The Forsaken

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Great natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina do indeed "wash away the surface of society, the settled way things have been done." In one sense, they remind us of our common vulnerabilities. As Sari Lankan tsunami victim Nimal Premasiri said of the American hurricane victims, "God has made us equals in birth, life and death." Yet such disasters also "expose the underlying power structures, the injustices, the patterns of corruption and unacknowledged inequalities." In the past week, the media has been slow to acknowledge the sharp inequalities revealed in Katrina's wake. Yesterday, CNN correspondent Jack Cafferty criticized his colleagues for ignoring the "elephant in the room" -- "the race and economic class of most of the victims the media hasn't discussed much at all." In truth, the images from the Superdome and from across the Gulf Coast of mostly poor and black Americans did much to reinforce the "growing sense that race and class are the unspoken markers of who got out and who got stuck." AMERICAN PROGRESS REPORT

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