Mark Tomlinson

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005 - Reaction to Katrina split on racial lines - Sep 13, 2005 - Reaction to Katrina split on racial lines - Sep 13, 2005

Oh please. Never attribute to malice what can be accounted for with incompetence.

Our home was destroyed by Charlie. We are white. I called FEMA the next day (Aug 14) and we made several trips to local FEMA claims centers that were established in the area. It was March of the NEXT YEAR before FEMA decided to actually stop by, evaluate the damage (a lot of which had been repaired by then) and decide if they could help. That's right, 6 months and some. We are still dealing with the aftermath and I am not belittling our good fortune in having insurance, but this is not an isolated incident. FEMA was handing out money to people in South Florida that were not even in the path of the hurricane while folks that were, well they were still waiting.

Beyond the obvious reasons--that is the differences that exist in class, income levels and so forth--I don't see race as a factor here. Are the class issues critical? You bet they are and they existed (and were just as important, but unnoticed) before the hurricane. We have an issue with stratification in our society and race plays a large role in that, make no mistake. I just don't think the government deliberately used race as a factor in deciding how quick to respond.

Of course, the article deals with perceptions and that is really what counts.