Racism, Poverty and Katrina
From the New York Times: From Margins of Society to Center of the Tragedy
"Is this what the pioneers of the civil rights movement fought to achieve, a society where many black people are as trapped and isolated by their poverty as they were by segregation laws?" Mr. Naison wrote. "If Sept. 11 showed the power of a nation united in response to a devastating attack, Hurricane Katrina reveals the fault lines of a region and a nation, rent by profound social divisions."
As I watched the first scenes of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina - of people being rescued from rooftops - tears quickly came to my eyes - they still do. But not just because of the horror of it, but because I noticed instantly that most of the people left behind were poor, black, and/or elderly. The hurricane only reminded me that poverty and racism still run deep in our society.
When I give presentations about hunger I ask participants why people are hungry. People usually come up with a good list, but the one that is almost always missing is what I call the "ism's" - racism, sexism, classism, and ageism. After I talk about the isms, I'm usually met with uncomfortable silence. I am so tired of this country ignoring these deep, deep injustices - injustices that only foster more injustice like poverty. It is my hope that as we all do our part to help with the rebuilding, clean up, and healing from Katrina's destruction, that we also begin to rebuild a society that addresses and confronts evils like racism.
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