Katrina and Race
Katrina has sparked a subject that I really do not like discussing. Along with other subjects like religion and politics, they seem to divide people instead of uniting them. I really dislike any kind of subject that ends up making people draw lines in the sand instead of erasing them. I have read many articles that give all kind of opinions in all kinds of subjects related to tragedy that Katrina has become. I recommend that you read this article in its entirety but if you don’t have the time, I will try to highlight here what really touched me about it.
“I hope we realize that the people of New Orleans weren’t just abandoned during the hurricane,” Sen. Barack Obama said last week on the floor of the Senate. “They were abandoned long ago—to murder and mayhem in the streets, to substandard schools, to dilapidated housing, to inadequate health care, to a pervasive sense of hopelessness.”
If you don’t know who Barak Obama is please take note, we might be witnessing the beginning of the political career of the first Black president (even though he is actually mixed). He is a senator from Illinois that is not just smart but also very human in his delivery. I have seen him speak a couple of times and he does amaze me. He has been very eloquent through the Katrina incident and has been able to deliver the message that Kanye West made look like a 3rd graders rant. The article talks about how inequality and poverty are in the raise in our country and how it took this disaster for a lot of people to take another look at images that we only attached to third world countries.
The article also digs deeper into the race subject in an easy to understand way.
Harvard’s Loury argued in a 2002 book, “The Anatomy of Racial Inequality,” that it’s this stereotyping and “racial stigma,” more than overt racism, that helps hold blacks in poverty. Loury explains a destructive cycle of “self-reinforcing stereotypes” at school and work. A white employer, for instance, may make a judgment based on prior experience that the young black men he hires are likely to be absent or late for work. So he supervises them more closely. Resenting the scrutiny, the African-Americans figure that they’re being disrespected for no good reason, so they might as well act out, which in turn reinforces their boss’s stereotype. Everybody goes away angry.
Such problems are often less about race than class, which has become a huge factor within the black community, too. It’s hard for studious young African-Americans to brave the taunts that they’re “acting white.” The only answer to that is a redoubled effort within the black community to respect academic achievement and a commitment by white institutions to use affirmative action not just for middle-class minorities but for the poor it was originally designed to help.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been accused of “acting white” by Black or Hispanic people. I have even been called a sell out because I try to speak proper English and feel like getting dressed in a suit and tie is a good thing. I have experienced racism and I have argued with people before that tell me that it was just a misunderstanding or that it was not a case of racism in one way or another. Michigan, believe it or not has treated me pretty good. The city I live in, Midland has been very kind to me and I have only experienced a few incidents. I have however experienced racism in many levels back in Chicago and you would think that the big city would be a little less racist but it is not the case.
Whether you agree or disagree by what it is said in this article is not the issue. We need to face the reality that we have people suffering in our own back yard. It is sad that we live in a country that is letting so many bad things happen, I hope we can stop playing babysitter to the world and start being a parent to our own country.