Race, class and hurricanes
Slate editor Jack Shafer, a devastatingly incisive and take-no-prisoners media critic, offered up a sure-to-be-invidious article on Slate this morning about how Katrina disproportionately affected the black and poor.
Now, before my conservative brothers and sisters flip out (or at least during their convulsions), I want to put down some parameters for the discussion so we don't end up justifying the Iraq war. I'd like to point out that Shafer's point is NOT to indict white people. THIS is his point, and again, it has to do with the media:
"By ignoring race and class, [journalists, reporters and news anchors] boot[ed] the journalistic opportunity to bring attention to the disenfranchisement of a whole definable segment of the population."
His attack is on reporters for failing to do something that he seems to believe could help all of us understand out culture better. The most effective way to attack Shafer, then, is to say that he's wrong about one or both of two things: either they didn't miss an opportunity, or the Southern black and poor are not disenfranchised. Yes, he's playing the race card. We're going to go ahead and move past that to see if he's correct--not to see if he's liberal.