Really? In Today’s World?

After reading Un-Habitat’s New Orleans: Poor Residents Suffer Deepest Impact of Hurricane Katrina, I realized that the natural disaster in New Orleans was about more than I ever thought.  At first glance, this article is about hurricane Katrina and the devastation she caused to the city of New Orleans, but it really is about the people who were affected and how the government is failing to serve them. It is easy to think that in the twenty-first century racism and segregation do not exist, yet this is not the case. We are taught in history class that segregation ended in the 1950’s, and we learn all about Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech that called for action. The current status of segregation is rarely mentioned. In New Orleans, the lowest parts of the city were where the minorities lived, because housing was cheaper, and when the hurricane hit, they were stuck because they did not have the resources to leave the area. The natural disaster in the United States was compared to the war-torn country of Somalia, mainly because the resources to stay safe were not available. There is a huge gap between the poverty stricken and minorities (which are often the same group) and the middle to wealthy class, who are usually white. There needs to be some sort of change. No matter how much money or societal status a person has, they should all be given the same access to basic living standards. I can’t even imagine being one of the 28% of people in New Orleans living in poverty, and hearing that Katrina was coming, yet not being able to do anything about it. I don’t understand how there can be such a huge gap in basic needs. I think being aware of the great differences will instill a passion for people to want to make a change.  Together, let’s try to take a stand and shorten the gap between social and economic classes. 

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One Response to Really? In Today’s World?

  1. slunatic says:

    Your point that the devastation of Hurricane Katrina was due in part to the massive divide between the poverty-stricken and the middle to wealthy class made the wheels start to turn in my head. This makes one wonder what the outcome of Katrina, which took over 1400 lives in New Orleans, would have been had more of the poor been able to evacuate the area. Of course, the environmental and industrial damage would still be present, yet I’m sure the impact the storm had on New Orleans and the United States as a whole would have been much less had there been fewer people left behind in the sub-sea level city.

    Your launch made me do further research on the subject, and I happened upon this video:

    One part that stuck out to me is a section from a speech that former President George Bush gave in the city of New Orleans in which he says: “There is some deep, persistent poverty in this region, as well. That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunities of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action.” It is clear that this notion of the divide between the rich and the poor you brought up in your post is one of the main causes of the devastation of Katrina.

    And this makes me wonder, what can I, a busy college student, do to “confront this poverty” as the President offers? Does it begin with the constant opposition of racism and segregation, as it seems we have established to be the roots of poverty? Or does it come through political legislation as you suggest to provide “the same access to basic living standards?”

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