Marla R. Stevens

To those in denial that the response was racist:

Filed By Marla R. Stevens | September 13, 2005 1:59 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics

As if leaving people to the ravages of classism was not deadly enough, white America is turning a blind eye to the blatant racism approaching the genocidal in NOLA, claiming that the ineptitude also touched other areas hard hit by Katrina like Mississippi was just across the board without regard to race.

Ah, but the treatment of NOLA was different than that of hard-hit areas in Mississippi. True, both have suffered greatly from FEMA/ShrubCo ineptitude but:

Private aid was not prevented from coming in to Mississippi.

The press was not subjected to repeated attempts to keep them out of affected areas in Mississippi.

People attempting to leave affected areas for help in Mississippi were not prevented from leaving by a phalanx line of warning-shot-firing, gun-pointing-at-people's-heads-swaggering, racist-epithet-hurling, caricature-of-pre-civil-rights Southern sheriffs who subsequently stole what little food and water the attempted escapees had managed to gather.

People weren't held in putrid facilities sans the basic necessities of life at the mercy of violent criminals and prevented from leaving by officials pointing guns at them in Mississippi.

There was no forced diaspora in Mississippi. In New Orleans, care was not taken to keep families, much less neighborhoods intact. People were actively denied information about to where they were being transported, much less given choice about where they were sent. Disregard for maintaining even the togetherness of parents and small children or the elderly in their care was rampant to the point of giving officials the appearance of being slave traders.

There were no calls from officialdom to summarily execute all looters, no questions asked, including those taking mere sustenance, health, and sanitation related goods to save lives in Mississippi.

The racism is so ingrained, so institutionalized, so much a part of white America's collective psyche that we're incapable of its awareness without going through a very painful individual process of self-awareness that most of us don't see the need to do precisely because of our own racism.

It is a solipsism of unacknowledged shame that, sadly, not even something as blatant as the NOLA/Katrina horror seems able to penetrate.

Do your part. Seek out quality antiracism programs. Attend and support them until you bleed and achieve enough awareness that you begin to beg for more lest you have not fully plumbed the depths of your soul.

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AUTHOR: Anonymous

DATE: 9/13/2005 02:49:01 PM

Thank you, Marla.

AUTHOR: Steph Mineart

DATE: 9/13/2005 03:03:25 PM

I'm in shock at how overt the racism is... read this e-mail that someone forwarded to me about the Katrina victims. could not believe what I was reading.


DATE: 9/13/2005 04:46:47 PM

I agree that race was an issue, but please keep in mind that Mississippi has the highest number of African-Americans than any other state in the union.

AUTHOR: Advance Indiana

DATE: 9/13/2005 06:27:53 PM

Marla-with all due respect to your expansive coverage of how Bush is responsible for the entire Katrina debacle, the facts speak otherwise. While certainly the federal government's efforts through FEMA were totally inadequate, one cannot overlook the complete incompetence and disregard displayed by the Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin with whom the responsibility for first response rested under our federal-state system of government. If you cannot see this, then you are simply ignoring the reality of what happened. While Blanco and Nagin failed miserably, I would never suggest that they did so for racial reasons--and yes--that includes Mayor Nagin because some African-Americans don't consider him one of their own believe it or not. Nor would I blame the environmentalists for the disaster who blocked an effort by President Johnson in the 1960s to construct a flood gate across Lake Pontchartrain which, if it had been constructed, would have avoided the flooding catastrophe. People were not intentionally allowed to die simply because they were black. I have many issues with Bush, but no President has placed African-Americans in more prominent positions in his cabinet than has Bush. If he were a racist, he would hardly have chosen Powell and Rice to lead his foreign policy team. It is the height of demagoguery for those who oppose Bush to suggest that race had any role at all in the federal response to the disaster. As bad as the feds performed, its response is far better than its response to Hurricane Andrew under Bush's father in South Florida--yes, those were mostly white people and Cuban-Americans (who vote Republican). Some believe the poor response to that hurricane cost Bush senior the State of Florida in 1992. Let's get real and stop the absurdity.Gary

AUTHOR: Anonymous

DATE: 9/14/2005 11:02:51 AM

Kay said ...The legacy of America’s lingering racism—as well, its many other ‘ism’s’—were definitely exposed in socioeconomic status of hurricane Katrina survivors. It is amazing to me how this very basic fact escapes the thought process of any queer voice attempting to overcome the ‘ism’ that affects them. Kay

AUTHOR: paula

DATE: 9/14/2005 11:09:50 AM

" Bush is responsible for the entire Katrina debacle"A leader would be more concerned with doing whatever it takes to correct the situation quickly than what happens to their reputation. Once someone steps up and takes the heat of the blame, nobody has to focus on who is at fault.It is human nature to try to find sense of a situation like this - and a target for our fury and frustration. Once that target is identified, we can get on with things.By deflecting the target to others- it keeps the fury alive.There have been many times in my job where I take the heat for my department to diffuse the situation. My superiors know that we will get the problem corrected. I take care of the consequences of the actual blame and responsibility AFTER the situation is fixed - and in PRIVATE.Neither of these things can happen when everyone is pointing fingers.Is it all his fault or all anyone's fault for that matter - NO. But the sooner someone accepts the role, the better. Kinda like a football coach being fired because his team's performance.

AUTHOR: Anonymous

DATE: 9/14/2005 02:37:06 PM

Kay said:Add to my above post, Gary, that you are not correct when you stated, "Some believe the poor response to that hurricane cost Bush senior the State of Florida in 1992." Bush senior did not lose the state of Florida in the 1992 presidential election. Kay

AUTHOR: Marla R. Stevens

DATE: 9/14/2005 03:30:26 PM

Gary --The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report Tuesday afternoon asserting that Louisiana governor Katherine Blanco took the necessary and timely steps needed to secure disaster relief from the federal government.The report, which comes after a request by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to review the law and legal accountability relating to Federal action in response to Hurricane Katrina, unequivocally concludes that she did.The report found that:* All necessary conditions for federal relief were met on August 28. Pursuant to Section 502 of the Stafford Act, "[t]he declaration of an emergency by the President makes Federal emergency assistance available," and the President made such a declaration on August 28. The public record indicates that several additional days passed before such assistance was actually made available to the State;* The Governor must make a timely request for such assistance, which meets the requirements of federal law. The report states that "[e]xcept to the extent that an emergency involves primarily Federal interests, both declarations of major disaster and declarations of emergency must be triggered by a request to the President from the Governor of the affected state";* The Governor did indeed make such a request, which was both timely and in compliance with federal law. The report finds that "Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco requested by letter dated August 27, 2005...that the President declare an emergency for the State of Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina for the time period from August 26, 2005 and continuing pursuant to [applicable Federal statute]" and "Governor Blanco's August 27,2005 request for an emergency declaration also included her determination...that 'the incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of disaster."The full report will be available soon on the House Democrats' Judiciary website.In contrast:FEMA won't accept Amtrak's help in evacuations 00000e FEMA turns away experienced firefighters 7048 FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks nationalspec FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel nationalspec FEMA won't let Red Cross deliver food 565143.stm FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid 0826 FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital on board 0509 FEMA to Chicago: Send just one truck 050902dale FEMA turns away generators infinitum, ad nauseum.The appointment of tokens and the rubbing of little black children's heads in photo ops do not an adequate defense against charges of racism make.Just as I trust the collective mass perceptions of LGBT people over hets when questions of potential homophobia and homohatred arise, so do I trust the collective mass perceptions of African Americans (not to mention the rest of the television watching world who can plainly see what there is to see, blinded not by the need not to feel responsible for it) in this case. The absurdity is not mine, Gary.

AUTHOR: Marla R. Stevens

DATE: 9/14/2005 03:40:09 PM

P.S. The people are right not to trust the NOLA mayor. He's a DINO.

AUTHOR: Marla R. Stevens

DATE: 9/15/2005 04:13:10 AM

One more thing: Let us not be distracted by Shrub's highly conditional "apology". He took responsibility for nothing definite, still hoping to be able to spin his way out.