‘We Are On Our Own’: Katrina & Race

Today’s Guardian has a powerful piece by Darryl Pinckney about race and the aftermath of Katrina:

‘We are becoming like the countries we criticise and pity, places where the state and the society have less and less to do with each other. We are on our own, but then black people have always known that.’

5 replies on “‘We Are On Our Own’: Katrina & Race”

  1. I also think it is more about poverty than race, but as an upper middle-class white guy in suburbia I acknowledge my opinion may not count for much in some circles.

    But why play the race & political party games now? In the past 25 years, there were 8 led by a Democratic president, and I suppose he didn’t find it all that necessary during those fat fiscal years to send some $ to New Orleans. And what about the state of Lousiana’s complicity? If they knew the levee’s were faulty, surely they could have done something at the state level to work on that.

    The poverty that stranded thousands of people in the flood of New Orleans is, in my opinion, more a general societal problem than one of a specific race or political party. It’s a reflection of all our decisions over the years; all of us, not simply one particular segment of the population.

  2. Sort of related …

    The other night I watched a documentary on the 9/11 Trade Center bombings. A number of survivors were interviewed and one was a lady in a wheelchair.

    When the bombings took place, a co-worker carried her down from the top of the building to the 20th floor (can’t remember which tower). Disabled employees were to wait there in a staging area, to be resuced by emergency workers. But the man who was carrying her decided not to leave her and took her the rest of the way down. She is one of the very few disabled employees of the Trade Center who survived … emergency workers never got to those on the 20th floor.

    Does this mean that because the diabled were “left behind” that their lives were considered less worthy? For a person with a disability (me) that’s a scary thought. I don’t believe that was the case.

  3. I think the reason that we see so many black people “left behind” is that New Orleans is largely a black city. The mayor is black and the govenor is also as are probably most of the police. I have a friend who lived there for awhile and that is what he says. The newspapers and tv news channels are Democratic and so it becomes a happy things for them to pretend that this is a racial thing. It is not!!!

  4. Virginia, Some quick googling confirms your opinion. The 2000 Census makes New Orleans roughly 30% ‘white’ and 70% ‘black’ overall. In 2001 the police force was 54% ‘black’.
    According to the New York Times 28% of people in New Orleans lived in poverty of whom 84% were ‘black’.

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