Tuesday, September 06, 2005


People have alleged that the lack of adequate response in New Orleans is because of racism, citing that a substantial percentage of people in New Orleans are black and low-income. In contrast, they say, if the population was predominantly white, government response would have been much better. Kanye West claimed that, "George Bush doesn't care about black people!" We heard the usual cries of racism from Jesse Jackson, who "questioned why Bush has not named blacks to top positions in the federal response to the disaster, particularly when the majority of victims remaining stranded in New Orleans are black: 'How can blacks be locked out of the leadership, and trapped in the suffering?'"

I've been highly critical of government's response;however, I'm not so naive as to believe the response would have been better if the residents of New Orleans were mostly white. I'm first in line to criticize our President when he endorses unsound policy or makes statements of economic ignorance, but there's no evidence to suggest that he is racist and "doesn't care about black people."

President George W. Bush was the first and only President to appoint a black man, Colin Powell, to United States Secretary of State, who "became the highest ranking African American government official in the history of the United States."[1] He was the first and only to appoint a black woman, Condoleezza Rice to the same position as Powell's successor. "Doesn't care about black people" doesn't make sense.

It's easy to make charges of racism and ignore the real issues. Most of the problems with government response are because of inherent flaws in government itself. People who want to help out are prohibited by government regulations, FEMA has made unnecessary requirements that cause unnecessary delays, and somehow the Humane Society has permission to be in New Orleans, but the Red Cross does not. Politicians simply don't know how to get things done, but they insist on taking the responsibility away from those who are better equipped to handle the job. What we have seen is government doing what government does best - producing only regulations and delaying real progress.

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