Friday, August 21, 2015

Was Katrina Racist?

New Yorker has a piece by Malcolm Gladwell on New Orleans after Katrina, more specifically some of the research on those who left the Big Easy for good.

A paragraph:
"By a combination of geography, history, and meteorology, Katrina disproportionately hit black New Orleans. These were the people whose homes were flooded, who camped out in the Superdome, who were evacuated to Baton Rouge or Lafayette or Houston—many of whom have never returned. The Lower Ninth had twenty thousand people before Katrina. Five years afterward, there were six thousand. In Mid-City, there are still abandoned houses and empty lots. Many of these people may have wanted to come back right after the storm. But the public schools were shut down, the city’s main public hospital was a wreck, and the city’s public-housing projects were shuttered."
 There's much in the article and the events it describes, and I may blog on other aspects. But in answer to my question in the title: no, I don't think Katrina was racist, even though its adverse impact on blacks was disproportionate.  It makes an interesting case study: IMHO calling Katrina "racist" is nonsensical--it was the history of New Orleans and the society which was racist, not the storm. 

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