The premise of this story is that the disaster of Hurricane Katrina was the weather event and that 5-year old children are unaffected today. Not surprisingly they use the example of an uptown resident who now works for the RSD. But for the 118,000 blacks who never made it back, and the tens of thousands who could never find affordable housing or work, the Katrina disaster never stopped and its emotional impact on children is as strong as ever; the same is true for those who did return only to encounter a second disaster in healthcare, housing, employment, and political dispossession. It is inconceivable that the emotional trauma and stress on parents does not affect children; that the child does not know the origins of their own emotional stress does not mean they are unaffected.
In many ways this is a “white blind spot” story that reflects how journalism is one version of reality constructed through the eyes and experiences of the author. This points out that even the way we define disaster is colored by race and class in ways that ignore the fate of those victimized by more than wind and water.
Lance Hill, Ph.D.
Note: This is a guest blog post from Dr. Lance Hill. As we all watch the east coast prepare to for Hurricane Irene, we can’t help but to reflect on our own activities 6 years ago this weekend. The story referenced in Dr. Hill’s post is particularly painful to be because I know that many of the children who are in Kindergarten now, are definitely experiencing the negative effects of the changes made in our school system after Katrina. We all are affected and will be for a long time to come. We will talk about how many of our children are affected by the changes to New Orleans Public Schools after Katrina at our press conference on Monday, August 29th at 5:30 PM. The press conference will take place in front of John Mc Donogh Senior High School, 2426 Esplanade Ave.