Wednesday, August 31, 2005

NYT: Beat this, BBC

OK…this isn’t precisely in keeping with the theme of this site, but never let it be said the TAE focuses monomaniacally on the British press.

Today, of course, hurricane Katrina dominates the news in the States, and The New York Times has taken a break from its usual obsession with race and class to cover the disaster. Or has it?

Check out this interactive map of New Orleans, which highlights and explains how certain areas of the city were effected. What makes it interactive is that one can select the type of map which lays under the hurricane information. For example, there is a choice for a satellite image, an elevation map, or a population map.

And, naturally, a choice for the type of information that is particularly important in a natural disaster situation like this: a map showing the non-white population, and a median income map. Just in case, of course, you wanted to know whether Katrina was a racist hurricane, or a was perhaps a hurricane of the oppressor capitalist class.

It used to be a joke that, as Armageddon approached, the headlines in the NYT would read “World to End Tomorrow: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit”. How quickly reality outpaces parody.

(Thanks for the heads up, KC)


Anonymous psojka said...

What you forgot to mention is that the city workers in New Orleans have secretly been weakening the levees in the city over the last 100 years. When the minority or low-income residents move to particular parts of the city, the workers weaken the levees in this part and then re-inforce the levees where the high-income or non-minority now live.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Mark Vassallo said...

It looks like the NYT interactive map is going to more appropriate than you might have imagined, if today's Times (London) leader is to be believed:

"The tragedy has been visited disproportionately, indeed almost exclusively, on the city’s African-Americans. The images from the city have been compared with natural disasters in sub-Saharan Africa; it is the faces of the victims as much as the scale of the destruction that underscores the comparison.

This massive disparity of suffering is bound to provoke a fresh controversy about race and class inequality, the great open sore of American society that bleeds profusely from time to time. The spectacle of tens of thousands of indigent blacks, apparently alone in being unable to save themselves from this horror, will surely make it weep anew."

8:38 AM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...


Blacks make up nearly 70% of the population of New Orleans. (see

That being the case, it can hardly come as a surprise, nor does it strike me as a sign of great racial significance, that the large majority of victims were black.


9:06 AM  
Anonymous psojka said...

If you had had a chance to catch the Congressional Black Caucus at their press conference today, you would have been appalled at an all-new level. The blatant insinuation was that Bush's "slow response" was racist in nature. One democratic African-American congressman actually suggested that Bush should have sent in the National Guard into New Orleans BEFORE the hurricane hit. Hmmm, since the major flooding occurred (and very quickly) only after the levee break, imagine how the Guard would have looked standing on the rooftops waving to get rescued, their trucks and supplies buried under 15 feet of water.

This harkens me back to the Schiavo fiasco, where stupid politicians made themselves sound even more ridiculous every time they opened their mouths. (Sorry, Scott, not only have I posted when I said I wouldn't, but I brought up Schiavo again!! ARRRGGGHH!!)

2:44 AM  

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