Smarmy Alligator

Politics, pop culture, and self-deprecation

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“Attitudes toward Bush and the government’s overall response to Hurricane Katrina fracture along clear racial lines. Nearly three in four whites doubted the federal government would have responded more quickly to those trapped in New Orleans if they had been wealthier and white rather than poorer and black, the poll found. But an equal share of blacks disagreed, saying help would have come sooner if the victims had been more affluent whites.

More than six in 10 blacks — 63 percent — said the problems with the hurricane relief effort are an indication of continuing racial inequity in this country, a view rejected by more than seven in 10 whites, according to the poll.”

The problem is that they’re not asking the right questions. It’s not that FEMA, or Bush, decided not to go in and begin rescue operations earlier because the majority of those trapped were black and poor. The problem is that the majority of those trapped were black and poor. Racism in America is rarely anymore a conscious decision on the part of an individual, or even an institution. It’s revealed in the structural inequalities that are the foundation of our economic system.

To say that help would have come sooner if the victims had been more affluent whites to miss the point that the victims won’t be more affluent whites. Not in a situation like this.

(And as an aside, which I perhaps don’t really want to get into, but I think it’s interesting that we’re more willing, generally as Americans, to point the finger toward perceived racism than classism. I think Bush hates poor people more than he hates black people, and poverty is something we’re never comfortable or willing to really address, legislatively or socially. But the race/class relationship is something for another time, maybe.)

Bush’s Approval Rating Drops To New Low in Wake of Storm (WP)

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Written by laura k

September 13, 2005 at 8:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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