Friday, September 16, 2005

Uncovering the True Racism in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

While pointing to Noemie Emery's tale of two cities (love that question at the very end of her article), Robert Tracinski quotes from White Do-Gooders Did for Black America by John McWhorter, a black man writing in the Times of London who agrees that some form of racism was at work, but not the form generally believed (both in America and abroad):
The publicly sanctioned take is that 'white supremacy' is why 80% of New Orleans’s poor people are black.... In fact, white America does remain morally culpable--but because white leftists in the late 1960s, in the name of enlightenment and benevolence, encouraged the worst in human nature among blacks and even fostered it in legislation. The hordes of poor blacks stuck in the Superdome last week wound up there not because the White Man barred them from doing better, but because certain tragically influential White Men destroyed the fragile but lasting survival skills poor black communities had maintained since the end of slavery.... There was a new sense that the disadvantages of being black gave one a pass on civility--or even achievement: this was when black teens started teasing black nerds for 'acting white.'...

In 1966...a group of white academics in New York developed a plan to bring as many people onto the welfare rolls as possible. Across the country, poor blacks especially were taught to apply for living on the dole even when they had been working for a living, and by 1970 there were 169% more people on welfare nationwide than in 1960. This was the first time that whites or blacks had taught black people not to work as a form of civil rights.... [G]enerations of poor blacks [have] grown up in neighborhoods where there was no requirement that fathers support their children. Few grew up watching their primary parent work for a living.... This is the hell that most of the people in the Superdome either lived in or knew at close hand.... Katrina is a tragic close-up of a group of people staggering after, first, a hideous natural disaster but, ultimately, an equally hideous sociological disaster of 40 years ago.

More here.