Saturday, August 29, 2009

Remembring Katrina

Today is the day that Katrina reached New Orleans. It's not exactly surprising that not much is being said about this anniversary, given the level of utter incompetence, not to mention the racism. Anyway, I thought Renee said it best:

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. It ravaged the Gulf Coast from central Florida to Texas. New Orleans was the most affected due to the levees breaking. Many evacuated before the storm hit landfall, however; those unable or unwilling to leave waited out the storm in their homes or in what was known as the place of last resort, the Super Dome. The water lingered for weeks because 80% of the city was flooded.

When former President George W. Bush looked back on this horrific natural disaster, at the end of his term, he spoke of how effectively the residents of New Orleans had been evacuated, however; it is certain, that the 1,836 dead would have had a different opinion, had they still been alive to tell their stories. Not only was Katrina a massive display of incompetence, it revealed the race and class divide, that has become a part of life in America to the world.


The nation watched in horror, as it became evident that those swimming for their lives were largely Black. This was not the dream that Martin spoke of, where is the long awaited mountaintop? Even the reporting on Hurricane Katrina was largely tinged with racism, as Blacks were accused of looting, while Whites were merely forging for supplies. All of the major news outlets were there broadcasting in solemn tones about the human tragedy and yet no one bother to report on the murders of Blacks in Algiers Point. Anyone stumbling into that area risked being shot, as White vigilantes strove to protect what they deemed to be theirs. In a documentary on this event, two members of the community stated:

It was great!” said one vigilante. “It was like pheasant season in South Dakota, if it moved you shot it ... I am not longer a Yankee.”

A woman responded, “He understands the N word now. In this neighbourhood we take care of our own.”

Even amongst the vulnerable, Whiteness continued to exist with the ability to act with impunity. No investigation was launched by the state regarding the shooting of Blacks, revealing that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, racism continued to factor into the governments decisions on which bodies are considered valuable.

Read the whole thing here.