Moral poverty cost blacks in New Orleans
By Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson
Guest Commentary Ă‚Â» September 30, 2005
Say a hurricane is about to destroy the city you live in. Two questions:
What would you do?
What would you do if you were black?
Sadly, the two questions donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t have the same answer.
To the first: Most of us would take our families out of that city quickly to protect them from danger. Then, able-bodied men would return to help others in need, as wives and others cared for children, elderly, infirm and the like.
For better or worse, Hurricane Katrina has told us the answer to the second question. If youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re black and a hurricane is about to destroy your city, then youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll probably wait for the government to save you.
This was not always the case. Prior to 40 years ago, such a pathetic performance by the black community in a time of crisis would have been inconceivable. The first response would have come from black men. They would take care of their families, bring them to safety, and then help the rest of the community. Then local government would come in.
No longer. When 75 percent of New Orleans residents had left the city, it was primarily immoral, welfare-pampered blacks that stayed behind and waited for the government to bail them out. This, as we know, did not turn out good results.
Enter Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan. Jackson and Farrakhan laid blame on Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“racistĂ˘â‚¬Âť President Bush. Farrakhan actually proposed the idea that the government blew up a levee so as to kill blacks and save whites. The two demanded massive governmental spending to rebuild New Orleans, above and beyond the federal governmentĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s proposed $60 billion. Not only that, these two were positioning themselves as the gatekeepers to supervise the dispersion of funds. Perfect: Two of the most dishonest elite blacks in America, Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“overseeingĂ˘â‚¬Âť billions of dollars. I wonder where that money will end up.
Of course, if these two were really serious about laying blame on government, they should blame the local one. Responsibility to perform Ă˘â‚¬â€ś legally and practically Ă˘â‚¬â€ś fell first on the mayor of New Orleans. We are now all familiar with Mayor Ray Nagin Ă˘â‚¬â€ś the black Democrat who likes to yell at President Bush for failing to do NaginĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s job. The facts, unfortunately, do not support NaginĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s wailing. As the Washington Times puts it, Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“recent reports show [Nagin] failed to follow through on his own cityĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s emergency-response plan, which acknowledged that thousands of the cityĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s poorest residents would have no way to evacuate the city.Ă˘â‚¬Âť
One wonders how there was Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“no wayĂ˘â‚¬Âť for these people to evacuate the city. We have photographic evidence telling us otherwise. YouĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ve probably seen it by now Ă˘â‚¬â€ś the photo showing 200 parked school buses, unused and underwater. How much planning does it require to put people on a bus and leave town, Mayor Nagin?
Instead of doing the obvious, Mayor Nagin (with no positive contribution from Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco, the other major leader vested with responsibility to address the hurricane disaster) loaded remaining New Orleans residents into the Superdome and the cityĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s convention center. We know how that plan turned out.
About five years ago, in a debate before the National Association of Black Journalists, I stated that if whites were to just leave the United States and let blacks run the country, they would turn America into a ghetto within 10 years. The audience, shall we say, disagreed with me strongly. Now I have to disagree with me. I gave blacks too much credit. It took a mere three days for blacks to turn the Superdome and the convention center into ghettos, rampant with theft, rape and murder.
President Bush is not to blame for the rampant immorality of blacks. Had New OrleansĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ black community taken action, most would have been out of harmĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s way. But most were too lazy, immoral and trifling to do anything productive for themselves.
All Americans must tell blacks this truth. It was blacksĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ moral poverty Ă˘â‚¬â€ś not their material poverty Ă˘â‚¬â€ś that cost them dearly in New Orleans. Farrakhan, Jackson, and other race hustlers are to be repudiated Ă˘â‚¬â€ś they will only perpetuate this problem by stirring up hatred and applauding moral corruption. New Orleans, to the extent it is to be rebuilt, should be remade into a dependency-free, morally strong city where corruption is opposed and success is applauded. Blacks are obligated to help themselves and not depend on the government to care for them. We are all obligated to tell them so.
The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is founder and president of BOND, the Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny, and author of Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America.Ă˘â‚¬Âť