Media Outlets are Playing the Race Card in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

September 2nd, 2005 1:58 PM

As depicted in a recent posting by NewsBusters own David Pierre, cable outlets like CNN have started to depict race as a "hindrance of choice" to the rescue efforts that are taking place on a massive scale in New Orleans.  Predictably, old media outlets like the New York Times have followed suit. 

In an article by the Times David Gonzalez, the fault lies not with a category 5 Hurricane, but with white people in general, and President Bush principally.  Gonzalez starts out this way:

"The scenes of floating corpses, scavengers fighting for food and desperate throngs seeking any way out of New Orleans have been tragic enough. But for many African-American leaders, there is a growing outrage that many of those still stuck at the center of this tragedy were people who for generations had been pushed to the margins of society."

The article gets much worse from this point on, with direct charges of racism, while living a life of servitude to others: "The victims...were largely black and poor, those who toiled in the background of the tourist havens, living in tumbledown neighborhoods that were long known to be vulnerable to disaster if the levees failed. Without so much as a car or bus fare to escape ahead of time, they found themselves left behind by a failure to plan for their rescue should the dreaded day ever arrive."

Throughout the entire article, there is not a single reference to local, city, or state responsibility in regards to disaster coordination, and major catastrophe preparedness.  Instead, the "cause" in essence goes something like this, as stated by Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem: "I think a lot of it has to do with race and class. The people affected were largely poor people. Poor, black people." 

Now enter part two of this article, the Federal Response: "Just as in developing countries where the failures of rural development policies become glaringly clear at times of natural disasters like floods or drought, many national leaders said, some of the United States' poorest cities have been left vulnerable by federal policies.

And there you have the "Bush did it" reaction.  Here is what the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose credibility has suffered in recent years, had to say in behalf of the black victims: "Many black people feel that their race, their property conditions and their voting patterns have been a factor in the response," Mr. Jackson said, after meeting with Louisiana officials yesterday. "I'm not saying that myself, but what's self-evident is that you have many poor people without a way out."

There is even a subtext to this article, and that is the economic divisions between blacks and whites throughout the country.  If I were a betting man, I would guess the real intention of stirring up race divisions in the country have nothing to do with the plight of black victims in New Orleans, but everything to do with more social programs and a attempt at wealth redistribution to elevate poor blacks, as stated by Mark Naison, a white professor of African-American Studies at Fordham University in the Bronx:

"Is this what the pioneers of the civil rights movement fought to achieve, a society where many black people are as trapped and isolated by their poverty as they were by segregation laws?  If Sept. 11 showed the power of a nation united in response to a devastating attack, Hurricane Katrina reveals the fault lines of a region and a nation, rent by profound social divisions."

Maybe the most offensive item is this entire article is found midway through the story.  Black leaders, who often talk at great length of how we are all one people, together for better or worse, more times than not segregate themselves and their race by seeking separate laws, like for hate crimes, and separate back-door policies, like affirmative action.

It seems that in death--by a force of nature that knows no color like Hurricane Katrina--they seek this "equal yet separate" doctrine as well:

Writes Gonzalez:  "The subject is roiling black-oriented Web sites and message boards, and many black officials say it is a prime subject of conversation around the country. Some African-Americans have described the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina as "our tsunami," while noting that there has yet to be a response equal to that which followed the Asian tragedy."

"Our tsunami"?  This is the height of victimology and prejudice, as if this devastation visited only black men, women and children 

The article is so rife with negative racial and social undertones that it is just too much to list.

What must the world think as our media organizations play this up in hopes of disfiguring Bush, the predominant white segment of society, and capitalism in general?  Sadly, the devastation from Katrina may just be beginning.