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04.02.2009 Press Release

Kentucky: Obama’s New Orleans?

By MBC Global
Kentucky: Obama’s New Orleans?

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., USA (February 3, 2009). In 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the USA Gulf coast. The fifth deadliest and sixth strongest Atlantic storm in history created a flurry of criticism due to the slow recovery. The strongest of critics overlooked the damage to Mississippi and Alabama and the involvement of Baton Rouge, the capital of New Orleans state of Louisiana. Media blasted President Bush, laying full responsibility for recovery efforts on his desk. The strongest critics claiming it was a racial issue.

Now the worst ice storm in history has crippled much of Kentucky. More than 300,000 remain without power a week after the storm hit and the predication is full power will not be restored until the middle of February.

And what has been the Federal response?
Jaime Green, a spokeswomen for emergency operations in Lyon County, Kentucky, the federal government has not stepped foot in her county, according to the Associated Press. Brocton Oglesby in Hopkins County echoes her remarks.

Instead of media outrage, we are reading how wonderful the government response has been. Unless one reads deep into the articles they do not hear anything pointing to a slow response. In fact the AP story quoted above leads with, “In the first real test of the Obama administration's ability to respond to a disaster, Kentucky officials are giving the federal government good marks for its response to a deadly ice storm.” Their source, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear.

There are many things the same between the two disasters:

Issue

New Orleans

Kentucky

Resident reaction

People did not want to leave their homes

"Too many people are trying to tough it out at home," Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo said

Impact on residents

Many in temporary housing/shelter

Many in temporary housing/shelter

Hospitals

Closed except for emergencies

Closed except for emergencies

Senior housing

Uninhabitable by health standards

Uninhabitable by health standards

Curfew

City under curfew to prevent looting

Most cities under curfew to prevent looting

So with all these similarities, why the difference in coverage? Here are some major differences:

Issue

New Orleans

Kentucky

People

Poor African-Americans

Poor whites

TV video availability

All major networks and news agencies have operations

No major media outlets in affected area

Governor / White House

Different political parties

Same political party

Density

Heavy, therefore many people

Sparse, therefore fewer people

Tourism

Many visitors annually

Fewer annual visitors, therefore not as many people nationally relate to area

Devastation

Floods generate negative impulses and responses

Ice storms produce “currier & Ives” Christmas-like pictures

The difference comes down to the race card. In both situations the predominant race of the people affected is different from the race of the President.

Media is reluctant to focus on Caucasians as being disenfranchised yet many organizations, media outlets, and politicians are quick to point out perceived or actual racism when it come to minorities.

Using the race card is very dangerous. It leads to comparisons such as those shown above and hypocrisy abounds.

Cultures are only brought together when the focus is kept on non-divisive issues. The homeless, the poor, those affected by illness, the aged, and other cultural distinctions should be the focused because the divisive issues of race and religion run across them – not equally in impact but equally in emotion.

About MBC Global
MBC Global is an international organization based near Detroit, Michigan, dedicated solely to increasing cultural knowledge and awareness. MBC Global, a division of Max Impact Corporation, offers training programs, employee assessments, project management, and business development emphasizing the many cultures flavoring the world. For more information about MBC Global, send an email to [email protected] or visit www.mbcglobal.org.

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