Katrina Plus Five

In Today’s Outrage, Michael Fletcher writes in the Washington Post that the state governments in Louisiana and Mississippi structured their Katrina recovery programs in ways that favored the more affluent.

I started to title this post More News That Isn’t News, especially since the states have been especially stingy to people who lost homes in predominately African American neighborhoods. This month a federal judge ruled that Louisiana’s formula for distributing recovery funds discriminated against African Americans, so the state is begrudgingly preparing to cough out a few more dollars for low-income residents.

Some things never seem to change, do they?

3 thoughts on “Katrina Plus Five

  1. It would be nice for someone to start a blog that carried good news about what governments are doing to help the poor, the middle, the young and old. But then, we’d never hear from that person again, now would we?

  2. I wish this were surprising. I saw Spike Lee’s latest on HBO this week. He is about six to fifth hours short of time to really tell what is going on. Anybody who looks at the US Senate and Haley Barbour’s words can tell how this is set up.

    If you work with the poor or the “lower class” with your eyes open, you begin to see how the system perpetuates itself. It took me a while to wake up, because the acceptance of my personal perceptions as representing the broader-based reality was hard to knock through. White privilege alone is blinding and self-mutilating. The “blame the victim” mentality just adds to it.

    Today NPR had a report on two post-Katrina murder victims. It was interesting, but it had zero on what makes the violent substrate persist. Nobody wants to talk about that.

  3. I worked with programs for people with disabilities for many years. Many of the participants in those programs had disabilities that resulted from traumatic injuries. The circumstances varied. Some were the victims of crimes, some combat veterans, some had clearly been reckless and some just had a stroke of bad luck. For nearly all, life became a train wreck for a long time and there was the secondary result of impoverishment. Suddenly they were on the social and economic periphery of society and getting back inside was very difficult to say the least.

    These experiences make me value the previous comment by Bill Bush. The system is convoluted and self-perpetuating and some of the forces involved are difficult, if not impossible to remedy. But, the alternative of doing nothing was virtually impossible for me, and it a better world, it would be unthinkable.

    Idle speculation advisory!!:

    There is a phenomenon called “correlation bias”. It is the tendency for people to attribute the misfortunes of others to some flaw in their character or person. This starts the ball rolling in “blaming the victim”. If a system, such as ours has been good to us, our personal experience and comfort tend to validate that system. this seems often to translate into an ideological bond with the system. The more our belief is challenged, the harder we pursue the supportive “logic”.

    The poor, those who “fall through the cracks” are the living proof that our assumptions are false and need to be revised. Most people are not capable of this sort of revision. Therefore, it is easier and far less threatening to assume that an ideological belief is valid and those who seem not to benefit from its virtues have only themselves to blame. Their existence often provokes anger because it challenges the stability of the belief system.

    I was fortunate to have a penpal when Katrina occured. He is a professor of economics at a large university in France. (We no longer write partially due to the language barrier and partially due to an intelligence and education “gap”.) He was simply aghast at the way Katrina was handled. I think he expressed the shock that was felt around the world when the victims of Katrina were abandonned, villified and “left to die like dogs”. Blackwater and other security personel were dispatched to protect property rather than save lives. It was a clear example of where our anti-government, pro-property revolution had led us, and it was an ugly sight.

    It is difficult to find an example of an ethical rule, which must not be violated, under certain circumstances, due to moral imperative. “Thou shalt not steal” is a prime example of one that must be thrown aside when lives are in the bargain.

    “The love of money is…”

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