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Race is an issue

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, September 7, 2005

It’s been a while since I’ve seen so many falsehoods packed in a single letter, as I did when I read Matt Hamilton’s Sept. 4 letter, “Race on the Levee.” Paul Krugman is probably already consulting Hamilton for his next New York Times column.

Why is it any surprise, when the overwhelming majority of whites, who are disproportionately wealthier than the blacks, left New Orleans, which was 67 percent black before the evacuation? How is it not “Third World” to have locals indiscriminately machine-gunning policemen and rescue workers? (It sounds pretty indistinguishable from Mogadishu to me.) Who is Hamilton to complain about the consensus opinion of the locals, who, unlike Hamilton, were actually there when it happened?

As for pointing fingers, of course two-thirds-black New Orleans’ mayor, who is black, had nothing to do with the cleanup fiasco, other than bumping his cronies to the head of the evacuation line. Neither did the New Orleans police chief, who is also black. (Note the highest per-capita murder rate and most corrupt police department in America including Washington, D.C., and less than a quarter of the city’s murders resulting in a conviction – before Katrina.)

Neither did the Louisiana governor, who is white, and whose decisive votes came in David Duke’s most loyal parishes, thanks to a last-minute race-baiting ad against her Indian-American opponent. Luckily for her, though, she’s a Democrat. Maybe we need to review the criteria here? We need someone who’s white, male, Republican, powerful and preferably rich … I’ve got it: “Bush to New Orleans: Drop Dead.” Has a nice ring, doesn’t it?

Finally, since Hamilton has no problem with looting, somebody should give me his address. (I’ll take care of the U-Haul.) And if he says I’m too rich to deserve everything he’s worked for, I’m sure there are plenty of meth tweakers and crackheads – er, “dispossessed people” in South Bend who are just as deserving of those household appliances and possessions as Hamilton is. Just think of “the human dignity, the self-government and the triumph in the face of adversity!”

I don’t mean that all dispossessed people are addicts, just that some are (and thus not necessarily deserving of indiscriminate aid or loot).

Alex ForshawfreshmanSt. Edward’s HallSept. 6