Monday, September 12, 2005

Some Thoughts on Racism, Poverty and Katrina

"More than six in 10 blacks -- 63 percent -- said the problems with the hurricane relief effort are an indication of continuing racial inequity in this country, a view rejected by more than seven in 10 whites, according to the poll."-MSNBC, September 12, 2005

"Hurricane Katrina has thrust the twin issues of race and poverty at President Bush, who faces steep challenges in dealing with both because of a domestic agenda that envisions deep cuts in long-standing anti-poverty programs and relationships with many black leaders frayed by years of mutual suspicion."-Michael A. Fletcher, September 12, 2005

"A lot of people didn't get out because they didn't have a car. This is more a problem of poverty, rather than race."-former Sen. Dan Breaux, D-LA

[Indiana Politico: Can you separate the issues of poverty and race?]

In 2003, among people who reported a single race, the poverty rate for non-Hispanic whites was 8.2 percent...People who reported black as their only race, for example, had a poverty rate of 24.4 percent in 2003...Among Hispanics, the poverty rate remained unchanged, at 22.5 percent."-U.S. Census Bureau, August 24, 2004

"Who are the poor? With whites making up 72 percent of the population, the United States contains more poor whites than poor blacks or Hispanics. In fact, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that the increase in white poverty in nonurban areas accounts for most of the recent uptick in the poverty rate. But only a little more than 8 percent of American whites are poor, compared with 22 percent of Hispanics and nearly a quarter of all African-Americans (in a country that is 12 percent black)."-Jonathan Alter, "The Other America, September 19, 2005

"I hope we realize that the people of New Orleans weren't just abandoned during the hurricane. They were abandoned long ago—to murder and mayhem in the streets, to substandard schools, to dilapidated housing, to inadequate health care, to a pervasive sense of hopelessness...

What must be said is that whoever was in charge of planning and preparing for the worst case scenario appeared to assume that every American has the capacity to load up their family in an SUV, fill it up with $100 worth of gasoline, stick some bottled water in the trunk, and use a credit card to check in to a hotel on safe ground. I see no evidence of active malice, but I see a continuation of passive indifference on the part of our government towards the least of these." -Barack Obama, last week

And the Heartless Editorialist Award goes to George F. Will, who finds a way to blame the race-class divide on sexually active women. He writes of three "not-at-all recondite rules for avoiding poverty: Graduate from high school, don't have a baby until you are married, don't marry while you are a teenager. Among people who obey those rules, poverty is minimal...

"Given that most African Americans are middle class and almost half live outside central cities, and that 76 percent of all births to Louisiana African Americans were to unmarried women, it is a safe surmise that more than 80 percent of African American births in inner-city New Orleans -- as in some other inner cities -- were to women without husbands. That translates into a large and constantly renewed cohort of lightly parented adolescent males, and that translates into chaos in neighborhoods and schools, come rain or come shine."
-Washington Post, September 13, 2005

[...So the fate of the people of New Orleans was not the result of a natural disaster, nor the result of racial or class divides. It was the result of single motherhood. If only those tarts had kept their legs shut...]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poverty-let me explain it to you from a hard-working, tax-paying, responsible, unmarried, WHITE womans perspective. L-A-Z-Y!! I read about how the poor-poor black population are sadly living in poverty because they just have it so rough and there is nothing they can do about it. BOO-HOO!! First of all, the government should just do away with all welfare. So, maybe blacks would think about how they are going to have to pay for all of their 5+ kids they have. I mean, why is it that they have to have so many kids? Hmm-THE WELFARE MONEY!! The answer is simple-NO MORE FREE HANDOUTS! Secondly-they don't have to go out and get jobs-they make such a wonderful living by stealing everything they will ever have! Within hours after a major tragedy-they are looting every store they possibly could. Their defense-WE NEED HELP! They weren't stealing food and water, they were stealing VCR'S and guns! No wonder the government wasn't busting their butts to get them out of there. Make them suffer for awhile! Make them have to care of themselves! Because white people have been doing it for centurys-and you NEVER hear us complain! We have to sit in the corner with our mouths shut, because, god forbid that we offend a black person. WHAY-WHAY!!

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Non Partisan said...

If this is such a racial issue, why then are the relief centers manned primarily by white individuals? Why are so many helping others of different "ethnic" backgrounds?

My father taught me to "work hard and make the boss proud of you". Hard work, and a modest living is something to be very proud of.

The Hispanics in my community are some of the hardest working people I have known. Why do they work hard and not cry for help?

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe we all have a choice. Get off our buts and make a living or lay around and cry. I am a single white woman with 2 children that I have pretty much raised on my own for 18 years. It has been hard but I have made it work without anyones help. I was involved in a car accident several years ago and I went to HRS to get help but they would not help me because I was buying my home instead of renting (I feel I was being discriminated against because I was white)I could have given up my home and moved my children and myself into government housing and lived fine with hard working people paying my way. Instead I have pride and I pulled myself up and I made it work. I am not rich but I take care of myself and my two children and I am proud...There wouldnt be so much poverty out there if people would work instead of standing with there hand out and whinning that somebody owes them something due to the color of their skin. I have never owned a slave nor did anyone in my family that I know of so why should I owe someone something due to something that happend way before my time.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHITE womans perspective, in your desription of yourself you left out two very obvious details. IGNORANT and UNEDUCATED!

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not white. I moved to america two years ago from kenya. I consider myself a very hardworking person. i met a lot of fellow africans who inspite of all the restrictions that are placed on immigrants are doing pretty well for themselves. one of my sister's friend who came here almost 5 years ago already owns his own place. our policy is to go to school and get that degree coz it can take you quite far. i havent gotten mine yet but i am in the process. inspite of all the restrictions i refuse to be stuck living on welfare and raising my son in the ghetto. i may be pregnant (and married) but i will not let anything stop me from reaching my full potential.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't beleive we are still having this racial discussion...
One of the first things that was said was the reason that New Orleans had not gotten help sooner was because of the color of there skin, well I saw several different colors there, I think the reason is that the goverment federal,state and local DID NOT HAVE IT TOGETHER, I really do not believe that all these people were saying "Oh well there all black lets not rush down there just yet." I think they all had a right to be upset and crying and if it happened to your town and to you you would be upset too. The goverment federal, state and local LET THEM DOWN!!! and not because of there skin color. The People of New Orleans did prove to all I hope, They all were helping each other, regardless of the color of the skin. These are my opinions and as an American thats is all our right to voice our opinions. The fact of the matter is there was no excuse for leaving anyone in that shape for so long. There should have been help on standy ready to rescue THE SAME DAY. Lets not look for a reason to look at as a racial thing there was and ia one race in New Orleans and America THE HUMAN RACE!!!!!!

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe that welfare should be done away with, instead it should be revamped so that it does what it was suppose to do: help people temporarily until they could live without the help. That means job training, child care expenses, etc. I either live in poverty or right above it. I have a college education and waited until after college to get married and have kids. After my daughter was born, my husband lost his job... it finally got a job after 2 years (he tried to start a business in between). We barely make it and my husband makes $10/hour (in FL). I couldn't imagine what it would be like if he only made minimum wage.

2:14 PM  
Blogger C.Loon said...

Obama needs to help minorities, not bury them deeper in dependency!
His bellyaching is more of the same "entitlement" rhetoric that has lead our country's poor down the road to deeper and deeper dependency which has proven to render these folks helpless when faced with serious problems.

We must stop throwing money at the problem of poverty. It doesn't work and never has.
Education is the key to an individuals survival.
EDUCATION my friends, not free handouts!!!

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all... Johnathen Alter wrote that, "Clinton initiatives and the boom of the 1990s pulled 4.1 million of the working poor out of poverty." Why do you continue to try to give credit to him for the economy??? A president has such little affect on an economy it's almost unmeasurable. Bill Gates was the person you meant to thank for Clinton's wonderful years... not Bill Clinton.
Secondly John, you mentioned how racist it was for people to be lining up at gun stores??? Well...what would you be doing to protect your family when you hear that the first product ENTIRELY looted from Walmart was...all the guns and ammunition? What? We're just supposed to give them the benefit of the doubt even though they just stole guns and ammo? You must be one of those people who thought we should negotiate with those Iraq Terrorists who are cutting off heads. Hey... you first buddy.
Thirdly, The estate tax...ah yes...the estate tax. So, when a family is living on Welfare for 3 or 4 generations straight, yet they are having 5-12 children...then...we should help them. But...when a man goes out and makes a couple million by working hard...we should handicap his kids by taking half of it when he dies??? feel that those who work hard...should support those who don't? That man just went out and earned his families welfare, and they should have the right to live on every f'ing penny of it as long as they live. You worded it as if...they were shorting the government by allowing those people to keep their money from being TAXED ONE MORE TIME. They were taxed all their you think YOU and your sad people should take half of this person's estate (an estate that was taxed from the very beginning) so that you can give more to the welfare recepients who are having 5-12 children and working at Burger King??? Why? When is enough enough? Why have all the other cultures figured it out and gone out and worked hard? Where is the Hispanic Jesse Jackson who tells his people it's OK to put your hand out and blame someone else for why you've been on Welfare your entire life? No where.
Man... John Alter is part of the DISEASE of why this country can't get any better. He's part of the excuse for the weight that holds us down as a country.
Hey... I bet John got great grades in College. You know what that college should have done... they should have lowered his GPA...and given one grade point to one of the other students...maybe a black one...who was off partying...not studying as hard... so that they could be more equal. I mean...I know John probably worked hard for those grades...but hey... gotta keep things equal no matter what. Maybe after he was done with his PHD...they should have split that up too...dropped him down to a masters degree...and given some black individual who couldn't even get a bachelors...a masters. Gotta keep it equal my man.
People who talk like John Alter only make race relations MORE DIFFICULT in this country.
There are TONS of hard working black people who are doing incredible. You know what they call them? Uncle Toms. What? You mean if you work hard...then your culture looks down upon you? How ridiculous is that?
I'm done. Everyone in America knows what this problem is. They're all just too afraid to say it for fear of being called a racist.
It's not about race. Black people aren't less able than anyone else. It's that the leaders in their community have offered them the option to use excuses. Where other community or race does that. They aren't held accountable by their own leaders.
And that's the truth.
Just go ask Bill Cosby what it's like to try to stick his neck out and motivate his people by hitting them with the cold hard truth. He got no support from Jesse, Al Sharpton, or the NAACP. Matter of fact, they'd rather he just shut up.
If racism was healed tomorrow, Jesse and Al would be out of a job. So it's in their best interest to keep their people dependent on what comes out of their mouths.
It's sad really.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To ANONYMOUS "Not White". Congratulations on all you have accomplished and will accomplish. And congrats on not falling under the spell of "America owes me". You are going to be another part of the beauty of the American Dream. Don't ever let anyone get in your way. I wish you the very best and you are in my prayers.


To the ANONYMOUS person who wrote that the white woman was "uneducated and ignorant". I realize that you are an "appeaser"...and I would suggest maybe...with your philosophy on how things should would be best suited going over and negotiating with the Iraq Terrorists. Please tell them I'd like a copy of the video that you'll be on.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

would seem like some people have their heads stuck in the sand (as well as in another part of their anatomy)when it comes to identifying the causes of and location of poverty. unfortunatly, it took a disaster to get people to take a closer look at New Orleans. there is an entire third world population living in the midst of the richest countries of the world. claiming that african-americans who are poor are alzy is quite a statment. guess all those white folks i've seen in my travels that live in substandard housing,in ghetos,etc must also be lazy. the native-americans that have to live in clapboard shacks without plumbing or proper schools on their reserves must be just plain lazy also. then there is the fact (unfortunatly very true) that some people with the authority to hire or not hire an individual,allow their personal bias to interfere with the selection prosess. mind you it is usually done in a very polite manner...."thank you for applying to us. we have already filled the position. unfortunatly, it would seem that our H.R. department neglected to withdraw the ad seeking someone for the position."
do i know about this? the answer is yes. some friends of mine and myself tried a little experiment, we all applied for the same position at a few differant companies. turned out that in 60% of the companies, if your "tan" was a little to good, you were told exactly what i stated above. so much for being lazy and not wanting to work. now try facing this type of attitude evry time you apply for a job that pays more than minimum wage. chances are you would become discouraged enough yourself to give up. for those that were fortunate enough to get an interview with someone that is color blind, congratulations. instead of blaming somone's skin color or race for them being poor, lets all get together to erase this type of ignorance. lets get together to insure that all children can attain a proper education thereby allowing them to get further in life than their parents did. let us get together to insure that every child has enough to eat. the best yet would be able to come together as one to eradicate narcotics and the issues that lead to their uses. to eradicate gangs, which by the way affect and recruit people of all colors,sex and race. to let our little ignorant prejiduces evaporate (this is a phenominum that i have encountered amongst people of all races) so that we can work togwther as one race of people.... the human race. then we can do the world and ourselves justice.

3:11 PM  
Blogger pentiny said...

I feel it is pathetic to try to turn a catastrophe such as Hurricane Katrina into a racial issue. It was said that the people that stayed in New Orleans live check to check and if one of their children get sick or they got sick they would be in trouble. Well, Look around the world. It's like that for alot of people but we still get up and go to work everyday and pay for the rest of the people in New Orleans and everywhere else in this country that walk to the mailbox and pick up a check every month. Race has nothing to do with this. Laziness and lack of ambition is what is going on all over this country. We need some serious welfare reform. Not people trying to yell racism

3:13 PM  
Blogger Jezebella said...

Wow. Thanks for all the feedback. A few brief thoughts:

1. Congratulations to the single moms that replied. You worked your butt off and made things happen for yourselves. Which is why I get angry when you are blamed for society's woes.

2. Poor and lazy are not the same thing. Trust fund kids who live off inheritance can be just as lazy as welfare recipients who live off the government. You will find hard workers in factories and in law firms, in public schools and in universities, on road crews and on the board of trustees.

3. I believe it is a severe stereotype to say that all black Americans have 5-12 children. Period.

4. "But...when a man goes out and makes a couple million by working hard...we should handicap his kids by taking half of it when he dies??? "

If I received $1 million in inheritance for doing nothing, I would not consider myself "handicapped." In fact, I might become quite a bit lazier.

5. Ready...set...ARGUE!

5:29 PM  

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