Spike Lee was on George Stephanopoulos’ show earlier today. You can see more the extended video here. I admit, I share Spike’s confusion as to why the U.S. Government took 5 days to respond to a forecast disaster. It wasn’t like 9/11 when a beautiful Tuesday morning went terribly, shockingly wrong. No, the administration saw this coming, saw the inadequate emergency response and did…nothing.

Black folks are America’s canaries in a coal mine. We show the symptoms of institutional decline first whether it’s healthcare, stagnant wages, failing schools, struggling schoolboys, armed forces recruiting and so on. Much of what happened during Katrina happened because of racism, poverty and poor coordination, no doubt. But no American of any race or ethnicity should feel safe when looking at the pictures and videos from one year ago. It could and will happen to you if you continue to support this Congress and the Bush adminstration.

You would think that black folks would be up in arms with a huge march planned on Washington D.C. to protest the failure of this administration to take responsibility for the loss of one of America’s great cities and the largest humanitarian disaster our nation has ever seen. There is not one mention of Katrina on the NAACP site nor on the CORE site. There is a reference below the fold on both the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and on the National Urban League homepage. While certainly raising the minimum wage is an important goal, the nation looks back to Katrina and asks “what happened?” and “are we safer”? Only these moribund institutions — toothless tigers in the post-civil rights era — blink back and pursue another corporate-approved agenda. Don’t be angry. Don’t ask any questions, especially ones like, where did all that Homeland Security money go? And: how much have we spent on rebuilding Iraq vs rebuilding New Orleans? Or: why are Katrina victims sleeping in their cars?

Fortunately new leaders are on the horizon and I am glad to see that Tavis Smiley and Color of Change have their priorities in order. Because Kanye wasn’t wrong.

Related Posts with Thumbnails