Dr. Steve Nwabuzor adds his own opinion:
Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama has, once again, raised the issue of 'a black dependency syndrome' on whites. While the flooding of New Orleans appears a natural disaster with man-made flaws (non-fixing of the levees), the racial dimension of the response, evacuation and resettling of the evacuees is gathering storm. The latter has brought out two major factions in this forum:
a) Those who believe that blaming the poor response of FEMA and this Bush adminstration does not cut it;
b) Another group believes that the Bush Administration's initial response was guided by class and racial considerations.
It is incontestable to clear-sighted individuals that the pictures beamed on our TV screens showed a predominant black population of New Orleans as being the most dispossessed during this latest catastrophe. Emprically, were the majority of the inhabitants in New Orleans white, it is doubtful if the response would be lacklustre and haphazardly co-ordinated.
What gnaws the heart of some contributors is the response of black leaders, black athletes and black successful businessmen in the US. I believe it is too early to chastise these groups as information available in the media may not be complete. I reject the premise of Chika Onyeani's latest piece, which in the end tries to reinforce the 'lazy, unintelligent.......' nature of the 'Capitalist Nigger' often declared by him on this forum.
Whilst the black worldwide is on the lowest rung of the ladder economically, one should not expect struggling nations to suddenly bite more than they can chew by coughing out billions of dollars in aid to the victims. It would amount to another grandstanding and supporting the theory that 'debt-relief' afterall was not necessary.
The US is a rich country which is at war in Iraq with billions of dollars expended in an unnecessary war. One would be comfortable if the US administration (Federal and State) lived up to their obligations in preventing the flooding, especially given the meteorological forecast of this hurricane and the known fact that New Orleans is about 9ft below sea level and state-of-the art hydraulic levees built? Why now blame the shoddy job of the administration on 'rich blacks' and Black nations of the world? Whatever 'rich' means in the lexicon of these commentators leaves much to be desired, and it is another topic for discussion.
Have we now reached a point where disasters should be addressed and relieved on the basis of color? Those that lost homes in this disaster are citizens of the US, and the administration owes them emergency relief. Any extra help could come from Blacks, Whites, Hispanics and others. It is regrettable to see some of our intellectuals and so-called opinion writers denigrate their race and wash this administration clean of lapses in judgement and response. We cannot pass over the ills of this government by dwelling on what blacks, yellows or whites should do. Humanitarian assistance is not coerced but comes freely.
Chika Onyeani gave good statistics about New Orleans, but failed to openly indict this administration. Rather the mindset of Blacks being 'no-gooders' runs through his conclusions. It is too soon to rush into conclusion. Hence, Dr. Ochonu summarised my feelings on this matter.