Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

Hurricane Katrina

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It was a rude awakening for me upon watching the documentary we did in class. I had little to no idea all of the complex factors that went into how people were affected by the storm and how organizations responded to it. I also had no idea that people accused the city of New Orleans of dynamiting the levees in order to save the higher income real estate areas for tourism. That was incredibly disturbing to me, and it really opened my eyes to how very biased popular opinion on the subject was at the time. I was a lot younger, and obviously less understanding of social issues and how they are commonly viewed, but I do remember many people saying that the people who were hurt or killed in New Orleans at the time were to blame because they stayed whenever many left. Knowing what I do now, I am very struck by the lack of sympathy which was displayed consudering many of those affected didn’t have access to public transportation or couldn’t afford to evacuate. It’s alarming how negative public discourse on the subject was, also, due to the fact that many people were black. I remember members of my family saying offensive things about those hurt at the time, blaming them for their own injuries and deaths, that I know definitively now they would not have said had the ‘faces of those injured by Hurricane Katrina’ been white.

The documentary was very eye-opening for me, and I’m glad that we got to watch some of it. I plan on watching the rest of it later on my own time.

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