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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Katrina continues to reveal the real racist America

The picture to the right, from the Times-Picayune, is captioned:
"John Lacy spreads out all the cash to his name, $40. Lacy, who spent 28 in Angola for armed robbery, was picked up by the military after Hurricane Katrina. He escaped and walked back New Orleans."

The Houston Chronicle reports that historically Black colleges and universities have been among the worst hit by Katrina, and their more limited resources will make coming back from the disaster much more difficult than it will be for their wealthier and whiter counterparts. As with much of New Orleans, the areas where the Black colleges were located left them more vulnerable to flooding and general damage.

The paper reports:
The endowments at Dillard and Xavier, the country's only historically black and Catholic institution, are only a small fraction of the endowment that comparatively unscathed Tulane will be able to tap.

Payroll alone could all but wipe out Dillard's $46 million endowment within two years. Tuition makes up half of the annual budget at the private college of about 2,100 students.
That there is even a question of whether the schools will survive shows yet again how white supremacy leaves even middle class Black institutions vulnerable and their place in the larger white-dominated economy remains tenuous, even after many years.

Meanwhile, angry Ninth Ward residents, their neighborhoods the worst hit by the flooding, confronted Governor Blanco about the lack of progress:

Joeliene L. West told Blanco that her employer had not delivered paychecks to workers for three weeks. West said she was running out of money and was desperate for information.

"They have not gotten our checks straightened out. They owe us hours of work. It's the funds that are due to us. It's our money," West said.

At the same time, the city government of Gretna, a primarily white New Orleans suburb, has reiterated its support for the local police chief, who blocked fleeing New Orleans residents from evacuating across the bridge that connects the two towns.
Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky said officers ordered them back down the bridge, away from the West Bank.

"The West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their city," Bradshaw and Slonsky recalled Gretna officers saying. "These were code words for: If you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River, and you were not getting out of New Orleans."

Police used dogs and shotguns to control the crowd, said [New Orleans Mayor] Nagin. The evacuees were left helpless, the mayor said.


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