While watching a late night comedian a statement was made which has resonated with me since then and after critically analyzing this statement I have come up with the idea that the residents of New Orleans are very resilient and courageous and I am very interested in understanding their various sources of motivation through the various adversities which have occurred. The quote “God will not rest until New Orleans is destroyed”. I am still trying to decipher my purpose and the grave underlying reason for me taking part in this trip as well as how I can relate the experiences of the black individuals in New Orleans across the boarders and back home to Canada. I have found some information and quotes which were said directly after hurricane Katrina in 2005. Many of the quotes will highlight the reality of racism within the context of black residents of the area.
“George Bush doesn’t care about Black people” (Kanye West, 2005)
You see a white family in a store and the headline says they are searching for food and you see a black family within the same situation and it is said that they are looting.
Evacuees were herded into an arena whose primary use was to host livestock and cattle shows
Red Cross earns $800 million yet some shelters were without soap or showers
“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” –President Bush, on “Good Morning America,” Sept. 1, 2005, six days after repeated warnings from experts about the scope of damage expected from Hurricane Katrina
“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” –President Bush, to FEMA director Michael Brown, while touring hurricane-ravaged Mississippi, Sept. 2, 2005
“You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals…many of these people, almost all of them that we see are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold.” –CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, on New Orleans’ hurricane evacuees, Sept. 1, 2005
“We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” –Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA) to lobbyists, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal
“There are a lot of lessons we want to learn out of this process in terms of what works. I think we are in fact on our way to getting on top of the whole Katrina exercise.” –Vice President Dick Cheney, Sept. 10, 2005
“FEMA is not going to hesitate at all in this storm. We are not going to sit back and make this a bureaucratic process. We are going to move fast, we are going to move quick, and we are going to do whatever it takes to help disaster victims.” -FEMA Director Michael Brown, Aug. 28, 2005
A study conducted by Brown University suggested that “the storm-damaged areas that had a 75 percent black population, compared to 46 percent black population in undamaged areas of the city. It also found that 29 percent of the households in damaged areas lived below the poverty line, compared with 24 percent of households in undamaged areas.”
The city of New Orleans could lose up to 80 percent of its black population if people displaced by Hurricane Katrina are not able to return to damaged neighborhoods, according to an ongoing university study.
As mentioned above the quotes reveal the biases and the various beliefs as well as statements made by members of parliament and other individuals who had some sort of power in the area, it also showed the very crude manifestations of racism within the city.