September 15, 2005

Hurricane Katrina and Racism

Heather MacDonald has a great column in City Journal on whether the government's failures in responding to Hurricane Katrina was due to racism:

If the government’s failure to get help instantly to Katrina victims reflects American racism, why have the images of thousands of poor, displaced blacks triggered the greatest outpouring of charity in American history?

As the poisonous racial demagoguery in Katrina’s wake continues unabated, Americans are daily disproving its central claim. ....News outlets and pundits the world over—from the Washington Post to Al Jazeera—have gleefully portrayed the Katrina suffering as the product of what Braun calls “America’s original sin—racism.” Yet for racial sinners, Americans are sure behaving strangely. As of September 11, they had donated at least $788 million to Katrina charities, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy—an unprecedented pace of giving, easily topping the post-9/11 and tsunami giving. “It’s overwhelming,” Sarah Marchetti, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, told the Chronicle. “People are just pouring their hearts out, and making a donation is an expression of that.” The gifts are coming in from every part of the country, from corporations, radio stations, foundations, churches, blogs, and hospitals.

While the race-mongers try to stoke blacks’ suspicion of whites, the public is showing that it regards all Americans, whatever their color or economic situation, as brothers and sisters. That people are giving so feverishly in spite of the competing images of looting by the flood victims and the reports of murder and rape is even stronger proof that racism has lost its grip on the American mind: the givers are refusing the bigot’s reaction of impugning an entire race by the loathsome behavior of a few.

The unstoppable charity towards New Orleans’s largely black survivors is so massive that even the racial demagogues cannot completely ignore it. Braun acknowledges that “the heart of the people has been touched by this tragedy in ways unknown a century ago.” So Braun is forced into an untenable distinction: the government is racist, but the people are not. This is quite a turnaround for the political and cultural elites. They have always looked to the government to protect blacks from the redneck American public’s racism—through the imposition of racial quotas in hiring, contracting, and college admissions, among other endeavors. Now it turns out that the public doesn’t need all that mandated affirmative discrimination: they see blacks as fellow human beings, not as some inferior “Other.” Braun’s tortured distinction between a prejudiced government and a charitable people is, of course, absurd: if the public is color-blind in its compassion, its elected representatives will be, too. She offers no theory for why public officials would have held onto race prejudice while the public discarded it.

The racial victocrats and left-wing agitators won’t change their behavior after the Katrina charity outpouring, but opponents of “benign” racial discrimination will have new weapons against it. When the New York Times and other mouthpieces of the elite media blame racism for segregated housing patterns, one might ask why so many allegedly bigoted Americans volunteered to take welfare mothers and their children into their homes. When the allegedly evil Wal-Mart is accused of exploiting the working class, one might ask why it opened up its warehouses and unleashed its manpower as no other corporation has done to help the homeless. When the lack of black proportional representation in technical professions is chalked up to a cartel of discriminating employers, one might query where all those black-rejecting bigots were hiding, as businesses across the country showered job offers on the black poor. And as the Bush-hating Democrats and other political opportunists call for new government welfare programs to assist the victims of American color hatred, just savor their shameless hypocrisy in simultaneously bashing the government for its racism and calling on its sovereign power to force “racial justice” on the public.

Great column. If the U.S. is really a racist country, then why have Americans donated money, supplies and their time in record levels? If Americans did not really care about what happens to African-Americans, then how can you explain the enormous amounts of charitable donations or why Americans have been tuned into the news networks and other news media 24/7 to get news of the relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina? If our society was really racist, why have African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina been taken into "white" people's homes?
The Democrats, who are the people that are making these accusations, are doing so because they have an agenda. They want to stoke the fears of racism amongst the African-Americans. They tell African-Americans that the Republicans are racists. In exchange for their money or their vote, the Democrats then will promise to work towards eradicating the racism (whether or not they do anything) and defeating the "racist" political opponents at the ballot box.
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