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Hurricane Katrina may mark a watershed in Black perceptions of the African American presence and prospects in the United States. "It could very well shape this generation of young people in the same way that the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King shaped our generation," said Prof. Michael Dawson, of the University of Chicago whose team conducted a survey of Black and white reactions to the disaster between October 28 and November 17, 2005. "It suggested to Blacks the utter lack of the liberal possibility in the United States," said Dawson, the nation's premier Black social demographer.

Huge majorities of Blacks agreed that the federal government's response would have been faster if the victims of Katrina in New Orleans had been white (84 percent), and that the Katrina experience shows there is a lesson to be learned about continued racial inequality (90 percent).

But only 20 percent of whites believe that the federal government's failure to respond had anything to do with race, and only 38 percent think there is something to be learned about racial inequality from the Katrina disaster.

The differences of perceptions based on an event to which the entire nation was exposed in living color, are staggeringly instructive. Blacks and whites saw the same images, but perceived them differently. The Dawson poll, which included approximately 500 whites and 700 Blacks, shows a 64 percent difference between Black and white perceptions on the federal response to Katrina, and a 52 percent divide on the disaster's significance in terms of racial equality in the United States.

A Grand Canyon looms between the way African Americans and white people view the world, despite the fact that both groups are privy to the same information and images.

However, there is a degree of murkiness in these figures, just as exists in the minds of human beings. Dawson's group surveyed Black and white reactions to the statements of Kanye West, the rapper, immediately after the Katrina fiasco. West said:
    "I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, ˜They're looting.' You see a white family, it says, ˜They're looking for food.' And, you know, it's been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite because I've tried to turn away from the TV because it's too hard to watch. I've even been shopping before even giving a donation, so now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help - with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. I mean, the Red Cross is doing everything they can. We already realize a lot of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way - and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us! George Bush doesn't care about black people!"
Curiously, a large number of whites, although a minority, agree with Kanye West, that George Bush doesn't care about Black people. In light of other indicators, one wonders what proportion of these whites is glad that the president doesn't care.

It is clear that overwhelming numbers of Blacks agree with Kanye, that Bush is hostile to Black people. The nine percent figure who think that Kanye is out of line is just about right for what we at BC call the "crazy quotient" - the nearly indivisible number of African Americans who are irrevocably lost to reality, like the majority of whites (but certainly for different pathological reasons).

"Blacks and whites see two different worlds," said Prof. Dawson, whose team found that "Blacks are overwhelmingly supportive to bring people home and restore the city, while whites are overwhelmingly against federal government spending, and in favor of fiscal responsibility."

Fiscal responsibility is a code phrase. It means, Don't spend money on Black folks.

"Fiscal responsibility is a code word for whites for anti-Black policy," said Dawson. "Reagan used it, Bush used it, and the people who overthrew Reconstruction used it. It is one of the oldest code words in American politics. It's right up there with ˜law and order.'"

The corporate media constantly speak of Americans "coming together" in times of crisis. However, such has never happened, across racial lines - because of white intransigence.

"I don't think that the Katrina disaster brought people together," said Dawson. "I think it is abundantly clear that Blacks and whites represent polar opposite views in how to understand major social and political dislocations and traumas in this country."

http://blackcommentator.com/165/165_cover_katrina_study.html
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Thanks for the piece. I cancelled my subscription to 'blackcommentator'.

I agree with the conclusions of the study.

African American-Americans see the world, and the United States in particular, differently because we live in a different place, African America.

It is the place and the expeience from which we gain our perspective.

It is why we cheered the jury verdict for O.J. Simpson.

It is why we rioted pursuant to jury verdict for Rodney King.

About once a decade, television images seem to expose diseased underbelly of America making it impossible for European-Americas to deny its existence.

It's an impressive list MOntgomery, Selma, Charlotte, Detroit, Watts, South Central, Florida 2000, now New Orleans.

Even while we poll clearly showing we know we are different, we still argue there is no uniqueness.

These studies being presented over and over are, and will probably one day be, citations verifying the conclusions of Dr. Joy DeGruy-Leary.

PEACE

Jim Chester
Like I said, White Americans and Black Americans live in different worlds. I don't think we'll ever see eye-to-eye, and White America will certainly never understand us. They don't know what it is like to not have privilege, they can't fathom not getting something just because of their skin color. They don't know what it's like to be stereotyped. The only stereotype they've ever encountered is that they are a racist (and alot of them are, even if unintentional).


This is my philosophy on White people's reponses to racism:

25% agree with the racism and encourage it
25% agree, but think it maybe went too far
25% don't give a shit one way or the other
15% don't agree with the racism, but are too timid to go against the grain of their White peers, or don't disagree enough
10% don't agree with the racism, and actively work against it, even if it means being viewed as a "Nigger lover" or "Politically Correct"
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Empty Purnata:
Like I said, White Americans and Black Americans live in different worlds. I don't think we'll ever see eye-to-eye, and White America will certainly never understand us. They don't know what it is like to not have privilege, they can't fathom not getting something just because of their skin color. They don't know what it's like to be stereotyped. The only stereotype they've ever encountered is that they are a racist (and alot of them are, even if unintentional).[QUOTE]

I agree. And the reason we don't see eye to eye often times is because they feel that they don't have to. They don't have to or want to leave that comfort zone.
This editorial piece is-on-point.

[quote]"...Fiscal responsibility is a code phrase. It means, Don't spend money on Black folks..."

This 'catch word' [fiscal responsibility] is pre-slavery manifest.

The games, the rules, and the penalties have been unfairly set against blaqs since the start of the slavery exodus trail...!

Inslave a people.
De-humanize a whole culture of people.

and

Dangle a get-out-of jail card in their faces

and

Then set them free....and pump up the volume with Jim Crow...
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the part about whites not being as responsive to the city being rebuilt as blacks i believe is true 100%. Unfortunately blacks of the city, in general, don't have the resources to rebuild and uplift the city and the whites do. I'm not saying black people are totally helpless, but in the city of new orleans the majority of black people live below or right around the poverty line so what can they do. They can move back all they want to but they can't pay for an apartment or house in the area now because the cost of living has gone sky high.(the apt.'s in my neighborhood prior to the hurricane ran for about 625 now they are 800 and up). I know the city will eventually be rebuilt but the real issue to look at is: who will it be rebuilt for?

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