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Hurricane Katrina Injustice and Racial Discrimination

by Expert Prof Akunga | 16 Aug 2016

We are all aware that the United States is a symbol of democracy, liberty, and equality all over the world. Since time immemorial our country has been fighting for these basic principles and ideas not only within its territory but outside our country as well. It is, however, disappointing and discouraging to find out that though we take pride in upholding these principles, we have for so many years failed to do something about the injustice and racial discrimination that are happening right within our backyard.

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Two years ago, the southern part of the United States was ravaged by one of the strongest storms ever to hit. With its strong winds, the Hurricane Katrina not only destroyed $81 billion worth of properties but it also caused the death of more than 1,000 people.

The impact of the storm was felt more in New Orleans. For the residents of New Orleans, the injury is not only coping with the death of their loved ones but also rebuilding their destroyed houses and lost hope. They also had to endure racism that is still widespread in the United States.

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The US government declared that it will extend aid to all victims of Hurricane Katrina and that nobody will be left out. Newspaper reports all over New Orleans, however, said otherwise. Insofar as the undocumented immigrants are concerned they have found out that help can be ‘relative’. These survivors have not only been denied aid and relief coming from the government but they have also been subjected to deportation. According to Virginia Rice, the spokeswoman for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, “three undocumented immigrants were detained in El Paso, Texas after voluntarily presenting themselves to immigration authorities.”

The most depressing thing is that some are saying that this widespread racial discrimination in New Orleans is one of the reasons why the African Americans suffered the most during the calamity. The African Americans were said to be victims of officially sanctioned discrimination practices starting from the policies excluding certain “communities” from fair lending that would have provided them with stronger and better homes to the government’s lack of response to the suffering of the Katrina victims.

I know that I can do something about this racism and injustice. In my case, I am lucky that I have a different attitude about races. I know that we are all born equal and should be endowed with equal rights, privileges and opportunities. There is no reason for a fellow human being to be treated unjustly just because the color of his skin is different from us or just because he is of different social status. I always remind myself that I will inform my close relatives, peers, and friends about treating people equally.

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