August 31, 2005

The Unmentionable Issue of Race

I haven't seen much of the coverage of the New Orleans situation deal with an obvious but apparently unmentionable issue: race. Race is never far from the surface in NOLA.

First, when the city was evacuated, from the pictures and from what I know of the economics of the place, a disproportionate number of the folks left behind were black. Why the city buses weren't mobilized to move people who didn't have cars out of town I don't know. It would have saved many lives and lots of money. Can't blame a "white" gummint, either--the city gov't in NOLA is largely dominated by black folks, although of a different class and often, hue, than the majority.

Second, the rescue effort and so on seems to be color-blind. One can't praise the Coast Guard and other responders too highly. They show what it means to be a man in the true sense of virtue (vir being Latin for "man").

Third, from the pictures, an overwhelming majority of the looters are black. Maybe that's just because of who's left in town, maybe it's because a "gangsta" ethos is prevalent among too many young people, or maybe it's just the inevitable jacquerie that occurs among the very poor when the gummint's gunslingers aren't around and emotions are high.

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