September 28, 2005

Ben Stein and the Big Lie of Hurricane Katrina

A great column today by Ben Stein:

The big lie of the Hurricane Katrina story is that it reveals deep and hateful racism in America, that blacks were treated worse than other people because they were black, and that this shows the hypocrisy of this supposedly egalitarian nation.Here's the truth. Many black people were harmed by Katrina because of where they lived relative to the path of the hurricane and the location of their neighborhoods below sea level and their refusal or inability to obey the mandatory evacuation orders for New Orleans. This is not racism. This is a matter of geography, weather patterns, and poverty or confusion. It has nothing to do with purposeful mistreatment of blacks by whites. Poverty and confusion, certainly big factors here, were in no sense caused by white mistreatment of blacks unless it was white mistreatment of blacks that ended many decades ago.

As soon as the rescue effort started -- and although it was tardy, it was just as tardy for whites and Hispanics as it was for blacks -- the main story was whites by the thousands hurrying to New Orleans to rescue blacks from rooftops, from evacuation centers, from hospitals, from old folks' homes. The rescue effort was totally and utterly colorblind. The idea that blacks in New Orleans were left to suffer while whites in Mississippi or Alabama were treated royally is simply fantasy. Whites suffered too, and yes, they were often helped by blacks.

Exactly.
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