home

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?

In an e-mail Gaiter writes:

Roots in New Orleans, I want to cut past the pussyfooting and sentimentality currently surrounding that city. Its racist past is its present. I'm also amazed that we have been so cowed by the right that we still tiptoe around the huge heap of dung in the national living room called race. Call it the return of black rage.

Digby has a long and important post on the race issue, American history and Katrina.

It's staring us in the face. We shouldn't let our officials get away with turnign a blind eye.

< Gov't. To Give Katrina Victims $2k Debit Cards | MN Hunter Chai Vang's Trial About to Begin >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft


  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    More important than the color of their skin, the contents of their billfold. That is the main reason they were abandoned by their elected officials...money talks. Upper class blacks had no problems escaping, lower class whites did. It's a class thing.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    I agree that race and poverty were the real issues. Bush knew that they didn't vote for him in 2004. He kicked his administration in gear for Hurricane Ivan, because that affected his election (i.e. Florida). However, now that it's not important to him, he doesn't feel the need to save the people that didn't vote for him anyway. It's pathetic!

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    does anyone on the left realize that attempting to play the race card for political gains hurts blacks more than the intended Republican targets. we had Randall Robinson indicating blacks were consuming corpses within three days of the hurricane. is his opinion or expectations regarding the conduct of african americans that low? what about yours?

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#4)
    by wishful on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    kdog, of course you are right, but your statement is not complete. That the face of poverty is overwhelmingly black is no accident, even though more whites are continuously being added to the roles. That the current US rulers have viscious contempt for the poor is an open secret. That the regime wants to increase their numbers by sending them from the middle class is consistent with their contempt. The poor are needed as a group, but any individual poor person is easily replaced by another one, so the supply needs a big enough backlog. They forget, however, that we can think and organize, despite their efforts to the contrary. Frankly, the only thing that NOLA has changed is that it brought the continuing and powerful underground racism and classism out from under its slimey republican rock. They cry "class warfare" as if it doesn't exist unless we mention it. I can't see why we want to deny that it is class warfare. It IS, and they are winning. We all need to take long looks at the NOLA photos if we don't believe it.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    And before the wingnuts jump in here with their New Orleans flooded busses photos...the same exact non-evacuation happened in Mississippi.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    Billie Holiday knew the truth back when... Them thatís got shall get Them thatís not shall lose So the Bible said and it still is news Mama may have, papa may have But God bless the child thatís got his own Thatís got his own Yes, the strong gets more While the weak ones fade Empty pockets donít ever make the grade Mama may have, papa may have But God bless the child thatís got his own Thatís got his own Money, youíve got lots of friends Crowding round the door When youíre gone, spending ends They donít come no more Rich relations give Crust of bread and such You can help yourself But donít take too much Mama may have, papa may have But God bless the child thatís got his own Thatís got his own. I doubt she imagined it as official federal policy, however.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#7)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    Well, since most every home and building in the city will have to be rebuilt, there will be no shortage of local jobs. I wonder if the looters who stole electronics were smart enough to steal hammers, saws and framing squares as well.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#8)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    You mean the Randall Robinson that wrote this? It is reported that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive. Four days after the storm, thousands of blacks in New Orleans are dying like dogs. No-one has come to help them. I am a sixty-four year old African-American. New Orleans marks the end of the America I strove for. I am hopeless. I am sad. I am angry against my country for doing nothing when it mattered. This is what we have come to. This defining watershed moment in Americaís racial history. For all the world to witness. For those whoíve been caused to listen for a lifetime to Americaís ceaseless hollow bleats about democracy. For Christians, Jews and Muslims at home and abroad. For rich and poor. For African-American soldiers fighting in Iraq. For African-Americans inside the halls of officialdom and out. My hand shakes with anger as I write. I, the formerly un-jaundiced human rights advocate, have finally come to see my country for what it really is. A monstrous fraud. But what can I do but write about how I feel. How millions, black like me, must feel at this, the lowest moment in my countryís story. It sounds to me like Robinson's head is screwed on properly so the problem must be inside yours, Charley.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    yes, screwed on straight except for the corpse eating part. does that roll past you or is it your expectation that your average black person would sink so low after three days? Randall Robinson gave up on the country and his fellow african-americans a long time ago to make such a statement. To grant it credence, I expect you have as well.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#10)
    by aahpat on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    It didn't help having the Associated Press spreading unsubstantiated fear mongering rumors that served only to demonize the victims. Associated Press; fear and rumor monger Katrina stories

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#11)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    the race card from rethugs!? unthinkable ... unless you go Time's blog of the year:
    J Debyshire at Nat'l Review online Under the circumstances, to say, as Steve Sailer does, that African Americans "tend to possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups," and "need stricter moral guidance from society" does not seem to me very outrageous.


    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#12)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    Mr Bill, good Holiday song; Strange Fruit might be closer to this situation. Katrina bares racial gulf; experts see little change
    The gaping racial divide in the United States was laid bare by Hurricane Katrina, but many social policy experts say the disaster is unlikely to prompt any sustained effort to combat black urban poverty.

    In the chaotic aftermath of the hurricane that destroyed New Orleans it became obvious that the overwhelming majority of people trapped in the drowned city, waiting desperately for help or succumbing to the storm, were poor blacks.


    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    Posted by charley: "is it your expectation that your average black person would sink so low after three days?" Not what he said, but that's par for the 'change the topic' strategy of you lot. The mere IDEA that a victim of an enormous tragedy might be a touch hysterical at such reports? Outrageous. Why can't the nigrahs be more like Bush's mother, who opined that "this is working out very well for them." Nevermind their dead family members -- they're getting ELECTRONICS! What is funny is that the WHITE white-supremacists actually listen to their posted thoughts, and see nothing wrong with them.
    "[Pelosi] had urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Michael Brown. "He said: 'Why would I do that?'" Pelosi said. "'I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'"
    Racist mission accomplished.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#14)
    by Paralegal on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    Posted by charley at September 7, 2005 12:28 PM
    does that roll past you or is it your expectation that your average black person would sink so low after three days
    I don't understand what you are trying to say. I didn't pick up that that writer had given up on Blacks. The claim about cannibalism was retracted by the writer but historically,there have been stories of survivors of all backgrounds becoming cannibals when faced with survival or death. Cannibalism, my friend, ain't a Black thing... If you'd read The Debt by by Randall Robinson, you'd know, he isn't the type to give up, not on "his" people. Maybe you were reading an article by Ward Connerly...

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    a man who thinks so little of his fellow man that he has them consuming corpses after 2-3 days. If that is who you claim as a hero, god help you. ignorance, my friend, is what RR is preaching. ignorance, my friend, is what you are accepting.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#16)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    Robinson's little commentary seemed well thought-out, articulate, and poignant.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    charley, work on your aim. RR said "it is reported that"... He didn't advance the idea. It appears he was dismissing a meme put forth by others. I for one, see nothing wrong with someone debunking something clearly in error. Perhaps you have a unique understanding of the English Language the rest of us lack though.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    sorry, your interpretation of the language leaves much to be desired. what possible reason would one have to include such garbage in a diatribe? further, it appears the only place it was reported was in the writer's warped imagination. You tell me, o scholarly one, if the good Reverend Falwell or Robertson had offered such trash while decrying the downfall of a city based on sin, would you be so forgiving. Mr. Robinson is warped as are those playing the card for political gain.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#19)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    Posted by charley: "a man who thinks so little of his fellow man that he has them consuming corpses after 2-3 days." You lot are 'consuming corpses' throughout Iraq TODAY. You are gnawing on the bodies of innocent women, children, and elderly in Louisiana and Alabama TODAY. The man was IN SHOCK. But you don't give a damn about why he might be. Your job is to put oil on the water for your boy Bush. You don't give a Flying F*k about the victims of Bush's negligence.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#20)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    Why Charley, one would get the impression that not only are you a newtroll, but a racist to boot.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#21)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    and with that well reasoned analysis of domestic and international policy, I bid the inmates of this asylum goodnight.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#22)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM EST
    With that sufficiently argued REJECTION of your attempt to paint a hurricane victim with your shrinking LIES, you had best recede from the spotlight on your racism. Must defend the Leader! Must defend the Leader! Gentlemen, we have had a Class 5 Political incident. Charley, you go to Talkleft, and don't forget to call for an investigation of the cannibalism rumors. Because it must not be said that GW diddled and fiddled while Americans died from his negligence.

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#23)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:28 PM EST
    More like strummed and drummed PIL, wouldn't you say?

    Re: Katrina and the Race Card (none / 0) (#24)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:28 PM EST
    Depends on whether it was "His Scotty," or Jeff Guckert, in His attendence at Chickenhawk Ranch. Let's just say that it wasn't only poor Mrs. Sheehan who was 'standing in a ditch.'