"Come Hell or High Water": Katrina and Racism in U.S. Society
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The paper outlines how, in "Come Hell or High Water", Michael Dyson tells the tragic story of the Katrina disaster, how the government responded to it and how the media framed the post-Katrina lawlessness in New Orleans. The paper discusses in detail Dyson's argument that the failure of the Bush Administration to act properly to alleviate the suffering of New Orleans poor, black citizens was the manifestation of deep-seated racism in American society. The paper also addresses the concept of disaster capitalism that is manifested by the way industrial corporations manage to take advantage of natural disasters by using their lobbying power or close contacts with government officials to get lucrative business contracts. This author asserts that "Come Hell or High Water" is beautifully written, with passion and rigor, reminding the readers that inequities in American society are rife not only because of class differences but also because of the effects of lingering racism.
From the Paper:"The book begins with a discussion of poverty in New Orleans and the Gulf States, which situates Dyson's larger arguments within the context of race and class. He points out that in the pre-Katrina period the federal and local governments impoverished black people by cutting funds on pensions, education, and other social benefits, and maintained de facto segregation. Because of these policies, the level of poverty in New Orleans was among the highest in the United States. So, the sense of shock many Americans expressed by seeing the images of extremely poor citizens on their TVs at the time of disaster was more indicative of their willful ignorance of the level of poverty among African Americans than it was about the reality of life in New Orleans and the Gulf States. In the remainder of the book, Dyson talks about the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] incompetence, the way media racialized the images of whites and blacks struggling to survive (depicting the former as those trying to "find food" and the latter as "looters"), and how the corporations affiliated with the Vice-President Dick Cheney began to take advantage of the situation in what Naomi Klein called "disaster capitalism" (p. 131)."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Dyson, M.E. (2006) Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina the Color of Disaster. New York: Basic, Civitas Books.
Cite this Book Review:
"Come Hell or High Water": Katrina and Racism in U.S. Society (2013, May 31) Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/come-hell-or-high-water-katrina-and-racism-in-us-society-153432/
""Come Hell or High Water": Katrina and Racism in U.S. Society" 31 May 2013. Web. 13 July. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/come-hell-or-high-water-katrina-and-racism-in-us-society-153432/>