I don't think so! I've listened and read lots for the last couple of weeks. On one program, one of the experts, if there is such a thing, said something like, "Because segregation continues to persist, what we have are large pockets of the disenfranchised grouped together." I agree. We saw it in New Orleans.
Although having been to New Orleans dozens of times over the last 30 years, thinking that over half of the city are African Americans and 30% are below the poverty line never entered my mind. However, the first two days of Katrina, the issue of race and poverty overwhelmed everyone who was glued to the television.
Let's face it, there's always unequal opportunities. In New Orleans, the issue isn't race so much as it is class. In our country, class is something we don't talk about. New Orleans, more than any other crisis I've seen, represents the stark reality that we are a country of the haves and the have-nots. It doesn't take a rocket scientist, even in our great country, to understand that to rise out of poverty takes a Herculean effort; and, under any circumstances and along the way, many simply give up.
I don't think race; however, entered into the equation in New Orleans. With Katrina at best there were miscues; and, at worst, out and out f... ups on how folks in New Orleans were treated. That being said, I still believe that most Americans are reluctant to stare into the face of racial discrimination. It exists; and, in a sense, Katrina reflects at some level, class discrimination.
The poor couldn't leave New Orleans as they didn't have any wheels; and, if they did, they didn't have anywhere to go. Suddenly, we had all these displaced Americans who were mostly black in deplorable circumstances. Our hearts were broken as we saw Americans suffering including little kids with no food and water. We didn't think race. We thought deprivation and horror. And, then, many like myself, felt anger at those who screwed up.
I think this tragedy offers the best opportunity, in a collective way, for America to pull some willing victims out of the cycle of poverty. Let's do it. KT