Saturday, September 17, 2005

Racial Disparities

I'm still ruminating on the effects from Hurricane Katrina. Likely one of the biggest takeaways will be the implications on race relations as a result of perception during the evacuation.

The insinuation was that response to the victims of the hurricane was slower due to the fact they were black. By now everyone has heard Kanye West's famous quote:
George Bush doesn't care about black people.
The reaction from many notable African-American politicians was similar. From Jesse Jackson to Al Sharpton, the federal response was chastized.

Despite the fact I knew there was an undercurrent of dissatisfaction, I was still surprised when the magnitude was revealed. The difference in opinion between blacks and whites on the response to the hurricane was marked. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken last weekend said:
37 percent [held Bush] most to blame for the fact that many residents were trapped inside the city after it flooded.

Twenty percent of blacks primarily blamed New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, 11 percent blamed the residents themselves and 27 percent blamed no one at all.

Among whites, 29 percent blamed Nagin, 27 percent blamed the residents, 15 percent blamed Bush and 24 percent held no one responsible.
Wow, talk about a difference of opinion.

Now this post is not to say who's right and who's wrong. However, there is quite a disparity here. It hearkens back to past events that have split the population along racial lines. Most blacks thought O.J. was innocent, most whites thought he was guilty. Blacks thought Michael Jackson was innocent, whites think he's guilty. Stereotyping, yes, but generally true.

The reaction to the hurricane only serves to remind us yet again that, yes, there is somewhat of a racial chasm in our country. The question becomes: Why is this and what does it mean?


Greg said...

She is not alone.

Westy said...

Hey, Greg, a little link help?
This one doesn't seem to work...

Greg said...

(Westy, I've gotten this link to work in both Firefox and IE. If it's still not working for you, you might need to upgrade your Windows Media Player?)

Westy said...

If you just click on it, you get the following message:
Please don’t hotlink to my videos - it is hard enough to deal with the current bandwidth I have now. If you like the video(s) you’ve seen, please consider donating to my dedicated server tipjar here.

Ian Schwartz

But I got it to work by just inputting the address directly.

Greg said...

Oops! Okay.