Katrina's Imprint: Race and Vulnerability in America

Katrina's Imprint: Race and Vulnerability in America

Katrina's Imprint: Race and Vulnerability in America

Katrina's Imprint: Race and Vulnerability in America

Synopsis

Katrina's Imprint highlights the power of this sentinel American event and its continuing reverberations in contemporary politics, culture, and public policy. Published on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the multidisciplinary volume reflects on how history, location, access to transportation, health care, and social position feed resilience, recovery, and prospects for the future of New Orleans and the Gulf region. Essays examine the intersecting vulnerabilities that gave rise to the disaster, explore the cultural and psychic legacies of the storm, reveal how the process of rebuilding and starting over replicates past vulnerabilities, and analyze Katrina's imprint alongside American's myths of self-sufficiency. A case study of new weaknesses that have emerged in our era, this book offers an argument for why we cannot wait for the next disaster before we apply the lessons that should be learned from Katrina.

Excerpt

Keith Wailoo - Karen M. O'Neill - Jeffrey Dowd

The mention of Hurricane Katrina conjures up more than just a violent storm that unleashed nature’s destructive force on an American city. Hurricane Katrina is now also recalled as a political event that issued a black mark on a presidency, an epic media story that produced collective trauma far beyond those physically affected, a breakdown of order that shredded the American social fabric (as demonstrated by the divergent reactions of black and white Americans), and an economic calamity that has produced one of the most dramatic urban transformations in modern times. Finally, Katrina is a shameful episode, unparalleled in American history; nevertheless (as authors in this volume insist), it cannot be isolated from earlier calamities nor from the mundane realities of American life and history.

The problems that Katrina highlighted are not new; rather, the storm was merely the latest manifestation of a set of patterns whereby poverty and other varieties of inequality come suddenly—and fleetingly—into view. As Michael Harrington wrote nearly a half-century ago, “There are mighty historical and economic forces that keep the poor down; and there are human beings who help out in this grim business, many of them unwittingly. There are sociological and political reasons why poverty is not seen; and there are misconceptions and prejudices that literally blind the eyes. the latter must be understood if anyone is to make the necessary act of intellect and will so that the poor can be noticed.” Katrina was one of those moments when deeply structured inequalities (in housing, in environmental exposures, in access to health care and transportation, and in media coverage) and suffering poor people themselves came briefly and tragically into view. Unfortunately, as David Troutt argues in this volume, “what Katrina threatened to reveal about hardship, community, and self-sufficiency in about five raw and agonizing days of news coverage has assumed [years later] its invisible form again.” Yet, even though the poor have . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.