Katrina and the Race Card
Race is one issue that will not go away when examining the New Orleans devastation. Writer Leonce Gaiter, who authored the book Bourbon Street, addresses it today in Katrina's Deck is Full of Race Cards.
The first days were the most telling. Nobody mentioned it. Tens of thousands of people trapped in increasingly filthy conditions—free-flowing feces, dead bodies lying about, grounds soaked in urine—yet nobody mentioned that they were all black. It was obvious to anyone with eyes. The images made you squirm and cringe—hordes of black faces pleading for help—life, food, water—in a major American city. Yet nobody mentioned it. What were they afraid of? Were they scared that the right-wingers would accuse them of playing the race card? Accuse them of suggesting that America had not achieved the colorblind state of utopian bliss that they insist it has; that white people and the American society over which they hold sway are not as perfectly just as they claim?
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