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Hurricane Katrina: Natural Disaster or Racial Disaster?

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Many may call Hurricane Katrina one of the worse natural disasters in the history of the United

States. How many have called it not only a natural disaster but, a racial disaster? Racial

discrimination was found during Hurricane Katrina through the relief efforts made, the lack of

humanity shown, and ineffective government actions. I found this topic very interesting because

of the severity of the assumed level of discrimination that followed the storm. This assumed

discrimination not only came from the victims of the storm but,

the unaffected public as well. I personally watched the airing of the airing of the news and the

forecast regarding the storm. I also watched the after math and spoke with victims of the storm,

and thought that maybe there was a possibility that delayed relief was due to the race of the

victims. I had reservations about that information being true because of the amount of percent of

Caucasians that reside in New Orleans also.

Granted, the African American percentage outweighs the Caucasian, they still reside amongst

the majority. So, was Hurricane Katrina a recipe for racial discrimination? I have researched and

found various writings and opinions that support my opinion that it was definitely an opportunity

for discrimination against African Americans. Racial discrimination that very well could have

been underlying in New Orleans long before Hurricane Katrina. I will discuss my opinion on

the subject of racism before and after the storm. This will be supported with sources to justify

my views on the racial discrimination that New Orleans endured.

I would like to discuss the state of Louisiana. Louisiana is the second poorest state in

the United States. Mississippi is the number 1. ( Dyson5 ) This information was already a

problem before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. New Orleans's black population was

67.9% before Hurricane Katrina and the poverty level was extremely high for the residents.

( Dyson5 ) I can honestly say that I have never looked at these factors before the storm.

New Orleans was always the city know for the Mardi Gras Festival. A prime example of the

perspective of an outsider. Not ever have I thought about the people or the substandard

educational system.

The first point that discrimination was found in during Hurricane Katrina is through the

relief efforts. The slow response of aid from FEMA was unimaginable. There were several

warnings from The National Weather Center on the possible devastation. Yet, after the warnings

our national leadership still acted as if no one knew what was to come of New Orleans. This lag

in relief for the poor black Americans in New Orleans could easily be taken as no regard by the

government. The head guy of FEMA told emergency service personnel "not to respond to

hurricane impacted areas unless dispatched by state, local authorities." Why not have every able

and capable person assist in helping? The choosing of who helps and when is a clear message

that the devastation to the black population was not of great importance to those in charge at the


President Bush was blamed mainly for the overall set back of the relief efforts. According

to author Michael Eric Dyson, he proposes that maybe President Bush has little regard for the

blacks in New Orleans because of political reasons. He claims that poor blacks are neither

economically stable or vote rich, they don't matter very much politically.

The second point that discrimination was found during Hurricane Katrina is the lack humanity

shown. When a person is murdered or killed accidentally or for whatever reason declared

deceased, we are known for removing them from the public eye. When I say we, I am referring

to the human race. Humans don't allow the dead to stay among us and procrastinate when it

comes to showing proper respect to the dead. The days following the aftermath of Hurricane

Katrina left victims on roof tops and car tops to survive rising waters. Survivors of the storm

was left to watch their loved ones die before them. Loved ones dying due to lack of needed

medication. They watched family members drowning in the flood waters.( Harden,Walker)

The inhumanity that is at the blame of the government and government agencies is the fact

that the surviving victims had to witness dead bodies flooding amongst them. Dead bodies and

disease infested waters surrounded thousands, as they wait for aid to come. Aid that was very




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