Monday, September 05, 2005


The race to complain about race

posted by Rob at 1:59 PM

Two observations on the race card being thrown out with regard to Katrina. First up, Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post again repeats that photos and video aren't enough. We need to hear that people are black:
For the first three days, few journalists mentioned what the pictures made glaringly obvious: that most of the victims of the flooding were poor and black.
I can hear Shepard Smith now. "Here is the latest video from New Orleans, where all you see is black people. I know you can see for yourself with you own eyes that they're black, but I can't emphasize enough just how black they are. In the words of CB4, 'They're black, ya'll. They're black, ya'll. They're blacker than black cause their black, ya'll."

Jack Shafer in Slate was on top of this before the first looting, writing Wednesday:
Nearly every rescued person, temporary resident of the Superdome, looter, or loiterer on the high ground of the freeway I saw on TV was African-American. And from the look of it, they weren't wealthy residents of the Garden District. This storm appears to have hurt blacks more directly than whites, but the broadcasters scarcely mentioned that fact. ...

But I don't recall any reporter exploring the class issue directly by getting a paycheck-to-paycheck victim to explain that he couldn't risk leaving because if he lost his furniture and appliances, his pots and pans, his bedding and clothes, to Katrina or looters, he'd have no way to replace them. No insurance, no stable, large extended family that could lend him cash to get back on his feet, no middle-class job to return to after the storm.
So, in Shafer's world, only the black people suffered real loss. Among the 33% percent of New Orleans residents who are not black and could not evacuate, they're just fine. No worries, mate. Their whiteness blinded the water and caused it to evaperate, thus saving their home.

Of course, to refer to race with regard to victims of the hurricane you'll also have to address the race of the looters, rapers and shooters making the relief rounds. But you can't go there. Oh no, now that's racist. Besides, it could be that 33% just blowing off steam over the lack of a quick federal response.

If you really want to break down victims by race, click on over to Best of the Web. He has the "2000 census's racial breakdowns of the populations of those five Louisiana parishes, along with Mississippi's coastal counties, which suffered a direct hit." Only Orleans, La. is overwhelmingly black, yet I rarely see a white victim from anywhere on my television screen.

The New York Times today looks deeper at the culture of New Orleans. It is now secret that it has a large population of poor people, most of whom are black. Which to me underscores how sorry the mayor's actions were leading up to Katrina's hit. He should have known the danger and should have known the obstacles of evacuating the city. He failed to act on them.

Idiots like Nancy Giles (is this really her website) and the other race baiters are simply seeking to make two political points:

No. 1 Bush is racist.
No. 2 It's all Bush's fault.

All morning long today Fox News has danced around the question of the blame game. It's already started, and all the racial hatemongering is only going to make it worse.

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