Hurricane Katrina influenced American society not only as a natural disaster but also as a crisis that accentuated the status of African Americans in the United States. In September 2005, mass media were overflowed with information about the dead people found at the Convention Center and the Superdome in New Orleans and about the associated violence and murders (“Cops”; Thevenot A08). These reports and articles are important to be examined in order to state how the situation could reflect attitudes to African Americans in the country.
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From the perspective of the social order, to live as an African American in the United States, and New Orleans in particular can mean risks of becoming a victim of violence, rape, and even murders because of chaos, inabilities to control situations, and aggression of community members. The media reports accentuated terrifying assaults caused to people at the Convention Center and the Superdome, and this approach emphasized stereotypes and biases associated with African Americans’ behaviors and principles of living in their community (“Cops”; Thevenot A08). Although there was no strict evidence to support comments in media, officials and the public easily accepted the idea that Hurricane Katrina could cause chaos and anarchy in New Orleans, leading to crimes because of stereotypical views that people living there could behave in that way. This aspect was accentuated from the perspective of media representation, and newspapers contributed to developing views that cruelty could be typical of citizens of New Orleans. Thus, being an African American in the twenty-first century still means overcoming prejudice and discrimination regarding ethnicity and abilities to follow the rules, and these views are common for the early twentieth century.
Referring to the political lenses, it is possible to examine how African Americans’ experiences reflect experiences of this racial group in other regions of the world. According to Carr, the international press used an opportunity to exaggerate the situation and stigmatize people from New Orleans (C5). It is possible to assume that the reason was to emphasize that the situation in their countries was different. Still, real experiences of black people in other countries can be more challenging because they live in large and developed communities in the United States, and although racism and discrimination are observed in hidden or active forms, these people have more rights and freedoms there than in other countries because of forming their community. From the perspective of socioeconomic status, it is possible to state that there are class problems in the United States, and the infective work of police, the government, and other officials after Hurricane Katrina was a result of poor planning and negligence that can be associated with prejudice, but the same problems are also observed in other countries.
The life of African Americans after Hurricane Katrina and their experiences over the globe can influence the understanding of humanity, freedom, and democracy because reports demonstrated the readiness of mass media to present facts through prisms of biases, stereotypes, and violations of human rights and interests. The inability of officials to plan actions and address the needs of people in New Orleans demonstrated their neglect (Carr C5). The violation of democratic principles and humanity became observed when a certain prejudiced position was selected for representing the situation at the Convention Center and the Superdome.
It is possible to state that Hurricane Katrina revealed the fact that stigmatization, discrimination, and the lack of action can be directed toward whole cities. From this point, the position of African Americans in the United States should be reconsidered as many times as possible. The reason is that it is necessary to guarantee the protection of freedoms and democracy for all citizens in the country.
Carr, David. “More Horrible Than Truth: News Reports.” The New York Times. 2005, pp. C1-C5.
“Cops: Superdome Violence Reports Exaggerated.” Fox News. 2005, Web.
Thevenot, Brian. “Katrina’s Body Count Could Reach 10,000; Bodies Found Piled in Freezer at Convention Center.” Times-Picayune, 6 Sept. 2005, pp. A08-A09.