Saturday, September 17, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

Reaction to George W. Bush's Speech from New Orleans: The Race Issue

......"As all of us saw on television, there's also 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 opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. So let us restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us rise above the legacy of inequality. When the streets are rebuilt, there should be many new businesses, including minority-owned businesses, along those streets. When the houses are rebuilt, more families should own, not rent, those houses. When the regional economy revives, local people should be prepared for the jobs being created."

He also mentioned the race and poverty issue during the prayer service held on 9/16/05.

“As we clear away the debris of a hurricane, let us also clear away the legacy of inequality,” the president said. “Let us deliver new hope to communities that were suffering before the storm. And one day, Americans will look back at the response to Hurricane Katrina and say that our country grew not only in prosperity, but in character and justice."

Surprise, surprise George Bush has discovered racism as he mentions it above in his speech from New Orleans 9/15/05.
Better late than never I suppose but the motivation is pure politics I am sure. Whoever wrote the speech at least has some knowledge of the relationship between race, class and poverty. I think it is revealing that Bush only seems to want to deal with the effects of race and class in the Gulf Region. How about the rest of the country or does he think poverty that stems from inequality in treatment of the races is limited to the Gulf region? Perhaps, the focus on the poverty issue distracts us from the lack of disaster relief preparation on the federal level.

Of course, Bush does not see a relationship between the lack of response in the Gulf, he is just saying that the poverty became visible as a result of the hurricane because it affected poor people and lot of them were African Americans and many poor rural whites in Mississippi and Georgia also seemed affected. In my opinion, racism surrounded and made outcome of events surrounding the hurricane much worse. The fact there was no upfront plans for evacaution of people without transportation was simply put outrageous and unconscionable.

It was probably all the polls showing that African Americans saw racism and connected the dots to Bush that made him stand up and utter what seemed like the right words. I can only hope that some good will come out of what seems to me empty rhetoric. Bush's talk of rebuilding sounds like laundry list of Republican experiments, give a lot of the money to religious organizations and let them handle the charity stuff, give kids school vouchers, create enterprise zones, lower taxes for minority businesses, make it easy to buy homes, the latter two points sound good as long as self promoting type companies and real estate interests, friends of Cheney or the Bushes don't end up profiting from W's " great adventure".