind that Moore is reportedly 5’3″ and 130 pounds – gtrbt1 had to transform her into a “big black woman.” Because, you know, racism.
Judgments about whether to stay or evacuate in the wake of impending natural disasters can only be validated or repudiated in hindsight. Last year, the day before Hurricane Irene was set to strike, I drove with my two kids to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and boarded one of the last ferries of the day to the island of Martha’s Vineyard. We had rented a vacation beach house with friends for a week, and I didn’t want to forfeit my vacation. From what I could tell (based on my less than exhaustive research), the storm wasn’t forecast to hit Martha’s Vineyard directly. I convinced myself the trip was a risk worth taking.
In fact, Irene more or less bypassed Massachusetts, including Martha’s Vineyard. We got lucky. Had the storm taken a different turn, I might be telling a very different story right now. Indeed, had Glenda Moore