By Larry Elder
Published September 10, 2005
The Washington Times
On Hurricane Katrina, government failed to do its most
essential job -- protect people and property. Yes, state,
local and federal officials failed to appreciate the
severity and gravity of this storm and its aftermath and to
properly evacuate New Orleans. But how does this add up to
CNN's Jack Cafferty said,
"Despite the many angles of this tragedy, and Lord
knows there've been a lot of 'em in New Orleans, there is a
great big elephant in the living room that the media seems
content to ignore -- that would be, until now. ... [We] in
the media are ignoring the fact that almost all of the
victims in New Orleans are black and poor."
Wolf Blitzer said: "You simply
get chills every time you see these poor individuals, as
Jack Cafferty just pointed out, so tragically, so many of
these people, almost all of them that we see, are so poor,
and they are so black, and this is gonna raise lots of
questions for people ... watching this story unfold."
Fox's Shepard Smith described
citizens of New Orleans stranded on an Interstate as
possessing the face of an African-American man, woman, child
News anchors, once again,
demonstrate their willingness, indeed eagerness, to find
racism. A few years ago, a Time-CNN poll found 89 percent of
black teens experienced little or no racism in their own
lives. White teens, however, believed racism against
minorities a bigger problem than black teens did.
The so-called "black
leaders," of course, led the race card parade. The
Congressional Black Caucus' Rep. Diane Watson, California
Democrat, described those suffering as "sons and
daughters of slaves." NAACP attorney Damon Hewitt said,
"If the majority of the folks left behind were white
individuals, and most of the folks who were able to escape
on their own were African-Americans, then I wouldn't be
sitting here right now. This is a racial story." Rapper
Kanye West screamed at an NBC relief concert: "George
Bush doesn't care about black people."
CNN's Cafferty and so-called black
leaders refuse to ask basic questions. Since 1978, for
example, black mayors controlled the city of New Orleans,
with many top city officials also black. What about their
responsibility? What about the damage done from the modern
welfare state, helping create poverty by financially
rewarding irresponsible behavior? What about the damage to
the black psyche by so-called civil rights leaders who
demand not just equal rights, but equal results, helping to
create a victimcrat-entitlement mentality?
Maybe someday one of the news
anchors will ask one of the so-called civil rights leaders
the following question: Doesn't the demand for race-based
preferences, set-asides, private sector anti-discrimination
laws, social welfare programs, and social "safety
net" programs all conspire to say one thing --
"You are not responsible"?
City Journal's Nicole Gelinas, a
onetime New Orleans resident, said, "The city's decline
over the last three decades has left it impoverished and
lacking the resources to build its economy from within. New
Orleans can't take care of itself even when it is not 80
percent underwater; what is it going to do now, as waters
continue to cripple it, and thousands of looters
systematically destroy what Katrina left unscathed?"
She also notes, "The city's government has long
suffered from incompetence and corruption" and city's
the crime rate in normal times exceeds the national average
by a factor of 10.
News anchors and so-called black
leaders ignore a far bigger factor than race or class --
Consider the mid-1800s, and the
plight of New York City's Irish underclass. According to
William J. Stern, writing in the Wall Street Journal,
"One hundred fifty years ago, Manhattan's tens of
thousands of Irish seemed mired in poverty and ignorance,
destroying themselves through drink, idleness, violence,
crime and illegitimacy. ... An estimated 50,000 Irish
prostitutes worked the city in 1850. ... Illegitimacy
soared, tens of thousands of abandoned Irish kids roamed the
city's streets. Violent Irish gangs fought each other ...
but primarily they robbed houses and small businesses. More
than half the people arrested in New York in the 1840s and
1850s were Irish."
Disgusted by government
"charity," Bishop John Joseph Hughes led movements
to form nongovernment-aided Catholic schools and many
He promoted abstinence and the
belief sex outside marriage is a sin. His diocese's nuns
were an employment agency for Irish domestics and encouraged
women to run boarding houses.
What happened? In two generations,
"the Irish proportion of arrests for violent crime had
dropped to less than 10 percent from 60 percent. Irish
children were entering ... the professions, politics, show
business and commerce. In 1890, some 30 percent of the
city's teachers were Irish women, and the Irish literacy
rate exceeded 90 percent."
Some demand a commission to
investigate the failures and breakdowns in Hurricane
Katrina. Fine. Let's hope they set up a commission to
investigate another hurricane -- wrought by the welfare
state and irresponsible use of the race card.