Thursday, 4 March 2010

Hurricane Katrina & African Americans

Hurrican Katrina hit the coasts of Mississippi and Louisiana in August 2005. An area that was particularly badly hit was New Orleans, which was and still is a predominantly African American area. The chaos that ensued after the hurricanes devastation of the city brought to light a number of issues regarding African Americans in contemporary America.

A comment that illustrates some of the issues facing African Americans in the US was provided by Alphonso Jackson (a Bush era HUD secretary) who guaranteed that New Orleans was "not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again". Having previously made up 67% of New Orleans population, the African American community has decreased significantly due to both the hurricane and the problems in its aftermath.

Housing has become a particular issue for African Americans in New Orleans. Many of the homes most badly damaged were those owned by African Americans on low incomes. As such, 1000's are in "FEMA trailers awiting curiously delayed federal aid money" in order to repair their houses. However whilst there are some who are waiting for housing repairs, many more have been pushed into selling their houses and entering the rented market which has thrown up more problems. African Americnas, alongside latinos have found themselves disciminated against in the rented market, with research by Professor John Baugh and theNational Fair Housing Alliance suggesting that white renters were favoured by landlords.

A final issue that has affected African Americans in the wake of Hurrican Katrina has been in regards to crime and racial profiling. As a result of the movement of evacuees, some areas hosting these evacuees experienced an increase in crime rates. This has resulted in an increase of racial profiling and cases like the Jena Six.

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