I would like to offer a different perspective to your editorial "Most deaths from Katrina were white" printed on December 29. You suggest that certain African-American figures "are a disgrace to our society," since there is now data that appears to contradict their post-Katrina remarks. I disagree with this suggestion, as well as other implications the column makes.
Let's get through the boring part first. Once again, I feel obligated to point out misleading and/or incorrect information in one of your columns. Your title, as well as the last sentence of your introduction, is inaccurate. Of the 729 deceased victims identified as of December 21, 305 were Caucasian and 364 were African-American. However, since blacks made up a higher percentage (67%) of New Orleans' pre-Katrina population than whites (28%), a higher proportion of whites died due to of Hurricane Katrina. For humanity's sake, it really does not matter how many or what proportion of which race died--every death is equally tragic. For journalism's sake, however, you probably should attempt to write a little clearer.
Your column also seems to classify the victims of Katrina only as those who died. I am sure this was only to "advance [your own] agenda" against the disgraceful and divisive civil rights leaders and liberal activists. One would not dare marginalize the people left stranded at the Superdome for days without the proper resources, or the other refugees who fled and lost everything. I concede that loss of life trumps all other losses, but let's not forget the other victims of Katrina.
It is these victims that Louis Farrakhan, Kanye West, and Damu Smith saw plastered on our television sets, and they were predominantly African-
American. No matter what they saw on television, their comments were irresponsible and misguided--but not disgraceful. Now, this may sound like the race card, but the skepticism African-Americans have of the government is deeply rooted for several reasons (i.e. slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation, lynchings, racial profiling, etc.). However, the harsh comments made by the above-referenced trio and other black leaders were premature and unnecessary. We all should take the time to closely examine situations before making rash judgments.
Being unprepared for Hurricane Katrina is a lame excuse being used from top to bottom. The nation was unprepared for Katrina due to inaction and incompetence, from the current and previous administrations, down to Mayor Ray Nagin and his predecessors. Years had been spent researching how a hurricane of Katrina's magnitude would affect New Orleans, yet little or nothing was done to address the problem. Now that is a disgrace.