Monday, September 05, 2005

Is Racism to Blame for Hurricane Response?

New Orleans, La., Aug. 31, 2005 -- Evacuees, carrying what few posessions they are able to save from the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina, exit a rescue helicopter and head for the main staging area. Thousands of city residents were left stranded by the storm that struck the area on Aug. 29. New Orleans is being evacuated following Hurricane Katrina and rising flood waters. Photo by Win Henderson / FEMA photo.

Two prominent African-American religious leaders are charging that the federal response to the crisis in New Orleans is rooted in racism. The population of New Orleans is approximately 67.3 percent African-American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

From the Rev. Jesse Jackson:

"The president has not put together a federal program or a coordinated effort to address this massive crisis. Mr. Bush came today and did what can be described as a ceremonial tour of the area. He would not touch the ground in New Orleans where suffering black people are dying.”

“President Bush has come very late with very little.” Jackson described the scene in New Orleans as looking like “the hull of a slave ship.”

From the Rev. Al Sharpton:

"The question is why has it taken the government so long to get in. I feel that, if it was in another area, with another economic strata and racial makeup, that President Bush would have run out of Crawford a lot quicker and FEMA would have found its way in a lot sooner."

Meanwhile, black members of Congress were hesitant to raise racial issues.

"The issue is not about race right now," said Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, during a news conference covered by CNN.

Jackson quotes in context, Rainbow/Push Coalition
Sharpton quotes in context, Interview with Keith Olbermann
Black lawmakers' responses, CNN

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An investigation would reveal if the slow responses were due to racism, but it would have to include the black Mayor of New O. The responses made by inadequate leadership would have failed anyone. I would look more at why wasn't the disaster prevented?