Discuss some of the factors that increased the vulnerability of African-American residents (Henkel article)

Discuss some of the factors that increased the vulnerability of African-American residents (Henkel article)

After reading either of the two articles ?Institutional Discrimination, Individual Racism, and Hurricane
Katrina? by Henkel, et al. or ?In the Eye of the Storm: How the Government and Private Response to
Hurricane Katrina Failed Latinos? by Mu?iz, write a short essay that responds to the following:
Discuss some of the factors that increased the vulnerability of African-American residents (Henkel article)
or Latino residents (Mu?iz article) of New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina, including
their ability to anticipate and prepare for the storm, cope with the impacts, and eventually recover.
Your essay should be roughly 1-2 pages in length (single spacing). All essays should be clear, concise,
and well-organized, and demonstrate a solid understanding of the reading. All essays should be
proofread thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors. Direct quotes (if used) should include page
numbers in the citation.
Submit your essay via the ?Submit Short Essay 6 Here? link, found under the ?Short Essays? tab on
Blackboard no later than 1:30PM (the start of class) on Thursday 9/29. NO late essays will be accepted.

Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2006, pp. 99–124
Institutional Discrimination, Individual Racism,
and Hurricane Katrina
Kristin E. Henkel*
University of Connecticut
John F. Dovidio
University of Connecticut
Samuel L. Gaertner
University of Delaware
Since Hurricane Katrina made landfall, there have been accusations of blatant
racism in the government?s response, on the one hand, and adamant denials that
race played any role at all, on the other. We propose that both perspectives reflect
oversimplifications of the processes involved, and the resulting debate may obscure
a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the situation. Specifically, we discuss
the potential roles of institutional discrimination, subtle contemporary biases,
and racial mistrust. The operation of these processes is illustrated with events
associated with Hurricane Katrina. In addition, drawing on these principles, we
offer suggestions for present and future recovery efforts.
You?d have to go back to slavery, or the burning of Black towns, to find a comparable event
that has affected Black people this way.
?Darnell M. Hunt, a sociologist and head of the
African American Studies Department at UCLA
I think all of those remarks were disgusting, to be perfectly frank because, of course,
President Bush cares about everyone in our country, and I know that.
?Laura Bush, First Lady
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kristin E. Henkel, Department
of Psychology, 406 Babbidge Road, Unit 1020, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-1020
[e-mail: Kristin.Henkel@gmail.com].
99
C 2006 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
100 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and
had particular impact on its Black community in August of 2005, accusations
pertaining to the lack of preparation for the storm and for the plight of its victims
were heatedly exchanged. Racism was one focus of the debate. On one side, it
was asserted that the inadequate response to the storm and the flooding was due
to obvious racism. This sentiment is evident in a statement by Kanye West, a
prominent rap artist, who said, ?George Bush doesn?t care about Black people?
(Broder, Wilgoren, & Alford, 2005). In response and in contrast, others such as
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice adamantly denied that race had anything to
do with Hurricane Katrina or the government?s response to it. She claimed that
?nobody, especially the President, would have left people unattended on the basis
of race? (Broder et al., 2005).
From a social psychological perspective, both sides appeared to oversimplify
the situation, and polemics obscured the potential roles of historical factors, institutional
discrimination, and contemporary subtle forms of individual racism,
all of which likely played parts in the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the government?s
response to it. This article examines some events and decisions related
to Hurricane Katrina, and explores how historical and contemporary orientations
toward Blacks in the United States likely shaped responses in a way that produced
particularly tragic consequences for Black residents of New Orleans without overt
antipathy or intention of decision makers. We emphasize the importance of how
the past shapes contemporary race relations. In the next section, we provide a brief
overview of the forces that contribute to racism in the United States. We then apply
these psychological insights into the dynamics of racism to understand the events
and decisions that produced uniquely devastating outcomes for Blacks in New
Orleans. We conclude by exploring the implications of this analysis for specific
interventions in New Orleans and for policy more generally.
It is impossible to know whether the processes we propose were operating
among the protagonists; we can only point out that the immenseness of the devastation
created tremendous confusion and communication problems and, further,
show that these are precisely the conditions most conducive to the activation of
these processes. We have prepared this article in the interests of helping people
sort through the different perspectives on these tragic events and to sensitize policy
makers, officials, and future rescuers to how racial factors can play a role during
such catastrophes.
Understanding Racism
Although discussions and accusations of racism in the popular media typically
portray racism in its most obvious and blatant form, within psychology it
is considered to be much more complex and multifaceted. Individual bias is just
one aspect, but one that involves several components: prejudice, stereotypes, and
Racism and Katrina 101
discrimination (Dovidio, Brigham, Johnson, & Gaertner, 1996). Prejudice is commonly
defined as an unfair negative attitude toward a social group or a person
perceived to be a member of that group. A stereotype is a generalization of beliefs
about a group or its members that is unjustified because it reflects faulty
thought processes or overgeneralization, factual incorrectness, inordinate rigidity,
an inappropriate pattern of attribution, or a rationalization for a prejudiced attitude
or discriminatory behavior. Discrimination is defined as a selectively unjustified
negative behavior toward members of the target group that involves denying ?individuals
or groups of people equality of treatment which they may wish? (Allport,
1954, p. 51).
Even though racism relates directly to the coordinated interaction of stereotypes,
prejudice, and discrimination, it involves more than individual biases. Racism
reflects institutional, social, and cultural influences, as well. According to Jones
(1997), at its very essence racism involves not only negative attitudes and beliefs,
but also the social power that translates them into disparate outcomes that disadvantage
other races or offer unique advantages to one?s own race at the expense of
others. As Feagin and Vera (1995) explain, ?Racism is more than a matter of individual
scattered episodes of discrimination,? it represents a widely accepted racist
ideology and the power to deny other racial groups the ?dignity, opportunities, freedoms,
and rewards that are available to one?s group through a socially organized set
of ideas, attitudes, and practices? (p. 7). Thus, while the study of prejudice and discrimination
focuses on the roles of individuals and interpersonal processes, racism
encompasses institutional, social, and cultural processes that serve as an influential
backdrop to individual-level perspectives. Institutional racism, for example,
refers to the intentional or unintentional manipulation or toleration of institutional
policies (e.g., poll taxes, admissions criteria) that unfairly restrict the opportunities
of particular groups of people, and cultural racism involves beliefs about the superiority
of one?s racial cultural heritage over that of other races and the expression
of this belief in individual actions or institutional policies (Jones, 1997).
Moreover, both contemporary personal and institutional racism often operate
without Whites? intention to harm members of minority groups or even awareness
by Whites of their personal role in disadvantaging Blacks. For instance, applying
policies that seem just and egalitarian based on immediate principles of fairness
in a narrow sense may systematically disadvantage groups that for historical reasons
have fewer contemporary resources (e.g., wealth or education) that would
allow them to benefit fully from these policies and procedures (Dovidio, Mann, &
Gaertner, 1989). Thus, Whites? historical discrimination against Blacks produces
a legacy of disparity that may be perpetuated even by well-intentioned people
who endorse and exercise current policies that have disparate consequences for
Whites and Blacks. Furthermore, cultural racism gives priority to the values of
the majority group, which are embedded in widely accepted cultural ideologies
(Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Policies, laws, and procedures that reflect these values
102 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
may be subtly distorted in ways that enhance the disadvantage of minority groups
and the advantage of the majority group. Thus, when a racial group and its members
have been historically disadvantaged, the consequences are broad and severe,
reproducing themselves across time (Jones, 1997).
Consistent with this perspective, statistics show that racial disparities in several
key quality-of-life areas have stubbornly persisted over the years. For example,
the median family income for Blacks is less than two-thirds that of Whites, a
differential that has widened over the past two decades (Blank, 2001). Also, on
several basic measures of health and well-being, the racial gap either has been
maintained or in some cases (e.g., infant mortality) has widened substantially over
the past 50 years (Jenkins, 2001). Furthermore, recent studies suggest that over
their lifespans, Black and White patients receive unequal treatment from medical
practitioners, resulting in less favorable health-related outcomes for Blacks (see
Smedley, Stith, & Nelson, 2003). Steady trends toward residential integration that
were observed from 1950 to 1970 have slowed in the South and stagnated in the
North (Massey, 2001). Massey (2001) observed, ?Either in absolute terms or in
comparison to other groups, Blacks remain a very residentially segregated and
spatially isolated people? (p. 403). Both cultural racism and institutional racism
are subtle, difficult-to-detect processes that are at least partially responsible for
these outcomes.
Like institutional and cultural racism, individual prejudice is also commonly
manifested subtly, often without conscious awareness or intention. Many contemporary
approaches to individual racism acknowledge the persistence of overt,
intentional forms of racism but also consider the role of automatic or unconscious
processes and indirect expressions of bias (McConahay, 1986; Sears, Henry, &
Kosterman, 2000). We have explored the nature of Whites? racial attitudes to
understand the duality between the generally expressed nonprejudicial views of
Whites in contemporary U.S. society and the persistence of significant racial disparity
and discrimination. Our work built upon the conceptual framework of Kovel
(1970), who distinguished between dominative and aversive racism. Dominative
racism is the ?old-fashioned,? blatant form. According to Kovel, the dominative
racist is the ?type who acts out bigoted beliefs?he represents the open flame of
racial hatred? (p. 54). Aversive racists, in comparison, sympathize with victims
of past injustice, support the principle of racial equality, and regard themselves as
nonprejudiced, but, at the same time, possess negative feelings and beliefs about
Blacks, which may be unconscious. Aversive racism is hypothesized to be qualitatively
different than blatant, ?old-fashioned,? racism, is more indirect and subtle,
and is presumed to characterize the racial attitudes of most well-educated and
liberal Whites in the United States. Nevertheless, the consequences of aversive
racism (e.g., the restriction of economic opportunity) are as significant and pernicious
as those of the traditional, overt form (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2004; Gaertner
& Dovidio, 1986).
Racism and Katrina 103
A critical aspect of the aversive racism framework is the conflict between
Whites? denial of personal prejudice and underlying unconscious negative feelings
toward, and beliefs about, Blacks. Because of current cultural values, most Whites
have strong convictions concerning fairness, justice, and racial equality. However,
because of a range of normal cognitive, motivational, and sociocultural processes
that promote intergroup biases, most Whites also develop some negative feelings
toward or beliefs about Blacks, of which they are unaware or from which they try
to dissociate their nonprejudiced self-images. These negative feelings that aversive
racists have toward Blacks do not reflect open hostility or hatred. Instead, aversive
racists? reactions may involve discomfort, uneasiness, disgust, and sometimes fear.
That is, they find Blacks ?aversive,? while at the same time finding any suggestion
that they might be prejudiced ?aversive? as well. Thus, aversive racism may involve
more positive reactions to Whites than to Blacks, reflecting a pro-ingroup rather
than an anti-outgroup orientation, thereby avoiding the stigma of overt bigotry
while protecting a nonprejudiced self-image.
The negative feelings and beliefs that underlie aversive racism are hypothesized
to be rooted in normal, often adaptive, psychological processes. These processes
fundamentally involve the consequences of social categorization. People
inherently categorize others into groups, typically in ways that delineate the ?we?s
from the ?they?s? (Hamilton & Trolier, 1986). The mere categorization of people
into groups, even on the basis of arbitrary assignment, is sufficient to initiate (often
spontaneously, according to Otten & Moskowitz, 2000) an overall evaluative bias,
in which people categorized as members of one?s own group are evaluated more
favorably than are those perceived as members of another group (Brewer, 1979;
Tajfel, 1970).
The aversive racism framework also helps to identify when discrimination
against Blacks and other minority groups will or will not occur. Whereas oldfashioned
racists exhibit a direct and overt pattern of discrimination, aversive
racists? actions may appear more variable and inconsistent. Sometimes they discriminate
(manifesting their negative feelings), and sometimes they do not
(reflecting their egalitarian beliefs). Our research has provided a framework for
understanding this pattern of discrimination.
Because aversive racists consciously recognize and endorse egalitarian values
and because they truly aspire to be nonprejudiced, they will not discriminate in
situations with strong social norms when discrimination would be obvious to others
and to themselves. Specifically, when people are presented with a situation in which
the normatively appropriate response is clear, in which right and wrong are clearly
defined, aversive racists will not discriminate against Blacks. In these contexts,
aversive racists will be especially motivated to avoid feelings, beliefs, and behaviors
that could be associated with racist intent. Wrongdoing, which would directly
threaten their nonprejudiced self-image, would be too costly. However, because
aversive racists still possess feelings of uneasiness, these feelings will eventually
104 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
be expressed, but they will be expressed in subtle, indirect, and rationalizable ways.
For instance, discrimination will occur in situations in which normative structure
is weak, when the guidelines for appropriate behavior are vague, or when the basis
for judgment is ambiguous or confusing. In addition, discrimination will occur
when an aversive racist can justify or rationalize a negative response or a failure
to respond favorably on the basis of some factor other than race. Under these
circumstances, Whites unintentionally may engage in behaviors that ultimately
harm Blacks but that allow Whites to maintain their self-image as nonprejudiced
and that insulate them from recognizing that their behavior is not color blind.
Frequently, this discrimination does not manifest itself in purposeful harm or
injury, but rather in Whites? failure to help Blacks either in situations in which
the failure to help can be attributed to factors other than race (e.g., the belief
that someone else will intervene; Gaertner & Dovidio, 1977; Saucier, Miller, &
Doucet, 2005), or in the expression of particular positive responses to Whites
without overtly negative actions toward Blacks (Gaertner et al., 1996). Indeed, one
of the fundamental conclusions of the Report of the National Advisory Commission
on Civil Disorders (1968) over 35 years ago was that the disadvantaged status of
Blacks was due, in part, to insufficient efforts of Whites to help Blacks, not to their
efforts to harm them. This principle could likely be relevant to the inadequacy of
the official responses to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The subtlety of the contemporary expressions of institutional racism and individual
biases may contribute in significant ways to the racial mistrust, particularly
the distrust of Blacks for Whites that characterizes race relations within the United
States (Dovidio, Gaertner, Kawakami, & Hodson, 2002; Feagin & Sikes, 1994).
Blacks have a pervasive distrust for Whites that is reflected in high levels of perceived
discrimination and orientations toward basic social institutions (Dovidio
et al., 2002). Blacks report distrust of government leaders (Earl & Penney, 2001;
Shavers-Hornaday, Lynch, Burmeister, & Torner, 1997) and medical practitioners
and researchers (Armstrong, Crum, Reiger, Bennett, & Edwards, 1999; Davis &
Reid, 1999), as well as for authorities and policies in the areas of business and
education (Phelps, Taylor, & Gerard, 2001). They also tend to perceive conspiracies
by the government and Whites generally to harm Blacks (Crocker, Luhtanen,
Broadnax, & Blaine, 1999), reflected for example in the belief that AIDS was
purposefully created to infect Blacks.
At the same time, because of the absence of intention and awareness involved
in much of contemporary institutional and individual racism, Whites may be not
be sensitive to the extent of racial bias in the United States and particularly to
their own expressions of bias (Dovidio et al., 2002). As a consequence, Whites
and Blacks often express divergent views about their race relations. For instance,
in a Gallup Poll (Gallup, 2002) over three-quarters (79%) of Whites reported that
Blacks ?have as good a chance as Whites? to ?get any kind of job,? but less than
half (46%) of Blacks shared that view. Whereas the vast majority (69%) of Whites
Racism and Katrina 105
perceived that Blacks were treated ?the same as Whites,? the majority of Blacks
(59%) reported that Blacks were treated worse than Whites.
In the next section we illustrate the role of three of the basic processes in
contemporary racism?institutional racism, aversive racism, and racial mistrust?
in the context of Hurricane Katrina. We acknowledge that old-fashioned, blatant
racism still exists among Whites and that it continues to affect the lives and wellbeing
of Black Americans. It may even have played a role in the consequences
of Hurricane Katrina on Blacks in New Orleans. Nevertheless, we emphasize that
understanding the subtle dynamics of race relations, rather than being preoccupied
with assigning blame for intentional harm, may not only provide valuable insight
into the events and responses associated with Hurricane Katrina but also help guide
the development of new policies that can assist the residents of New Orleans and
prevent disparate harm to Blacks more generally in the future.
Understanding Responses to Hurricane Katrina
What happened during and after Hurricane Katrina was determined not only
by the present circumstances on the Gulf Coast but also by a history of discriminatory
policies and practices, particularly in the New Orleans area, that created
socioeconomic and consequent housing disparities along racial lines. In addition,
although the actions of decision makers during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath
may have appeared ?colorblind,? without particular sensitivity to the unique vulnerabilities
of the Black population these actions were subtly biased and produced
racially disparate consequences. Also, historical discrimination and contemporary
institutional racism eroded the trust of Blacks in New Orleans for the government,
which adversely influenced the effectiveness of interventions in the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina. In this section we therefore examine the influences of (a) historical
discrimination and contemporary institutional racism, (b) subtle bias at the
individual level, and (c) interracial distrust.
Historical Discrimination, Contemporary Institutional Racism,
and Hurricane Katrina
The impact by Hurricane Katrina was catastrophic by all measures. Besides
billions of dollars of damage and a premier city in the United States left largely
in ruins, between 1,100 and 1,700 people died and thousands more are still unaccounted
for (Burchfiel, 2006). In addition, Hurricane Katrina was particularly
devastating for Blacks. The flooding caused by the hurricane was particularly damaging
to Black neighborhoods, communities that were relatively uninsured against
floods. Thus, many of the Blacks in New Orleans who survived but were displaced
by Hurricane Katrina will not be able to afford to return to the city and to the areas
where they once lived.
106 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
To understand what happened during Katrina and why it had such a disproportionate
negative impact on Blacks, it is important to appreciate the local and
national historical context that surrounded the disaster. One of the most significant
legacies of slavery and historical discrimination in the United States is the
pervasive racial disparity in wealth (Blank, 2001). The median family income for
Whites in 1994 was $33,600 but was only $20,508 for Blacks. Blacks? incomes
were only 62% of Whites? incomes. Moreover, when net worth is considered,
weighing family financial assets and debts, the gap is even greater. In 1994, the
median net worth for Whites was $52,944 as compared to $6,723 for Blacks. That
is, Blacks? net worth was only 12% of Whites? net worth (Oliver & Shapiro, 2001).
Contemporary biases further contribute to racial disparities in income. Minority
groups have disproportionate difficulty finding jobs as compared to majority
groups: based on job audits across several countries, minority-group members
have a 23.7 percent chance of being discriminated against when applying for any
given job (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Even when Blacks find jobs, they are overrepresented
in jobs with poor working conditions, such as shift work, long hours,
repetitive tasks, physical dangers, and accident rates. They also have disproportionately
low mobility out of such low-end jobs (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Institutional
discrimination in the labor market only serves to increase discrepancies between
minority group and majority group members. Discrepancies in the labor market
lead to a disproportionate number of Blacks in positions of lower socioeconomic
status.
Race and racial disparities are particularly relevant for understanding the impact
of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. For example, in the context of Hurricane
Katrina, fewer available resources meant that it may not have been as easy for
Blacks, who were less likely to own cars, to leave the city. In addition, socioeconomic
differences influenced the vulnerability of Blacks, relative to Whites,
to the devastating consequences of Hurricane Katrina. Approximately one-third
of the population in the New Orleans metropolitan area is Black, ranking it 11th
in terms of percentage of Black population among over 300 major metropolitan
areas in the United States (CensusScope, 2006). The largest proportion of Blacks
is concentrated within the city limits, representing 68% of the population, many
of whom lived in the most low-lying areas?those most vulnerable to Hurricane
Katrina. In addition, New Orleans historically has been one of the cities with the
largest racial disparities in income and wealth. It showed the fourth largest increase
in racial disparity in income in recent years (Madden, 2000). The poverty rate in
New Orleans has been almost twice the national rate, and a third of Blacks and
half of the Black children in the city live below the poverty level (Hancock, 2005).
This racial gap in income and wealth contributed significantly to the particular
vulnerability of Blacks in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina.
One consequence of racial disparities in wealth and income, which is exacerbated
by contemporary housing discrimination, is the residential segregation of
Racism and Katrina 107
Blacks. In general, more affluent residential areas in the United States are predominantly,
if not virtually exclusively, White. Thus, access to housing in these
areas requires either pre-existing wealth or access to substantial housing loans. As
we noted earlier, the racial gap in wealth is even greater than the sizable income
disparity (Blank, 2001; Madden, 2000). Moreover, in part due to their lower wealth
and available assets, Blacks have more difficulty obtaining housing loans than do
Whites. In 2001, 36% of Black applicants, compared to 16% of White applicants,
were denied conventional home mortgage loans. However, even when controlling
for financial status, Blacks are denied home loans at rates much greater than
Whites. Among applicants who had incomes less than 50% of the income for the
local area, Blacks were denied loans 42.7% of the time, whereas Whites were
denied 29.6% of the time. Among the applicants who made more than 120% of
the median income, Blacks were denied 19.6% of the time, whereas Whites were
denied only 6.8% of the time (Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council,
2002).
Institutional policies, past and present, have further contributed to residential
segregation of Blacks and Whites. According to Seitles (1996), federal and state
governments have had large roles in creating and maintaining residential racial
segregation. For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) employed
practices that disadvantaged Blacks since it began in 1937. It used a practice
called ?red-lining? to determine risks associated with loans made to borrowers in
specific neighborhoods. ?Red-lining? involved rating neighborhoods such that the
neighborhoods in the top two categories were White, stable, and in demand. The
?high risk? categories involved Blacks. The third category was made up of working
class neighborhoods near Black residences, and the fourth category was Black
neighborhoods. As a result of this policy, most mortgages and home loans went to
middle class White families, promoting the racial segregation of neighborhoods,
particularly in urban areas. Further, the federal government used interstate highway
and urban renewal programs to increase segregation (Seitles, 1996).
In addition to institutional discrimination rooted in historical practices, contemporary
biases conspire to contribute further to residential segregation. Fischer
and Massey (2004) found that callers identifiable as Black were systematically
discriminated against relative to those identifiable as White in housing
inquiries, controlling for the socioeconomic status of the caller. The primary
exception to this effect was for Black neighborhoods. Blacks were more
likely than Whites to gain access to areas that already had high concentrations
of Blacks. Thus, institutional discrimination, along with individual discrimination,
tends to deny Blacks access to the more affluent neighborhoods, which are
much more readily available to Whites. Due to past and present institutional discrimination
in housing and mortgage processes, neighborhoods are segregated
and mortgages go to largely White neighborhoods, which only perpetuates the
problem.
108 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
The history of racial disparities in income and wealth and the influence of
institutional discrimination have had a significant influence on housing patterns
in New Orleans. New Orleans currently ranks 29th out of 318 metropolitan areas
examined in terms of the extent of neighborhood racial segregation (CensusScope,
2006), and the highest concentrations of Blacks have been in poorer areas. In addition,
as Laura Bush observed, in New Orleans poor Black neighborhoods were
on lower, undesirable, cheaper land that was particularly vulnerable to flooding.
As a function of where they lived, when Hurricane Katrina hit, many Black people
in New Orleans were already in a position to be disproportionately affected by
the disaster. For example, HUD-funded public housing units above Feret Street
West, which were occupied largely by Blacks, and New Orleans East were also
on lower ground more vulnerable to flooding than higher, more desirable neighborhoods.
Even areas that Blacks considered attractive locations within the city,
such as New Orleans East and the Lower Ninth Ward, were at environmental risk.
New Orleans East is home to middle income Blacks who left the urban center of
New Orleans in the 1960s and 1970s to build affordable homes in this area. The
homes were affordable because they were built on slabs and were located 2.5 to
4.0 feet below sea level. The Lower Ninth Ward is a neighborhood of primarily
modest houses, often the location of choice of musicians and multi-generational
Black families of the metropolitan area. It is situated in close proximity to an
industrial canal, which posed particular health risks during the flood. This neighborhood
was devastated by Hurricanes Betsy and Rita, as well as by Hurricane
Katrina.
In summary, the result of the institutional discrimination in New Orleans as
outlined here is multifaceted. Because of discriminatory housing and mortgage
policies and practices, Blacks tended to live in more environmentally vulnerable
areas of the city. The discrepancies in socioeconomic status were exacerbated by
discrimination in the labor market, which on the whole prevented Blacks from
gaining jobs, specifically ones of higher status, and prevented acquisition of material
resources, such as personal cars, that would have enabled them to evacuate
New Orleans for safer areas as Hurricane Katrina approached. When evacuation
orders were announced, a disproportionate number of Blacks in the areas most
at-risk lacked the resources to leave the city. ?Many of them were people without
automobiles,? explained Marc Morial, former mayor of New Orleans and now the
president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League. They were
?people who couldn?t afford a hotel room, who may have had no choice but to
remain. And that means that the people who remain in New Orleans are disproportionately
poor people, disproportionately African-American? (Ross, 2005). Past
and recent institutional discrimination on the basis of race thus contributed to the
particular vulnerability of the Black population of New Orleans to a disaster like
Hurricane Katrina.
Racism and Katrina 109
Subtle Bias and Response to Hurricane Katrina
The pattern of decision making, or lack of immediate responsiveness that characterized
the official response in the aftermath of Katrina, also reflects the kinds of
subtle biases associated with aversive racism. Given that Blacks were disproportionately
affected by the storm and flooding, any sluggishness and disorganization
on the part of government officials also disproportionately affected Black victims
of the disaster. Michael Brown, then the head of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA), learned about the starving crowds at the New
Orleans Convention Center from news media, rather than through official means
(CNN, 2005). In addition, no large-scale deliveries of supplies arrived at the
Convention Center until midday on September 2nd, four days after Katrina hit
(Callebs, Gupta, Lavendera, Lawrence, & Starr, 2005). In another example of
poor government response, housing for evacuees was held up because of a notably
slow bureaucratic process. Two weeks after Katrina, the Department of
Veteran Affairs offered up 7,000 single-family homes owned by the government
for the use of evacuees. The houses then went unused for three months
because of paperwork problems in FEMA (ABC News, 2006). Such unhurried
relief work on the part of the government disproportionately affected Blacks,
because the victims of Katrina were disproportionately Black in the first place.
This is an instance of institutional discrimination, since it disadvantaged a racial
group, even if there was no race conscious intentionality on the part of the
government.
In addition to the slow government response to the immediate needs of evacuees,
the recovery process continues to be remarkably slow. Whole areas of New
Orleans (particularly the poorer areas) have still not been made habitable. Demolition
in the Lower Ninth Ward to remove houses that were uninhabitable since
the hurricane did not begin until four months after the hurricane hit New Orleans
(Nossiter, 2006). At the time, there was still no power or running water in these
areas, which were primarily Black neighborhoods.
It was the responsibility of the individuals who made up the Department of
Homeland Security and FEMA to respond and to make decisions in times of crisis
such as that of Hurricane Katrina. As previously noted, one of the most common
forms that individual discrimination takes is a failure to help or intervene
rather than committing an intentional act of harm. In Hurricane Katrina, a swift,
well-organized, large response was critically important but did not occur. Michael
Chertoff, head of the Department of Homeland Security, acknowledged that FEMA
was overwhelmed by Hurricane Katrina and responded poorly (Hau, 2005). Ultimately,
the responsibility for such a response falls on the shoulders of individuals
rather than institutions. Knowing this, Chertoff oversaw the resignation of Michael
Brown due to FEMA?s response.
110 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
It cannot be stressed enough that it would be unfair, given the evidence, to say
that race was a conscious motivator in the government response. It is unreasonable
to assert that individuals knowingly made decisions based on race, but research
has shown that lack of empathy and perspective-taking may be the unintentional
factors operating behind a failure to help, especially across group membership.
One of our early experiments (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1977) demonstrated how
subtle racism could have operated unintentionally amidst the initial confusion, both
regarding the magnitude of the storm?s impact and who had primary responsibility
to respond among local, state, and national government agencies. As we indicated
earlier, this confusion and ambiguity are precisely the circumstances that are most
conducive to the influence of subtle biases. The scenario for the experiment was
inspired by an incident in the mid-1960s in which 38 people witnessed the stabbing
of a woman, Kitty Genovese, without a single bystander intervening to help. What
accounted for this behavior? Feelings of responsibility play a key role (see Darley
& Latan?e, 1968). If a person witnesses an emergency knowing that he or she is
the only bystander, that person bears all of the responsibility for helping and,
consequently, the likelihood of helping is high. In contrast, if a person witnesses
an emergency but believes that there are several other potential helpers, then the
responsibility for helping is shared. Moreover, if the person believes that someone
else either will help or has already helped, the likelihood of that bystander taking
action is significantly reduced.
We created a situation in the laboratory in which White participants witnessed
a staged emergency involving a Black or White victim. We led some of our participants
to believe that they would be the only witness to this emergency, while we led
others to believe that there would be two other White people who also witnessed
the emergency. These potential bystanders were isolated from one another in their
own cubicles and thus they could not easily communicate with each other. We
predicted that, because aversive racists do not act in overtly bigoted ways, Whites
would not discriminate when they were the only witness and the responsibility for
helping was clearly focused on them. However, we anticipated that Whites would
be much less helpful and would respond slower to Black than to White victims
when they had a justifiable excuse not to get involved, such as the belief that one
of the other witnesses would take responsibility for helping.
The results supported these predictions. When White participants believed
that they were the only witness, they helped both White and Black victims very
frequently (over 85% of the time) and equally quickly. There was no evidence of
blatant racism. In contrast, when they thought there were other witnesses and they
could rationalize not helping rapidly on the basis of some factor other than race
(e.g., the presence of other bystanders), they helped Black victims more slowly
and only half as often as White victims (37.5% vs. 75%).
Another feature of this study that is also revealing of what may have happened
during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina involved the monitoring of our
Racism and Katrina 111
participants? heart rates just prior to and following the emergency. Within the first
10 seconds after the emergency, participants who witnessed the emergency alone
showed equivalent patterns of heart-rate escalation for both the Black and the
White victims. Those who witnessed the emergency believing other bystanders
were present showed heart-rate escalation in response to the emergency involving
the White victim. In contrast, when the victim was Black and participants believed
other bystanders were present, participants? heart rates decelerated within
the initial 10-second period following the emergency.
However, the differing pattern of heart-rate responsiveness following the emergency
does not necessarily reflect differential concern for the well-being of the
Black and White victims in the presence of other bystanders. Rather, heart-rate
escalation has been linked to a preparation for action, whereas deceleration is
associated with the intake of information from the environment (Lacey & Lacey,
1974). Thus, amidst the confusion during the aftermath of the emergency, the initial
orientation of our participants was to take action when the victim was White. For
Black victims, however, the initial orientation was take in and process information
about what needs to be done?rather than rapidly doing something to alleviate the
problem.
Recently, Saucier et al. (2005) performed a meta-analysis of 31 experiments
conducted over the past 40 years that examined race and Whites? helping behavior,
specifically testing implications of the aversive racism framework. Across these
studies, they found ?that less help was offered to Blacks relative to Whites when
helpers had more attributional cues available for rationalizing the failure to help
with reasons having nothing to do with race? (p. 10). Moreover, the pattern of
discrimination against Blacks remained stable over time; the effect for year of
study was nonsignificant. Saucier et al. summarized, ?The results of this metaanalysis
generally supported the predictions for aversive racism theory? (p. 13),
and concluded, ?Is racism still a problem in our society? …Racism and expression
of discrimination against Blacks can and will exist as long as individuals harbor
negativity toward Blacks at the implicit level? (p. 14).
During an emergency such as that presented by Hurricane Katrina, this differential
pattern of initial, visceral responsiveness as well as the observed pattern of
actual intervention for Black and White victims in our experiment suggest some
unintentional processes by which local, state, and national authorities may well
have responded quite differently than they did in the aftermath of the storm?had
New Orleans been inhabited by White rather than by Black citizens.
The Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response
to Hurricane Katrina (2006) identified several junctures where a lack of
decisiveness to intervene had tragic consequences, particularly for Blacks, in
New Orleans. The reports states, ?The failure of local, state, and federal governments
to respond more effectively to Katrina?which had been predicted for
many years, and forecast with startling accuracy for 5 days?demonstrates that
112 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
whatever improvements have been made to our capacity to respond to natural or
man-made disasters, four and half years after 9/11, we are still not fully prepared?
(p. 1). Despite adequate warning 56 hours before landfall, orders for mandatory
evacuation of the most vulnerable areas?those inhabited disproportionately by
Blacks?were delayed until 19 hours before landfall. The report concluded, ?The
failure to order timely mandatory evacuation led to deaths, thousands of dangerous
rescues, and horrible conditions for those who remained? (p. 2). In addition,
investigation found that subsequent decisions at the highest levels of government,
which showed a lack of responsiveness to the events as they transpired, had substantial
consequences: ?The White House failed to de-conflict varying damage
assessments and discounted information that ultimately proved accurate? (p. 3).
It is under conditions such as conflicting information and ambiguity (Dovidio
& Gaertner, 2000; Hodson, Dovidio, & Gaertner, 2002) that aversive racism influences
decision making in ways that ultimately disadvantage Blacks. Further,
consistent with the aversive racism framework, the report of the Bipartisan Committee
contrasted the response of decision makers at more remote sites with those
in positions of immediate responsibility. The report observed, ?The Select Committee
identified failures at all levels of government that significantly undermined
and detracted from the heroic efforts of first-responders… those who didn?t flinch,
who took matters into their own hands when bureaucratic inertia was causing death,
injury, and suffering? (p. 1).
Racial Distrust and Consequences for Hurricane Katrina
We have discussed the mistrust that Blacks generally feel for Whites and the
government (Crocker et al., 1999; Dovidio et al., 2002) and the inconsistencies
in how Blacks and Whites see race relations in the United States (Gallup, 2002).
Racial tensions in New Orleans were particularly high before Hurricane Katrina
hit and continue to be high in the aftermath. New Orleans? history of racial tension
was reflected in Blacks? more negative attitudes than Whites? toward the police,
particularly among those for whom their race was a more important part of their
identity (Howell, Perry, & Vile, 2004). Hancock (2005) reported, ?The tensions of
race have always defined the best and worst of this city … many residents say that
their future hinges on bridging race and class divisions that many say had gotten
deeper, uglier, and angrier in the months before the storm.? At the beginning of
2005, three White bouncers of a nightclub suffocated a young Black man to death
during a New Year?s celebration. This event escalated Black anger, distrust, and
guardedness. Glanton (2005) described the racial tensions in New Orleans in the
months before Katrina hit. In an interview with Glanton, Rev. Norwood Thompson,
president of the New Orleans chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference, remarked, ?New Orleans is still part of the deep South, and what happened
that night was pure racism. Even though we have a Black mayor and a Black
Racism and Katrina 113
police chief, racism has been very flagrant. African-Americans have been asleep,
but now we are in an uproar.? A month later a Black teenager was killed ?in a hail
of more than 100 bullets? fired by Jefferson County police officers (Treadway,
2005).
One possible consequence of this racial divide in New Orleans is the lack of coordination
and responsiveness that characterized evacuation efforts for Hurricane
Katrina. The Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and
Response to Hurricane Katrina (2006) noted, ?Two of Louisiana?s most populous
localities, New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, declared mandatory evacuations late
or not at all? (p. 103). These areas have particularly large Black populations.
Although over a million Louisiana residents evacuated their homes in private vehicles,
the Select Bipartisan Committee also found ?that thousands of residents,
particularly in New Orleans, did not evacuate or seek shelter, but remained in their
homes? (p. 64). It is likely that Blacks? distrust of government contributed to their
decisions not to heed the warnings to evacuate. Moreover, the government?s decision
not to make evacuation mandatory in some of the most vulnerable areas,
which had substantial Black populations, permitted this hesitancy to have disastrous
consequences. By the time the severity of the crisis became clear to many of
the Black residents of New Orleans, they were unable to evacuate the areas successfully
because they did not own cars and public transportation and volunteer
transportation were too limited at the time.
The history of racial discrimination and disparity in New Orleans went hand
and hand with deep racial distrust. Indeed, in New Orleans there has been a strong
history of a connection between racism and flooding. One of the most common
oversights in the dispute over Katrina is this history of racism in New Orleans.
It is crucial to understand how history led New Orleans to its precedent of racial
mistrust that existed long before the hurricane and the flooding. In 1927, with
floodwaters all along the Mississippi River rising, the government dynamited a
levee south of New Orleans to relieve pressure on the city proper, flooding land
owned by rural and poor farmers. Most of those affected were never compensated,
despite government promises (Leopold, 2005). In 1965, when Hurricane
Betsy hit New Orleans, Black communities were once again flooded and there
were rumors that again, the levee had been breached intentionally (Ross, 2005).
These historical factors are too important to be overlooked or underestimated.
With a precedent of the government intentionally breaching levees followed by
rumors that it had happened again in 1965, there were strong and deeply rooted
feelings of mistrust among the Black community in New Orleans. When mass
destruction and flooding occurred in New Orleans again in 2005, many in the
Black community questioned the government?s willingness to respond. Racial
mistrust is only compounded by the other historical factors and discrimination
that have led to racial discrepancies in housing, labor, socioeconomic status, and
education.
114 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
In addition, actions during the crisis caused by Hurricane Katrina have fueled
racial suspicions and exacerbated racial mistrust. For instance, on September 1,
2005, 3 days after Hurricane Katrina struck, thousands of evacuees who were
fleeing the wretched conditions of the city and the Convention Center marched
toward a bridge that would take them to safety. They were met at the bridge by
the Gretna Police, who brandished rifles. The evacuees recount hearing gunshots
(Hamilton, 2006) as the police prevented them from crossing the bridge and turned
them back to the city. Two visitors trying to escape New Orleans wrote about their
experiences: ?We questioned why we couldn?t cross the bridge anyway, especially
as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West
Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdome
in their city? (Bradshaw & Slonsky, 2005). The police chief explained that ?his
town … feared for its safety from a tide of evacuees? (Sharokman, 2005). As
Sharokman (2005) observed, ?And because most of the evacuees were Black and
most of Gretna is White, the episode has stirred charges of racism? (p. 1A). This
incident remains a symbol of racism and the fundamental racial divide in New
Orleans. Six months after the incident, Rev. Jesse Jackson, who organized the
protest, led a demonstration by ?a celebrity-studded, almost exclusively AfricanAmerican
crowd of thousands who marched across the bridge, which they consider
a symbol of injustice in post-Katrina New Orleans? (Donze & Filosa, 2006, Metro,
p. 1).
Given a national context in which Blacks distrust Whites and the government
(e.g., Earl & Penny, 2001), in combination with clearly differential outcomes
for majority and minority group members (e.g., Sidanius & Pratto, 1999), and
a history of racism and flooding specifically in New Orleans, it is not surprising
that racial distrust played a role in response to Hurricane Katrina and the
recovery process. Hancock (2005) described the deepened distrust of Blacks in
the aftermath of Katrina. He found that many Blacks felt the events were ?too
coincidental,? and wrote, ?There are other, more sinister conspiracy theories.
Many Black residents believe that the Ninth Ward and other Black neighborhoods
were deliberately flooded in order to save the tourist areas and White business
areas.?
This distrust has been fueled by questions about the recovery and rebuilding
efforts. Efforts to return Blacks to their communities have appeared to be particularly
slow. Three months after Hurricane Katrina hit landfall, only 16% of the
trailers and other forms of temporary housing requested, which would have primarily
benefited those originally from low-income housing areas, had been delivered
(Hancock, 2005). Despite similar damage, residents of Lakeview, a predominantly
White community, were allowed to ?look and leave,? a key step in the recovery
process, in which residents are allowed to return temporarily to their homes during
the day, long before residents in the primarily Black area of the Lower Ninth Ward
were given this opportunity, ostensibly because the neighborhood was still flooded
Racism and Katrina 115
(Scott, 2005). In fact, bulldozing of the Lower Ninth Ward was commissioned prior
to informing residents, and it took the action of local activists to stop the bulldozing
plan.
Government actions in the rebuilding process have further fueled Blacks?
perceptions of conspiracies against them. Hancock (2005) observed, ?In Katrina?s
aftermath, rumors circulated that the area [the Ninth Ward] would be bulldozed and
returned to swampland or handed to rich, White developers.? The Mayor?s Bring
New Orleans Back Commission explicitly proposed ?greenspaces? in New Orleans
East, which would displace residents in this traditionally Black neighborhood, and
recommended turning over historically Black neighborhoods and public housing
areas not substantially damaged by Hurricane Katrina to White urban developers.
Professor John Logan, a sociologist who studied the impact of Hurricane Katrina,
concluded that New Orleans could lose up to 80% of its Black population if people
displaced by the storm are not allowed to return to live in their neighborhoods
(Smith, 2006). It is not surprising that three-quarters of Blacks reported feeling
anger in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (Saad, 2005).
Policy Implications
Although much of the public debate about the devastating consequences of
Hurricane Katrina, particularly for Blacks in New Orleans, has focused on whether
racism was involved, we have attempted to show that a focus on old-fashioned,
overt racism likely misrepresents the dynamics in the situation. Overt racism might
have played a role, but subtle and unintentional biases seemed to be a much more
significant influence. Moreover, the actions of Whites and Blacks both contributed
to varying degrees and in various ways to the lack of responsiveness that characterized
the preparation for the hurricane and the response in its aftermath. Specifically,
three key processes that we identified are institutional racism, subtle contemporary
prejudice, and racial distrust. We further propose that understanding how these
forces shaped the way both Whites and Blacks responded to the threat and damage
of Hurricane Katrina can help to guide policies that can facilitate effective recovery
and enhance emergency efforts in the future.
One of the most basic implications of our analysis is that the circumstances
of Blacks in New Orleans at the time Hurricane Katrina made landfall, which
made them especially vulnerable to flooding and which contributed to racial distrust,
were the result of historical discrimination and institutional racism. Because
race was central to these circumstances, interventions to address the consequences
of Hurricane Katrina and policies for future emergency situations cannot be colorblind.
Effective interventions and policies should consider the importance of
historical and contemporary racial disparities to the susceptibility of different
communities to harm, how racial biases may unintentionally influence the actions
of decision makers, and how race relations might influence the responses
116 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
of vulnerable groups to efforts to help. That is, the processes related to how New
Orleans got to this point need to be considered in a plan to reverse the devastating
consequences of these processes. We illustrate the application of these principles
with a recovery strategy that could meet these requirements.
It is important to establish trust for the recovery effort. Given Blacks? mistrust
for the government (Dovidio et al., 2002), some other more-trusted agency should
be chosen to work directly with citizens of New Orleans, with government sponsorship.
That is, while the government may provide financial and logistical support,
other organizations may be employed to deliver the assistance. For example, neighborhood
coalitions could be formed to meet this need and other organizations that
are already trusted in the community can provide additional assistance. To facilitate
the development of interracial trust and improve race relations, as outlined in
the Contact Hypothesis (Allport, 1954; Pettigrew, 1998), these coalitions should
include members of both Black and White communities. The efforts of Blacks and
Whites should involve personal interactions in which they are equal-status partners
in cooperative ventures with the support of both communities and the government
(Dovidio, Gaertner, & Kawakami, 2003).
In addition, the community coalitions with government support would then
be responsible for meeting the needs of storm victims not simply by giving money,
which could foster the dependency of residents on outside assistance, but by encouraging
the autonomy and agency of the storm victims themselves. For instance,
rebuilding programs might recruit members of the community as apprentices who
could acquire skills that would enable them to help others in the community in the
future. By addressing specific problems that are common among storm victims, it
would be possible to get the community members back on their feet more quickly
and effectively.
These skills that are acquired can provide either material assistance, such
as carpentry, or psychological help, such as social support, and information for
appropriate referrals. Besides the extensive damage to property, Hurricane Katrina
will have long-term adverse effects on victims? mental and physical health. A
recent report (Dewan, 2006) found that among storm victims, more than 50% of
female caregivers scored ?very low? on mental health screening exams, showing
signs of anxiety and depression in particular. Children are exhibiting symptoms of
behavioral and anxiety problems as well. Among children, 34% have asthma as
compared to 25% of the rest of the population and many of these children have gone
without prescription medication at some point since Katrina. Among adult victims,
50% have some kind of chronic condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or
cancer. Given these statistics, it is critical to provide access to medical and mental
health clinics. However, a 2001 Surgeon General?s report has shown that mistrust
of such clinics is prevalent among Black communities. We suggest establishing
a community council to help run the clinics and educate the communities about
services being offered to bolster trust.
Racism and Katrina 117
Other problems that need to be addressed are those of jobs and housing. Many
Katrina evacuees are currently fighting eviction from landlords who want to renovate
and raise prices (Kunzelman, 2006). In addition, evacuees may not have the
skills that they need to get jobs. Therefore, we propose that the recovery effort
involve job training, job placement, and housing placement programs. To counteract
the past segregation and discrimination that Blacks experienced, it would be
important for such programs to work to integrate job environments and facilitate
voluntary integration of neighborhoods. Because of the community organizations,
such intentional integration would be possible, since members of both Black and
White communities would both be responsible for training and placement.
Another problem that many evacuees have faced is that their children have
missed significant amounts of school (Dewan, 2006). Missing school only
exacerbates the effects of educational discrimination that many children of color
face, so it is critical for the children to catch up in school. This can be accomplished
through individual support, such as tutoring, or more general efforts, such
as extending the school year and expanding day care programs. Children can go
to day care while their parents are at work and receive tutoring if they have missed
significant school time. Members of the community can volunteer to provide day
care and to tutor. Since the program would be run through the community, parents
would not have the added stress of worrying about their children while they are at
work, and children would have the opportunity to continue with their schoolwork.
Although it will involve added community expense, extending the school year
will help students compensate for time and opportunities lost while schools were
closed, emphasize the priority of education, and reduce the cost of supervision of
school-age children in the summer for parents directly.
Programs addressing needs such as health care, job training and placement,
housing, and childcare are critical in the recovery process, but the process may be
overwhelming for many individuals who are trying to reestablish themselves. To
address this, we propose a mentorship or a sponsorship program where people who
are in the early stages of recovery are paired up with members of the community
who have been through the process already and can provide support and advice.
As people move through the process, they can then be in a position to mentor
others. Thus, efforts for recovery need to consider explicitly the particular needs
of victims, recognizing the historical legacy of racial biases and the potential for
contemporary subtle racial bias, and addressing these needs with race-sensitive
policies.
To some extent, neighborhood associations and charitable community organizations
are already carrying out many of the same strategies that we suggest. For
example, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is
helping residents recover financially from Hurricane Katrina and return to their
neighborhoods by cleaning out and gutting homes in low income neighborhoods
to reduce costs for homeowners. ACORN also holds regular housing workshops
118 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
to provide assistance with buying or building a home, getting rehabilitation loans,
applying for state aid, carrying out FEMA appeals, removing lead contamination,
and dealing with displacement from public housing (ACORN, 2006). Another
nonprofit group, Cityworks, is cataloguing the efforts of individual neighborhood
associations in an attempt to assess what has been done and what resources
these neighborhood associations still need. Cityworks, along with New Orleans
neighborhood associations and other nonprofit and governmental groups, recently
organized a ?Festival of Neighborhoods,? which was aimed at helping people rebuilding
from Katrina. Many of these organizations set up booths with information,
resources, and helpful items like fly and mice strips (Bazile, 2006).
In summary, the events in New Orleans related to Hurricane Katrina and its
aftermath illustrate the importance of understanding how historical race relations
and subtle and institutional racial bias can significantly influence what types of
efforts and policies can be effective for providing people the assistance they need.
Without a foundation of trust, formal government assistance programs may be met
with suspicion and resistance, compromising their effectiveness. As Nadler (2002;
see also Nadler & Halabi, 2006) noted, low power groups may resist offers of help,
even if it provides valuable material benefit, if it is perceived as reinforcing the control
of the high power group. Thus, volunteer groups and other nongovernmental
agencies are particularly important in the rebuilding of New Orleans.
Conclusions
Even if overt discrimination may not have played a role in the government?s
response to Hurricane Katrina, the fact that Blacks in New Orleans were disproportionately
affected by the disaster suggests that other, more subtle processes
were at work. These processes included contemporary personal prejudice, past
and present institutional discrimination, and cultural racism. In addition, these
processes combined to create a climate of racial distrust that served as a backdrop
for Katrina?s landfall. Although it is impossible to go back and change the
way Hurricane Katrina was handled initially, it is crucial that researchers, government
agencies, and people in positions of power learn from what happened there
and improve the recovery still in process as well as future disaster and recovery
efforts.
It is also critical to recognize that institutional and subtle forms of racism, and
even blatant racism, are not simply historical events but are also contemporary influences.
Racial biases are a formidable challenge in the rebuilding of New Orleans.
Institutional racism can take new forms, with apparently egalitarian policies having
adverse impact on race relations and opportunities for Blacks in the city. For example,
the government has further damaged its relationship with the Black community
in New Orleans by planning to tear down 5,000 apartments in public housing and
to replace them with mixed-income housing (Quigley, 2006). Although support
Racism and Katrina 119
for this likely more integrated housing seems to be a well-meaning and positive
step toward racial harmony, it would drastically reduce the amount of low-income
housing in New Orleans and displace a large number of Black residents from their
homes and, ultimately, from the city. Many of these apartments are part of buildings
that are repairable, like the Lafitte complex near the Faubourg Treme (Elie, 2006).
Displaced residents have filed a lawsuit against local and federal housing agencies,
saying that the agencies are keeping low-income Black families from returning to
their homes, which violates their civil rights (Filosa, 2006b). In this case, what
government officials may have thought was a positive step toward integration may
actually push or keep Blacks out of New Orleans.
The recovery of public education in New Orleans has also been controversial.
All but four of the city?s 128 public schools have been converted to charter
schools or taken over by state agencies. Although some residents find the charter
school system progressive, others are unhappy. For example, Louella Givens, New
Orleans? representative to the state?s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education,
has expressed concern about the amount of input communities will be able to
have on how their schools are run. Other residents believe that the charter school
system will result in more inequality (Filosa, 2006a). Thus, the reconstruction
of New Orleans illustrates the ways that apparently well-intentioned efforts and
government policies can alienate Blacks, limit their opportunities for housing, and
mute their voice in key institutions such as their schools. Without full consideration
of the long-term consequences of these actions, these efforts can enable
others with blatant racial motivations to exclude Blacks physically, politically, and
psychologically from the future of New Orleans.
Hurricane Katrina could have been and still can be a means for positive change
in New Orleans. It has created a turning point, where either racism can be eradicated
or an unfair history can be repeated. To this point, there have been mixed results
in New Orleans. Since Katrina, there has been a wave of activism in the city,
indicating that there is hope for a positive change (Bazile, 2006). Nevertheless,
problems in housing and education have further damaged the government?s image
(e.g., Elie, 2006).
More generally, after almost 250 years of racial inequality in the United States,
the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which disproportionately affected the lives of
Black citizens, could serve as a catalyst for leaders and policy makers in the United
States to commit themselves fully to addressing institutional and individual forms
of racism that continue to harm and restrict opportunities for millions of citizens.
If the United States is serious about eradicating racism and its consequences, it is
important to learn more about the dynamics of racial attitudes and their underlying
cognitive, emotional, and developmental processes. Moreover, it is important that
policy makers be made aware of these advances and incorporate them directly into
policy formulations. Thus, in addition to providing the financial support that is
necessary to address the immediate needs of victims of Hurricane Katrina, it is
120 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
also important to invest substantially, in terms of enhanced research funding, to
make the elimination of racism a national priority. Long-term national investments
to understand the basic processes of racism and discrimination and to facilitate
partnerships between scholars and policy makers can be critical in combating
racism, which can bring racial groups in the United States closer together rather
than pushing them further apart.
References
ABC News. (2006, January 13). Available housing for Katrina evacuees caught in federal red tape:
VA offered FEMA thousands of single-family homes; deal formalized four months after storm
hit. Retrieved January 13, 2006, from http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/HurricaneKatrina/story?id=
1503846.
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Retrieved July 7, 2006 from
http://www.acorn.org/index.php?id=10223.
Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Armstrong, T. D., Crum, L. D., Reiger, R. H., Bennett, T. A., & Edwards, L. J. (1999). Attitudes of
Africa Americans toward participation medical research. Journal of Applied Social Psychology,
29, 553?574.
Bazile, K. T. (2006, June 25). Celebrating teamwork: Residents and neighborhood groups share information
on rebuilding efforts?and have a little fun. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June
29, 2006 from http://www.nola.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-15/1151219042101580.xml?
NZNPMT&coll=1.
Blank, R. M. (2001). An overview of trends in social and economic well-being, by race. In N. J.
Smelser, W. J. Wilson, & F. Mitchell, F. (Eds.), Racial trends and their consequences (Vol. 1,
pp. 21?39). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Bradshaw, L., & Slonsky, L. B. (2005, September 5). Hurricane Katrina-Our Experiences. Retrieved
July 7, 2006 from http://sfsocialists.livejournal.com/3687.html.
Brewer, M. B. (1979). Ingroup bias in the minimal intergroup situation: A cognitive-motivational
analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 86, 307?324.
Broder, J. M., Wilgoren, J., & Alford, J. (2005, September 5). Storm and crisis: Racial tension; amid
criticism of federal efforts, charges of racism are lodged. New York Times, p. A9.
Burchfiel, N. (2006, January 13). Update: Statistics confirm earlier report on Katrina deaths.CNS News.
Retrieved May 7, 2006 from http://www.cnsnews.com/Nation/Archive/200601/NAT20060113a.
html.
Callebs, C., Gupta, S., Lavendera, E., Lawrence, C., & Starr, B. (2005, September 2). Convoys bring
relief to New Orleans: Refugees cheer envoys, Bush signs $10.5 billion aid package. CNN.
Retrieved April 25, 2006, from http://us.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/katrina.impact/index.html.
CensusScope. (2006). University of Michigan, Social Science Data Analysis Network, (2000: Segregation:
Dissimilarity Indices. Retrieved May 7, 2006, from the CensusScope website: http://www.
censusscope.org/us/rank dissimilarity white black.html.
CNN. (2005, September 2). The big disconnect on New Orleans: The official version; then there?s the
in-the-trenches version. Retrieved April 19, 2006, from http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/
katrina.response/index.html.
Crocker, J., Luhtanen, R., Broadnax, S., & Blaine, B. E. (1999). Belief in U.S. government conspiracies
against Blacks among Black and White college students: Powerlessness or system blame?
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 941?953.
Darley, J. M., & Latan?e, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 377?383.
Davis, S. M., & Reid, R. (1999). Practicing participatory research in American Indian communities.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 69S, 4, 755S?759S.
Racism and Katrina 121
Dewan, S. (2006, April 18). Evacuee study finds declining health. New York Times. Retrieved April 18,
2006 from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/18/us/nationalspecial/18health.html?ex=
1147320000&en=1c18f8a508471e51&ei=5070.
Donze, F., & Filosa, G. (2006, April 2). Bridge march hails justice, voter rights; Thousands join
Jesse Jackson in crossing river. The Times-Picayune, Metro, p. 1. Retrieved July 8, 2006 from
http:/ /web.lexis-nexis.com/universe/document? m=7e65e5db04cc42b210fbf69a1664dae1&
docnum=11&wchp=dGLbVtz-zSkVA& md5=baa1fcee5aa80ffba404c2ecb4fc5904.
Dovidio, J. F., Brigham, J., Johnson, B. T., & Gaertner, S. L. (1996). Stereotyping, prejudice, and
discrimination: Another look. In N. Macrae, C. Stangor, & M. Hewstone (Eds.), Stereotypes
and stereotyping (pp. 276?319). New York: Guilford.
Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2000). Aversive racism and selection decisions: 1989 and 1999.
Psychological Science, 11, 319?323.
Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2004). Aversive racism. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental
social psychology (Vol. 36, pp. 1?51). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Dovidio, J. F., Gaertner, S. L., & Kawakami, K. (2003). The contact hypothesis: The past, present, and
the future. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 6, 5?21.
Dovidio, J. F., Gaertner, S. L., Kawakami, K., & Hodson, G. (2002). Why can?t we just get along?
Interpersonal biases and interracial distrust. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology,
8, 88?102.
Dovidio, J. F., Mann, J., & Gaertner, S. L. (1989). Resistance to affirmative action: The implications
of aversive racism. In F. A. Blanchard & F. J. Crosby (Eds.), Affirmative action in perspective
(pp. 83?103). New York: Springer-Verlag.
Earl, C. E., & Penney, P. J. (2001). The significance of trust in the research consent process with
African Americans. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 23, 753?762.
Elie, L. (2006, June 16). HUD builds Katrina hall of shame. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 29,
2006 from http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-15/1150440448324
60.xml&coll=1.
Feagin, J. R., & Sikes, M. P. (1994). Living with racism: The Black middle-class experience. Boston,
MA: Beacon Press.
Feagin, F. R., & Vera, H. (1995). White racism: The basics. New York: Routledge.
Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. (2002). Nationwide summary statistics for the 2001
HMDA data fact sheet. Retrieved May 7, 2006 from http://www.ffiec.gov/hmcrpr/hm fs01.htm.
Filosa, G. (2006a, June 25). School leaders assail move to charters: Many at summit see it as invasion by
state. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 29, 2006 from http://www.nola.com/search/index.
ssf?/base/news-2/1151219470101580.xml?NSBED&coll=1.
Filosa, G. (2006b, June 28). Displaced residents file suit: Local, federal housing agencies face civil rights
allegations. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 29, 2006 from http://www.nola.com/search/
index.ssf?/base/news-15/1151476788163220.xml?NZNPMT&coll=1.
Fischer, M. J., & Massey, D. S. (2004). The ecology of racial discrimination. City and Community,
3(3), 221?241.
Gaertner, S. L., & Dovidio, J. F. (1977). The subtlety of White racism, arousal, and helping behavior.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 691?707.
Gaertner, S. L., & Dovidio, J. F. (1986). The aversive form of racism. In J. F. Dovidio & S. L. Gaertner
(Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination, and racism (pp. 61?89). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
Gaertner, S. L., Rust, M. C., Dovidio, J. F., Bachman, B. A., & Anastasio, P. A. (1996). The Contact
hypothesis: The role of a common ingroup identity on reducing intergroup bias among majority
and minority group members. In J. L. Nye & A. M. Brower (Eds.), What?s social about social
cognition? (pp. 230?360). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Gallup. (2002). Poll topics & trends: Race relations. Washington, DC: The Gallup Organization.
http:/www.gallup.com/poll/topics/race.asp.
Glanton, D. (2005, February 21). Death stokes racial tension in Big Easy.Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on
May 11, 2006, from http://web.lexis.nexis.com/universe/document? m=1084a6ceec5bb908ac
28e0f8e0c56741& docnum=1&wchp=dGLbVtb-zSkVA& md5=d9c9c411cd47dceaf1d3e679
ef2f073d.
122 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
Hamilton, B. (2006, February 26). Evacuees recount gunfire at bridge blockade; Gretna, Jeff officials
defend Katrina action. The Times-Picayune, National, p. 1. Retrieved July 8, 2006 from
http:/ /web.lexis-nexis.com/universe/document? m=7e65e5db04cc42b210fbf69a1664dae1&
docnum=17&wchp=dGLbVtz-zSkVA& md5=a2c52b77050a0db353ec86dbeb30f2cf.
Hamilton, D. L., & Trolier, T. K. (1986). Stereotypes and stereotyping: An overview of the cognitive
approach. In J. F. Dovidio & S. L. Gaertner (Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination, and racism (pp.
127?163). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
Hancock, L. (2005, December 7). In a city split and sinking before the storm, racial issues boil. The
Dallas Morning News. Retrieved on May 11, 2006, from http://web.lexis.nexis.com/universe/
document? m=949ad005ce157e5c25025cfedb3eea6f& docnum=1&wchp=dGLbVtb-zSkVA
& md5=ce9f19e57614fd49ea8dedc44a952643.
Hau, S. S. (2005, October 20). Chertoff vows to ?re-engineer? preparedness: Secretary recognizes flaws
in hurricane response but defends department. Washington Post, p. A2.
Hodson, G., Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2002). Processes in racial discrimination: Differential
weighting of conflicting information. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 460?471.
Howell, S. E., Perry, H. L., & Vile, M. (2004). Black/White cities: Evaluating the police. Political
Behavior, 26, 45?68.
Jenkins, R. R. (2001). The health of minority children in the year 2000: The role of government
programs in improving the health status of America?s children. In N. J. Smelser, W. J. Wilson,
& F. Mitchell, F. (Eds.),Racial trends and their consequences(Vol. 2, pp. 351?370). Washington,
DC: National Academy Press.
Jones, J. M. (1997). Prejudice and racism (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kovel, J. (1970). White racism: A psychohistory. New York: Pantheon.
Kunzelman, M. (2006, April 18). After Katrina, poor tenants fight eviction. Guardian Unlimited.
Retrieved April 18, 2006 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,,-5763810,00.html.
Lacey, B. C., & Lacey, J. I. (1974). Studies of heart rate and other bodily processes in sensorimotor
behavior. In P. A. Obrist, A. H. Black, J. Brenner, & L. V. DiCara (Eds.), Caridiovascular
psychophysiology (pp. 538?564). Chicago: Aldine.
Leopold, T. (2005, September 1). ?Louisiana 1927?: A song and a tragedy. CNN. Retrieved December
19, 2005, from http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/08/31/eye.ent.louisiana/.
Madden, J. F. (2000). Changes in Income Inequality within U.S. Metropolitan Areas. Kalamazoo, MI:
Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
Massey, D. S. (2001). Residential segregation and neighborhood conditions in U.S. metropolitan areas.
In N. J. Smelser, W. J. Wilson, & F. Mitchell, F. (Eds.), Racial trends and their consequences
(Vol. 1, pp. 391?434). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
McConahay, J. B. (1986). Modern racism, ambivalence, and the modern racism scale. In J. F. Dovidio
& S. L. Gaertner (Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination, and racism (pp. 91?125). Orlando, FL:
Academic Press.
Nadler, A. (2002). Inter-group helping relations as power relations: Helping relations as affirming or
challenging inter-group hierarchy. Journal of Social Issues, 58, 487?502.
Nadler, A., & Halabi, S. (2006). Intergroup helping as status relations: Effects of status stability ingroup
identification and type of help on receptivity to help from high status group. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 97-110.
Nossiter, A. (2006, March 7). Demolition of homes begins in sections of New Orleans. New York Times,
p. A12.
Oliver, M. L., & Shapiro, T. M. (2001). Wealth and racial stratification. In N. J. Smelser, W. J. Wilson, &
F. Mitchell, F. (Eds.), Racial trends and their consequences (Vol. 2, pp. 222?251). Washington,
DC: National Academy Press.
Otten, S., & Moskowitz, G. B. (2000). Evidence for implicit evaluative in-group bias: Affect-based
spontaneous trait inference in a minimal group paradigm. Journal of Experimental Social
Psychology, 36, 77?89.
Pettigrew, T. F. (1998). Intergroup Contact Theory. Annual Review of Psychology, 49, 65?85.
Phelps, R. E., Taylor, J. D., & Gerard, P. A. (2001). Cultural mistrust, ethnic identity, racial identity and
self-esteem among ethnically diverse black students. Journal of Counseling & Development,
79, 209?216.
Racism and Katrina 123
Quigley, B. (2006, June 23). No place like home. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 29, 2006 from
http:/ /www.nola.com/news/t-p/otheropinions/index.ssf?/base/news-0/115104297973020.xml
&coll=1.
Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. (1968). Washington, DC: Washington
Government Printing Office.
Ross, B. (2005, September 2). Katrina after math raises questions of race: Largely poor, Black survivors
deal with charges of lawlessness, loaded history. ABC News. Retrieved December 19, 2005,
from http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/HurricaneKatrina/story?id=1089382&page=1.
Saad, L. (2005, September 14). Blacks bash Bush for Katrina response. Gallup Poll News Service. Retrieved
May 11, 2006, from http://web.lexis.nexis.com/universe/document? m=64eb31361594
5542f8e79163963b457b& docnum=1&wchp=dGLbVtb-zSkVA& md5=bdaa8c7fa7043bf8c4
79c3ac46ae08d0.
Saucier, D. A., Miller, C. T., & Doucet, N. (2005). Differences in helping Whites and Blacks: A
meta-analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 9, 2?16.
Scott, R. T. (2005, September 28). Nagin says some residents can return Friday. The Times-Picayune.
Retrieved July 7, 2006 from http://www.nola.com/newslogs/breakingtp/index.ssf?/mtlogs/
nola Times-Picayune/archives/2005 09 28.html.
Sears, D. O., Henry, P. J., & Kosterman, R. (2000). Egalitarian values and contemporary racial politics.
In D. O. Sears, J. Sidanius, & L. Bobo (Eds.), Racialized politics: The debate about racism in
America (pp. 75?117). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Seitles, M. (1996). The perpetuation of residential racial segregation in America: Historical discrimination,
modern forms of exclusion, and inclusionary remedies. Journal of Land Use and
Environmental Law, 14(1), 1?30.
Select Bipartisan Committee toInvestigate the Preparation for andResponse to Hurricane Katrina.
(2006). A Failure of Initiative: The Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate
the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina. Retrieved May 7, 2006, from
http://katrina.house.gov/full katrina report.htm.
Sharockman, A. (2005, September 17). Neighboring town denied evacuees. St. Petersburg Times, National,
p. 1A. Retrieved July 8, 2006 from http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe/document? m=
ab7637d9749a572f7de2a64d85077bd8& docnum=60&wchp=dGLbVtz-zSkVA& md5=2a6c
8b08704ae5bbf00fb128f03382ed.
Shavers-Hornaday, V. L., Lynch, C. F., Burmeister, L. F., & Torner, J. C. (1997). Why are African
Americans underrepresented in medical research studies? Impediments to participation. Ethnicity
and Health, 2, 31?45.
Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (1999). Social dominance: An intergroup theory of social hierarchy and
oppression. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Smedley, B. D., Stith, A. Y., & Nelson, A. R. (Eds.) (2003). Unequal treatment: Confronting racial
and ethnic disparities in health care. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Smith, M. R. (2006, January 27). Study cites racial makeup of New Orleans. Associated Press Online.
Retrieved May 11, 2006, from http://web.lexis.nexis.com/universe/document? m=4bd229970d
2824f5c1f0be58a630e484& docnum=1&wchp=dGLbVtb-zSkVA& md5=9a553b535847095
6f7d1b62c5e315b4e.
Tajfel, H. (1970). Experiments in intergroup discrimination. Scientific American, 223, 96?102.
Treadway, J. (2005, June 27). Groups tackle recent racial tensions; Local organizations strive for harmony.
Times-Picayune (New Orleans). Retrieved on May 11, 2006, from http://web.lexis.nexis.
com/universe/document? m=f4b5ac9ab314380e42b64997ec7cc73e& docnum=1&wchp=dG
LbVtb-zSkVA& md5=47314d18311364c9c615747803f5fbea.
KRISTIN E. HENKEL is pursuing her Ph.D. in social psychology at the University
of Connecticut. Her current research interests are in stereotyping, prejudice, and
discrimination. She is a National Institute of Mental Health Fellow in the Social
Processes of AIDS Training Program supported by grant T32 MH074387.
124 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
JOHN F. DOVIDIO is professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut.
His research interests in social psychology are in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination;
social power and nonverbal communication; and altruism and helping.
He is the editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology?Interpersonal
Relations and Group Processes.
SAMUEL L. GAERTNER is professor of Psychology at the University of Delaware.
His research interests involve intergroup relations, with a primary focus on reducing
prejudice, discrimination and racism. He has served on the Council of the
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) and on the editorial
boards of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social
Psychology Bulletin, and Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. He and John
Dovidio shared SPSSI?s Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize in 1985 and in
1998 and the Kurt Lewin Award in 2004.

After reading either of the two articles ?Institutional Discrimination, Individual Racism, and Hurricane
Katrina? by Henkel, et al. or ?In the Eye of the Storm: How the Government and Private Response to
Hurricane Katrina Failed Latinos? by Mu?iz, write a short essay that responds to the following:
Discuss some of the factors that increased the vulnerability of African-American residents (Henkel article)
or Latino residents (Mu?iz article) of New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina, including
their ability to anticipate and prepare for the storm, cope with the impacts, and eventually recover.
Your essay should be roughly 1-2 pages in length (single spacing). All essays should be clear, concise,
and well-organized, and demonstrate a solid understanding of the reading. All essays should be
proofread thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors. Direct quotes (if used) should include page
numbers in the citation.
Submit your essay via the ?Submit Short Essay 6 Here? link, found under the ?Short Essays? tab on
Blackboard no later than 1:30PM (the start of class) on Thursday 9/29. NO late essays will be accepted.

Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2006, pp. 99–124
Institutional Discrimination, Individual Racism,
and Hurricane Katrina
Kristin E. Henkel*
University of Connecticut
John F. Dovidio
University of Connecticut
Samuel L. Gaertner
University of Delaware
Since Hurricane Katrina made landfall, there have been accusations of blatant
racism in the government?s response, on the one hand, and adamant denials that
race played any role at all, on the other. We propose that both perspectives reflect
oversimplifications of the processes involved, and the resulting debate may obscure
a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the situation. Specifically, we discuss
the potential roles of institutional discrimination, subtle contemporary biases,
and racial mistrust. The operation of these processes is illustrated with events
associated with Hurricane Katrina. In addition, drawing on these principles, we
offer suggestions for present and future recovery efforts.
You?d have to go back to slavery, or the burning of Black towns, to find a comparable event
that has affected Black people this way.
?Darnell M. Hunt, a sociologist and head of the
African American Studies Department at UCLA
I think all of those remarks were disgusting, to be perfectly frank because, of course,
President Bush cares about everyone in our country, and I know that.
?Laura Bush, First Lady
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kristin E. Henkel, Department
of Psychology, 406 Babbidge Road, Unit 1020, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-1020
[e-mail: Kristin.Henkel@gmail.com].
99
C 2006 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
100 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and
had particular impact on its Black community in August of 2005, accusations
pertaining to the lack of preparation for the storm and for the plight of its victims
were heatedly exchanged. Racism was one focus of the debate. On one side, it
was asserted that the inadequate response to the storm and the flooding was due
to obvious racism. This sentiment is evident in a statement by Kanye West, a
prominent rap artist, who said, ?George Bush doesn?t care about Black people?
(Broder, Wilgoren, & Alford, 2005). In response and in contrast, others such as
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice adamantly denied that race had anything to
do with Hurricane Katrina or the government?s response to it. She claimed that
?nobody, especially the President, would have left people unattended on the basis
of race? (Broder et al., 2005).
From a social psychological perspective, both sides appeared to oversimplify
the situation, and polemics obscured the potential roles of historical factors, institutional
discrimination, and contemporary subtle forms of individual racism,
all of which likely played parts in the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the government?s
response to it. This article examines some events and decisions related
to Hurricane Katrina, and explores how historical and contemporary orientations
toward Blacks in the United States likely shaped responses in a way that produced
particularly tragic consequences for Black residents of New Orleans without overt
antipathy or intention of decision makers. We emphasize the importance of how
the past shapes contemporary race relations. In the next section, we provide a brief
overview of the forces that contribute to racism in the United States. We then apply
these psychological insights into the dynamics of racism to understand the events
and decisions that produced uniquely devastating outcomes for Blacks in New
Orleans. We conclude by exploring the implications of this analysis for specific
interventions in New Orleans and for policy more generally.
It is impossible to know whether the processes we propose were operating
among the protagonists; we can only point out that the immenseness of the devastation
created tremendous confusion and communication problems and, further,
show that these are precisely the conditions most conducive to the activation of
these processes. We have prepared this article in the interests of helping people
sort through the different perspectives on these tragic events and to sensitize policy
makers, officials, and future rescuers to how racial factors can play a role during
such catastrophes.
Understanding Racism
Although discussions and accusations of racism in the popular media typically
portray racism in its most obvious and blatant form, within psychology it
is considered to be much more complex and multifaceted. Individual bias is just
one aspect, but one that involves several components: prejudice, stereotypes, and
Racism and Katrina 101
discrimination (Dovidio, Brigham, Johnson, & Gaertner, 1996). Prejudice is commonly
defined as an unfair negative attitude toward a social group or a person
perceived to be a member of that group. A stereotype is a generalization of beliefs
about a group or its members that is unjustified because it reflects faulty
thought processes or overgeneralization, factual incorrectness, inordinate rigidity,
an inappropriate pattern of attribution, or a rationalization for a prejudiced attitude
or discriminatory behavior. Discrimination is defined as a selectively unjustified
negative behavior toward members of the target group that involves denying ?individuals
or groups of people equality of treatment which they may wish? (Allport,
1954, p. 51).
Even though racism relates directly to the coordinated interaction of stereotypes,
prejudice, and discrimination, it involves more than individual biases. Racism
reflects institutional, social, and cultural influences, as well. According to Jones
(1997), at its very essence racism involves not only negative attitudes and beliefs,
but also the social power that translates them into disparate outcomes that disadvantage
other races or offer unique advantages to one?s own race at the expense of
others. As Feagin and Vera (1995) explain, ?Racism is more than a matter of individual
scattered episodes of discrimination,? it represents a widely accepted racist
ideology and the power to deny other racial groups the ?dignity, opportunities, freedoms,
and rewards that are available to one?s group through a socially organized set
of ideas, attitudes, and practices? (p. 7). Thus, while the study of prejudice and discrimination
focuses on the roles of individuals and interpersonal processes, racism
encompasses institutional, social, and cultural processes that serve as an influential
backdrop to individual-level perspectives. Institutional racism, for example,
refers to the intentional or unintentional manipulation or toleration of institutional
policies (e.g., poll taxes, admissions criteria) that unfairly restrict the opportunities
of particular groups of people, and cultural racism involves beliefs about the superiority
of one?s racial cultural heritage over that of other races and the expression
of this belief in individual actions or institutional policies (Jones, 1997).
Moreover, both contemporary personal and institutional racism often operate
without Whites? intention to harm members of minority groups or even awareness
by Whites of their personal role in disadvantaging Blacks. For instance, applying
policies that seem just and egalitarian based on immediate principles of fairness
in a narrow sense may systematically disadvantage groups that for historical reasons
have fewer contemporary resources (e.g., wealth or education) that would
allow them to benefit fully from these policies and procedures (Dovidio, Mann, &
Gaertner, 1989). Thus, Whites? historical discrimination against Blacks produces
a legacy of disparity that may be perpetuated even by well-intentioned people
who endorse and exercise current policies that have disparate consequences for
Whites and Blacks. Furthermore, cultural racism gives priority to the values of
the majority group, which are embedded in widely accepted cultural ideologies
(Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Policies, laws, and procedures that reflect these values
102 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
may be subtly distorted in ways that enhance the disadvantage of minority groups
and the advantage of the majority group. Thus, when a racial group and its members
have been historically disadvantaged, the consequences are broad and severe,
reproducing themselves across time (Jones, 1997).
Consistent with this perspective, statistics show that racial disparities in several
key quality-of-life areas have stubbornly persisted over the years. For example,
the median family income for Blacks is less than two-thirds that of Whites, a
differential that has widened over the past two decades (Blank, 2001). Also, on
several basic measures of health and well-being, the racial gap either has been
maintained or in some cases (e.g., infant mortality) has widened substantially over
the past 50 years (Jenkins, 2001). Furthermore, recent studies suggest that over
their lifespans, Black and White patients receive unequal treatment from medical
practitioners, resulting in less favorable health-related outcomes for Blacks (see
Smedley, Stith, & Nelson, 2003). Steady trends toward residential integration that
were observed from 1950 to 1970 have slowed in the South and stagnated in the
North (Massey, 2001). Massey (2001) observed, ?Either in absolute terms or in
comparison to other groups, Blacks remain a very residentially segregated and
spatially isolated people? (p. 403). Both cultural racism and institutional racism
are subtle, difficult-to-detect processes that are at least partially responsible for
these outcomes.
Like institutional and cultural racism, individual prejudice is also commonly
manifested subtly, often without conscious awareness or intention. Many contemporary
approaches to individual racism acknowledge the persistence of overt,
intentional forms of racism but also consider the role of automatic or unconscious
processes and indirect expressions of bias (McConahay, 1986; Sears, Henry, &
Kosterman, 2000). We have explored the nature of Whites? racial attitudes to
understand the duality between the generally expressed nonprejudicial views of
Whites in contemporary U.S. society and the persistence of significant racial disparity
and discrimination. Our work built upon the conceptual framework of Kovel
(1970), who distinguished between dominative and aversive racism. Dominative
racism is the ?old-fashioned,? blatant form. According to Kovel, the dominative
racist is the ?type who acts out bigoted beliefs?he represents the open flame of
racial hatred? (p. 54). Aversive racists, in comparison, sympathize with victims
of past injustice, support the principle of racial equality, and regard themselves as
nonprejudiced, but, at the same time, possess negative feelings and beliefs about
Blacks, which may be unconscious. Aversive racism is hypothesized to be qualitatively
different than blatant, ?old-fashioned,? racism, is more indirect and subtle,
and is presumed to characterize the racial attitudes of most well-educated and
liberal Whites in the United States. Nevertheless, the consequences of aversive
racism (e.g., the restriction of economic opportunity) are as significant and pernicious
as those of the traditional, overt form (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2004; Gaertner
& Dovidio, 1986).
Racism and Katrina 103
A critical aspect of the aversive racism framework is the conflict between
Whites? denial of personal prejudice and underlying unconscious negative feelings
toward, and beliefs about, Blacks. Because of current cultural values, most Whites
have strong convictions concerning fairness, justice, and racial equality. However,
because of a range of normal cognitive, motivational, and sociocultural processes
that promote intergroup biases, most Whites also develop some negative feelings
toward or beliefs about Blacks, of which they are unaware or from which they try
to dissociate their nonprejudiced self-images. These negative feelings that aversive
racists have toward Blacks do not reflect open hostility or hatred. Instead, aversive
racists? reactions may involve discomfort, uneasiness, disgust, and sometimes fear.
That is, they find Blacks ?aversive,? while at the same time finding any suggestion
that they might be prejudiced ?aversive? as well. Thus, aversive racism may involve
more positive reactions to Whites than to Blacks, reflecting a pro-ingroup rather
than an anti-outgroup orientation, thereby avoiding the stigma of overt bigotry
while protecting a nonprejudiced self-image.
The negative feelings and beliefs that underlie aversive racism are hypothesized
to be rooted in normal, often adaptive, psychological processes. These processes
fundamentally involve the consequences of social categorization. People
inherently categorize others into groups, typically in ways that delineate the ?we?s
from the ?they?s? (Hamilton & Trolier, 1986). The mere categorization of people
into groups, even on the basis of arbitrary assignment, is sufficient to initiate (often
spontaneously, according to Otten & Moskowitz, 2000) an overall evaluative bias,
in which people categorized as members of one?s own group are evaluated more
favorably than are those perceived as members of another group (Brewer, 1979;
Tajfel, 1970).
The aversive racism framework also helps to identify when discrimination
against Blacks and other minority groups will or will not occur. Whereas oldfashioned
racists exhibit a direct and overt pattern of discrimination, aversive
racists? actions may appear more variable and inconsistent. Sometimes they discriminate
(manifesting their negative feelings), and sometimes they do not
(reflecting their egalitarian beliefs). Our research has provided a framework for
understanding this pattern of discrimination.
Because aversive racists consciously recognize and endorse egalitarian values
and because they truly aspire to be nonprejudiced, they will not discriminate in
situations with strong social norms when discrimination would be obvious to others
and to themselves. Specifically, when people are presented with a situation in which
the normatively appropriate response is clear, in which right and wrong are clearly
defined, aversive racists will not discriminate against Blacks. In these contexts,
aversive racists will be especially motivated to avoid feelings, beliefs, and behaviors
that could be associated with racist intent. Wrongdoing, which would directly
threaten their nonprejudiced self-image, would be too costly. However, because
aversive racists still possess feelings of uneasiness, these feelings will eventually
104 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
be expressed, but they will be expressed in subtle, indirect, and rationalizable ways.
For instance, discrimination will occur in situations in which normative structure
is weak, when the guidelines for appropriate behavior are vague, or when the basis
for judgment is ambiguous or confusing. In addition, discrimination will occur
when an aversive racist can justify or rationalize a negative response or a failure
to respond favorably on the basis of some factor other than race. Under these
circumstances, Whites unintentionally may engage in behaviors that ultimately
harm Blacks but that allow Whites to maintain their self-image as nonprejudiced
and that insulate them from recognizing that their behavior is not color blind.
Frequently, this discrimination does not manifest itself in purposeful harm or
injury, but rather in Whites? failure to help Blacks either in situations in which
the failure to help can be attributed to factors other than race (e.g., the belief
that someone else will intervene; Gaertner & Dovidio, 1977; Saucier, Miller, &
Doucet, 2005), or in the expression of particular positive responses to Whites
without overtly negative actions toward Blacks (Gaertner et al., 1996). Indeed, one
of the fundamental conclusions of the Report of the National Advisory Commission
on Civil Disorders (1968) over 35 years ago was that the disadvantaged status of
Blacks was due, in part, to insufficient efforts of Whites to help Blacks, not to their
efforts to harm them. This principle could likely be relevant to the inadequacy of
the official responses to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The subtlety of the contemporary expressions of institutional racism and individual
biases may contribute in significant ways to the racial mistrust, particularly
the distrust of Blacks for Whites that characterizes race relations within the United
States (Dovidio, Gaertner, Kawakami, & Hodson, 2002; Feagin & Sikes, 1994).
Blacks have a pervasive distrust for Whites that is reflected in high levels of perceived
discrimination and orientations toward basic social institutions (Dovidio
et al., 2002). Blacks report distrust of government leaders (Earl & Penney, 2001;
Shavers-Hornaday, Lynch, Burmeister, & Torner, 1997) and medical practitioners
and researchers (Armstrong, Crum, Reiger, Bennett, & Edwards, 1999; Davis &
Reid, 1999), as well as for authorities and policies in the areas of business and
education (Phelps, Taylor, & Gerard, 2001). They also tend to perceive conspiracies
by the government and Whites generally to harm Blacks (Crocker, Luhtanen,
Broadnax, & Blaine, 1999), reflected for example in the belief that AIDS was
purposefully created to infect Blacks.
At the same time, because of the absence of intention and awareness involved
in much of contemporary institutional and individual racism, Whites may be not
be sensitive to the extent of racial bias in the United States and particularly to
their own expressions of bias (Dovidio et al., 2002). As a consequence, Whites
and Blacks often express divergent views about their race relations. For instance,
in a Gallup Poll (Gallup, 2002) over three-quarters (79%) of Whites reported that
Blacks ?have as good a chance as Whites? to ?get any kind of job,? but less than
half (46%) of Blacks shared that view. Whereas the vast majority (69%) of Whites
Racism and Katrina 105
perceived that Blacks were treated ?the same as Whites,? the majority of Blacks
(59%) reported that Blacks were treated worse than Whites.
In the next section we illustrate the role of three of the basic processes in
contemporary racism?institutional racism, aversive racism, and racial mistrust?
in the context of Hurricane Katrina. We acknowledge that old-fashioned, blatant
racism still exists among Whites and that it continues to affect the lives and wellbeing
of Black Americans. It may even have played a role in the consequences
of Hurricane Katrina on Blacks in New Orleans. Nevertheless, we emphasize that
understanding the subtle dynamics of race relations, rather than being preoccupied
with assigning blame for intentional harm, may not only provide valuable insight
into the events and responses associated with Hurricane Katrina but also help guide
the development of new policies that can assist the residents of New Orleans and
prevent disparate harm to Blacks more generally in the future.
Understanding Responses to Hurricane Katrina
What happened during and after Hurricane Katrina was determined not only
by the present circumstances on the Gulf Coast but also by a history of discriminatory
policies and practices, particularly in the New Orleans area, that created
socioeconomic and consequent housing disparities along racial lines. In addition,
although the actions of decision makers during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath
may have appeared ?colorblind,? without particular sensitivity to the unique vulnerabilities
of the Black population these actions were subtly biased and produced
racially disparate consequences. Also, historical discrimination and contemporary
institutional racism eroded the trust of Blacks in New Orleans for the government,
which adversely influenced the effectiveness of interventions in the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina. In this section we therefore examine the influences of (a) historical
discrimination and contemporary institutional racism, (b) subtle bias at the
individual level, and (c) interracial distrust.
Historical Discrimination, Contemporary Institutional Racism,
and Hurricane Katrina
The impact by Hurricane Katrina was catastrophic by all measures. Besides
billions of dollars of damage and a premier city in the United States left largely
in ruins, between 1,100 and 1,700 people died and thousands more are still unaccounted
for (Burchfiel, 2006). In addition, Hurricane Katrina was particularly
devastating for Blacks. The flooding caused by the hurricane was particularly damaging
to Black neighborhoods, communities that were relatively uninsured against
floods. Thus, many of the Blacks in New Orleans who survived but were displaced
by Hurricane Katrina will not be able to afford to return to the city and to the areas
where they once lived.
106 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
To understand what happened during Katrina and why it had such a disproportionate
negative impact on Blacks, it is important to appreciate the local and
national historical context that surrounded the disaster. One of the most significant
legacies of slavery and historical discrimination in the United States is the
pervasive racial disparity in wealth (Blank, 2001). The median family income for
Whites in 1994 was $33,600 but was only $20,508 for Blacks. Blacks? incomes
were only 62% of Whites? incomes. Moreover, when net worth is considered,
weighing family financial assets and debts, the gap is even greater. In 1994, the
median net worth for Whites was $52,944 as compared to $6,723 for Blacks. That
is, Blacks? net worth was only 12% of Whites? net worth (Oliver & Shapiro, 2001).
Contemporary biases further contribute to racial disparities in income. Minority
groups have disproportionate difficulty finding jobs as compared to majority
groups: based on job audits across several countries, minority-group members
have a 23.7 percent chance of being discriminated against when applying for any
given job (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Even when Blacks find jobs, they are overrepresented
in jobs with poor working conditions, such as shift work, long hours,
repetitive tasks, physical dangers, and accident rates. They also have disproportionately
low mobility out of such low-end jobs (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Institutional
discrimination in the labor market only serves to increase discrepancies between
minority group and majority group members. Discrepancies in the labor market
lead to a disproportionate number of Blacks in positions of lower socioeconomic
status.
Race and racial disparities are particularly relevant for understanding the impact
of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. For example, in the context of Hurricane
Katrina, fewer available resources meant that it may not have been as easy for
Blacks, who were less likely to own cars, to leave the city. In addition, socioeconomic
differences influenced the vulnerability of Blacks, relative to Whites,
to the devastating consequences of Hurricane Katrina. Approximately one-third
of the population in the New Orleans metropolitan area is Black, ranking it 11th
in terms of percentage of Black population among over 300 major metropolitan
areas in the United States (CensusScope, 2006). The largest proportion of Blacks
is concentrated within the city limits, representing 68% of the population, many
of whom lived in the most low-lying areas?those most vulnerable to Hurricane
Katrina. In addition, New Orleans historically has been one of the cities with the
largest racial disparities in income and wealth. It showed the fourth largest increase
in racial disparity in income in recent years (Madden, 2000). The poverty rate in
New Orleans has been almost twice the national rate, and a third of Blacks and
half of the Black children in the city live below the poverty level (Hancock, 2005).
This racial gap in income and wealth contributed significantly to the particular
vulnerability of Blacks in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina.
One consequence of racial disparities in wealth and income, which is exacerbated
by contemporary housing discrimination, is the residential segregation of
Racism and Katrina 107
Blacks. In general, more affluent residential areas in the United States are predominantly,
if not virtually exclusively, White. Thus, access to housing in these
areas requires either pre-existing wealth or access to substantial housing loans. As
we noted earlier, the racial gap in wealth is even greater than the sizable income
disparity (Blank, 2001; Madden, 2000). Moreover, in part due to their lower wealth
and available assets, Blacks have more difficulty obtaining housing loans than do
Whites. In 2001, 36% of Black applicants, compared to 16% of White applicants,
were denied conventional home mortgage loans. However, even when controlling
for financial status, Blacks are denied home loans at rates much greater than
Whites. Among applicants who had incomes less than 50% of the income for the
local area, Blacks were denied loans 42.7% of the time, whereas Whites were
denied 29.6% of the time. Among the applicants who made more than 120% of
the median income, Blacks were denied 19.6% of the time, whereas Whites were
denied only 6.8% of the time (Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council,
2002).
Institutional policies, past and present, have further contributed to residential
segregation of Blacks and Whites. According to Seitles (1996), federal and state
governments have had large roles in creating and maintaining residential racial
segregation. For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) employed
practices that disadvantaged Blacks since it began in 1937. It used a practice
called ?red-lining? to determine risks associated with loans made to borrowers in
specific neighborhoods. ?Red-lining? involved rating neighborhoods such that the
neighborhoods in the top two categories were White, stable, and in demand. The
?high risk? categories involved Blacks. The third category was made up of working
class neighborhoods near Black residences, and the fourth category was Black
neighborhoods. As a result of this policy, most mortgages and home loans went to
middle class White families, promoting the racial segregation of neighborhoods,
particularly in urban areas. Further, the federal government used interstate highway
and urban renewal programs to increase segregation (Seitles, 1996).
In addition to institutional discrimination rooted in historical practices, contemporary
biases conspire to contribute further to residential segregation. Fischer
and Massey (2004) found that callers identifiable as Black were systematically
discriminated against relative to those identifiable as White in housing
inquiries, controlling for the socioeconomic status of the caller. The primary
exception to this effect was for Black neighborhoods. Blacks were more
likely than Whites to gain access to areas that already had high concentrations
of Blacks. Thus, institutional discrimination, along with individual discrimination,
tends to deny Blacks access to the more affluent neighborhoods, which are
much more readily available to Whites. Due to past and present institutional discrimination
in housing and mortgage processes, neighborhoods are segregated
and mortgages go to largely White neighborhoods, which only perpetuates the
problem.
108 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
The history of racial disparities in income and wealth and the influence of
institutional discrimination have had a significant influence on housing patterns
in New Orleans. New Orleans currently ranks 29th out of 318 metropolitan areas
examined in terms of the extent of neighborhood racial segregation (CensusScope,
2006), and the highest concentrations of Blacks have been in poorer areas. In addition,
as Laura Bush observed, in New Orleans poor Black neighborhoods were
on lower, undesirable, cheaper land that was particularly vulnerable to flooding.
As a function of where they lived, when Hurricane Katrina hit, many Black people
in New Orleans were already in a position to be disproportionately affected by
the disaster. For example, HUD-funded public housing units above Feret Street
West, which were occupied largely by Blacks, and New Orleans East were also
on lower ground more vulnerable to flooding than higher, more desirable neighborhoods.
Even areas that Blacks considered attractive locations within the city,
such as New Orleans East and the Lower Ninth Ward, were at environmental risk.
New Orleans East is home to middle income Blacks who left the urban center of
New Orleans in the 1960s and 1970s to build affordable homes in this area. The
homes were affordable because they were built on slabs and were located 2.5 to
4.0 feet below sea level. The Lower Ninth Ward is a neighborhood of primarily
modest houses, often the location of choice of musicians and multi-generational
Black families of the metropolitan area. It is situated in close proximity to an
industrial canal, which posed particular health risks during the flood. This neighborhood
was devastated by Hurricanes Betsy and Rita, as well as by Hurricane
Katrina.
In summary, the result of the institutional discrimination in New Orleans as
outlined here is multifaceted. Because of discriminatory housing and mortgage
policies and practices, Blacks tended to live in more environmentally vulnerable
areas of the city. The discrepancies in socioeconomic status were exacerbated by
discrimination in the labor market, which on the whole prevented Blacks from
gaining jobs, specifically ones of higher status, and prevented acquisition of material
resources, such as personal cars, that would have enabled them to evacuate
New Orleans for safer areas as Hurricane Katrina approached. When evacuation
orders were announced, a disproportionate number of Blacks in the areas most
at-risk lacked the resources to leave the city. ?Many of them were people without
automobiles,? explained Marc Morial, former mayor of New Orleans and now the
president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League. They were
?people who couldn?t afford a hotel room, who may have had no choice but to
remain. And that means that the people who remain in New Orleans are disproportionately
poor people, disproportionately African-American? (Ross, 2005). Past
and recent institutional discrimination on the basis of race thus contributed to the
particular vulnerability of the Black population of New Orleans to a disaster like
Hurricane Katrina.
Racism and Katrina 109
Subtle Bias and Response to Hurricane Katrina
The pattern of decision making, or lack of immediate responsiveness that characterized
the official response in the aftermath of Katrina, also reflects the kinds of
subtle biases associated with aversive racism. Given that Blacks were disproportionately
affected by the storm and flooding, any sluggishness and disorganization
on the part of government officials also disproportionately affected Black victims
of the disaster. Michael Brown, then the head of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA), learned about the starving crowds at the New
Orleans Convention Center from news media, rather than through official means
(CNN, 2005). In addition, no large-scale deliveries of supplies arrived at the
Convention Center until midday on September 2nd, four days after Katrina hit
(Callebs, Gupta, Lavendera, Lawrence, & Starr, 2005). In another example of
poor government response, housing for evacuees was held up because of a notably
slow bureaucratic process. Two weeks after Katrina, the Department of
Veteran Affairs offered up 7,000 single-family homes owned by the government
for the use of evacuees. The houses then went unused for three months
because of paperwork problems in FEMA (ABC News, 2006). Such unhurried
relief work on the part of the government disproportionately affected Blacks,
because the victims of Katrina were disproportionately Black in the first place.
This is an instance of institutional discrimination, since it disadvantaged a racial
group, even if there was no race conscious intentionality on the part of the
government.
In addition to the slow government response to the immediate needs of evacuees,
the recovery process continues to be remarkably slow. Whole areas of New
Orleans (particularly the poorer areas) have still not been made habitable. Demolition
in the Lower Ninth Ward to remove houses that were uninhabitable since
the hurricane did not begin until four months after the hurricane hit New Orleans
(Nossiter, 2006). At the time, there was still no power or running water in these
areas, which were primarily Black neighborhoods.
It was the responsibility of the individuals who made up the Department of
Homeland Security and FEMA to respond and to make decisions in times of crisis
such as that of Hurricane Katrina. As previously noted, one of the most common
forms that individual discrimination takes is a failure to help or intervene
rather than committing an intentional act of harm. In Hurricane Katrina, a swift,
well-organized, large response was critically important but did not occur. Michael
Chertoff, head of the Department of Homeland Security, acknowledged that FEMA
was overwhelmed by Hurricane Katrina and responded poorly (Hau, 2005). Ultimately,
the responsibility for such a response falls on the shoulders of individuals
rather than institutions. Knowing this, Chertoff oversaw the resignation of Michael
Brown due to FEMA?s response.
110 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
It cannot be stressed enough that it would be unfair, given the evidence, to say
that race was a conscious motivator in the government response. It is unreasonable
to assert that individuals knowingly made decisions based on race, but research
has shown that lack of empathy and perspective-taking may be the unintentional
factors operating behind a failure to help, especially across group membership.
One of our early experiments (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1977) demonstrated how
subtle racism could have operated unintentionally amidst the initial confusion, both
regarding the magnitude of the storm?s impact and who had primary responsibility
to respond among local, state, and national government agencies. As we indicated
earlier, this confusion and ambiguity are precisely the circumstances that are most
conducive to the influence of subtle biases. The scenario for the experiment was
inspired by an incident in the mid-1960s in which 38 people witnessed the stabbing
of a woman, Kitty Genovese, without a single bystander intervening to help. What
accounted for this behavior? Feelings of responsibility play a key role (see Darley
& Latan?e, 1968). If a person witnesses an emergency knowing that he or she is
the only bystander, that person bears all of the responsibility for helping and,
consequently, the likelihood of helping is high. In contrast, if a person witnesses
an emergency but believes that there are several other potential helpers, then the
responsibility for helping is shared. Moreover, if the person believes that someone
else either will help or has already helped, the likelihood of that bystander taking
action is significantly reduced.
We created a situation in the laboratory in which White participants witnessed
a staged emergency involving a Black or White victim. We led some of our participants
to believe that they would be the only witness to this emergency, while we led
others to believe that there would be two other White people who also witnessed
the emergency. These potential bystanders were isolated from one another in their
own cubicles and thus they could not easily communicate with each other. We
predicted that, because aversive racists do not act in overtly bigoted ways, Whites
would not discriminate when they were the only witness and the responsibility for
helping was clearly focused on them. However, we anticipated that Whites would
be much less helpful and would respond slower to Black than to White victims
when they had a justifiable excuse not to get involved, such as the belief that one
of the other witnesses would take responsibility for helping.
The results supported these predictions. When White participants believed
that they were the only witness, they helped both White and Black victims very
frequently (over 85% of the time) and equally quickly. There was no evidence of
blatant racism. In contrast, when they thought there were other witnesses and they
could rationalize not helping rapidly on the basis of some factor other than race
(e.g., the presence of other bystanders), they helped Black victims more slowly
and only half as often as White victims (37.5% vs. 75%).
Another feature of this study that is also revealing of what may have happened
during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina involved the monitoring of our
Racism and Katrina 111
participants? heart rates just prior to and following the emergency. Within the first
10 seconds after the emergency, participants who witnessed the emergency alone
showed equivalent patterns of heart-rate escalation for both the Black and the
White victims. Those who witnessed the emergency believing other bystanders
were present showed heart-rate escalation in response to the emergency involving
the White victim. In contrast, when the victim was Black and participants believed
other bystanders were present, participants? heart rates decelerated within
the initial 10-second period following the emergency.
However, the differing pattern of heart-rate responsiveness following the emergency
does not necessarily reflect differential concern for the well-being of the
Black and White victims in the presence of other bystanders. Rather, heart-rate
escalation has been linked to a preparation for action, whereas deceleration is
associated with the intake of information from the environment (Lacey & Lacey,
1974). Thus, amidst the confusion during the aftermath of the emergency, the initial
orientation of our participants was to take action when the victim was White. For
Black victims, however, the initial orientation was take in and process information
about what needs to be done?rather than rapidly doing something to alleviate the
problem.
Recently, Saucier et al. (2005) performed a meta-analysis of 31 experiments
conducted over the past 40 years that examined race and Whites? helping behavior,
specifically testing implications of the aversive racism framework. Across these
studies, they found ?that less help was offered to Blacks relative to Whites when
helpers had more attributional cues available for rationalizing the failure to help
with reasons having nothing to do with race? (p. 10). Moreover, the pattern of
discrimination against Blacks remained stable over time; the effect for year of
study was nonsignificant. Saucier et al. summarized, ?The results of this metaanalysis
generally supported the predictions for aversive racism theory? (p. 13),
and concluded, ?Is racism still a problem in our society? …Racism and expression
of discrimination against Blacks can and will exist as long as individuals harbor
negativity toward Blacks at the implicit level? (p. 14).
During an emergency such as that presented by Hurricane Katrina, this differential
pattern of initial, visceral responsiveness as well as the observed pattern of
actual intervention for Black and White victims in our experiment suggest some
unintentional processes by which local, state, and national authorities may well
have responded quite differently than they did in the aftermath of the storm?had
New Orleans been inhabited by White rather than by Black citizens.
The Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response
to Hurricane Katrina (2006) identified several junctures where a lack of
decisiveness to intervene had tragic consequences, particularly for Blacks, in
New Orleans. The reports states, ?The failure of local, state, and federal governments
to respond more effectively to Katrina?which had been predicted for
many years, and forecast with startling accuracy for 5 days?demonstrates that
112 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
whatever improvements have been made to our capacity to respond to natural or
man-made disasters, four and half years after 9/11, we are still not fully prepared?
(p. 1). Despite adequate warning 56 hours before landfall, orders for mandatory
evacuation of the most vulnerable areas?those inhabited disproportionately by
Blacks?were delayed until 19 hours before landfall. The report concluded, ?The
failure to order timely mandatory evacuation led to deaths, thousands of dangerous
rescues, and horrible conditions for those who remained? (p. 2). In addition,
investigation found that subsequent decisions at the highest levels of government,
which showed a lack of responsiveness to the events as they transpired, had substantial
consequences: ?The White House failed to de-conflict varying damage
assessments and discounted information that ultimately proved accurate? (p. 3).
It is under conditions such as conflicting information and ambiguity (Dovidio
& Gaertner, 2000; Hodson, Dovidio, & Gaertner, 2002) that aversive racism influences
decision making in ways that ultimately disadvantage Blacks. Further,
consistent with the aversive racism framework, the report of the Bipartisan Committee
contrasted the response of decision makers at more remote sites with those
in positions of immediate responsibility. The report observed, ?The Select Committee
identified failures at all levels of government that significantly undermined
and detracted from the heroic efforts of first-responders… those who didn?t flinch,
who took matters into their own hands when bureaucratic inertia was causing death,
injury, and suffering? (p. 1).
Racial Distrust and Consequences for Hurricane Katrina
We have discussed the mistrust that Blacks generally feel for Whites and the
government (Crocker et al., 1999; Dovidio et al., 2002) and the inconsistencies
in how Blacks and Whites see race relations in the United States (Gallup, 2002).
Racial tensions in New Orleans were particularly high before Hurricane Katrina
hit and continue to be high in the aftermath. New Orleans? history of racial tension
was reflected in Blacks? more negative attitudes than Whites? toward the police,
particularly among those for whom their race was a more important part of their
identity (Howell, Perry, & Vile, 2004). Hancock (2005) reported, ?The tensions of
race have always defined the best and worst of this city … many residents say that
their future hinges on bridging race and class divisions that many say had gotten
deeper, uglier, and angrier in the months before the storm.? At the beginning of
2005, three White bouncers of a nightclub suffocated a young Black man to death
during a New Year?s celebration. This event escalated Black anger, distrust, and
guardedness. Glanton (2005) described the racial tensions in New Orleans in the
months before Katrina hit. In an interview with Glanton, Rev. Norwood Thompson,
president of the New Orleans chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference, remarked, ?New Orleans is still part of the deep South, and what happened
that night was pure racism. Even though we have a Black mayor and a Black
Racism and Katrina 113
police chief, racism has been very flagrant. African-Americans have been asleep,
but now we are in an uproar.? A month later a Black teenager was killed ?in a hail
of more than 100 bullets? fired by Jefferson County police officers (Treadway,
2005).
One possible consequence of this racial divide in New Orleans is the lack of coordination
and responsiveness that characterized evacuation efforts for Hurricane
Katrina. The Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and
Response to Hurricane Katrina (2006) noted, ?Two of Louisiana?s most populous
localities, New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, declared mandatory evacuations late
or not at all? (p. 103). These areas have particularly large Black populations.
Although over a million Louisiana residents evacuated their homes in private vehicles,
the Select Bipartisan Committee also found ?that thousands of residents,
particularly in New Orleans, did not evacuate or seek shelter, but remained in their
homes? (p. 64). It is likely that Blacks? distrust of government contributed to their
decisions not to heed the warnings to evacuate. Moreover, the government?s decision
not to make evacuation mandatory in some of the most vulnerable areas,
which had substantial Black populations, permitted this hesitancy to have disastrous
consequences. By the time the severity of the crisis became clear to many of
the Black residents of New Orleans, they were unable to evacuate the areas successfully
because they did not own cars and public transportation and volunteer
transportation were too limited at the time.
The history of racial discrimination and disparity in New Orleans went hand
and hand with deep racial distrust. Indeed, in New Orleans there has been a strong
history of a connection between racism and flooding. One of the most common
oversights in the dispute over Katrina is this history of racism in New Orleans.
It is crucial to understand how history led New Orleans to its precedent of racial
mistrust that existed long before the hurricane and the flooding. In 1927, with
floodwaters all along the Mississippi River rising, the government dynamited a
levee south of New Orleans to relieve pressure on the city proper, flooding land
owned by rural and poor farmers. Most of those affected were never compensated,
despite government promises (Leopold, 2005). In 1965, when Hurricane
Betsy hit New Orleans, Black communities were once again flooded and there
were rumors that again, the levee had been breached intentionally (Ross, 2005).
These historical factors are too important to be overlooked or underestimated.
With a precedent of the government intentionally breaching levees followed by
rumors that it had happened again in 1965, there were strong and deeply rooted
feelings of mistrust among the Black community in New Orleans. When mass
destruction and flooding occurred in New Orleans again in 2005, many in the
Black community questioned the government?s willingness to respond. Racial
mistrust is only compounded by the other historical factors and discrimination
that have led to racial discrepancies in housing, labor, socioeconomic status, and
education.
114 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
In addition, actions during the crisis caused by Hurricane Katrina have fueled
racial suspicions and exacerbated racial mistrust. For instance, on September 1,
2005, 3 days after Hurricane Katrina struck, thousands of evacuees who were
fleeing the wretched conditions of the city and the Convention Center marched
toward a bridge that would take them to safety. They were met at the bridge by
the Gretna Police, who brandished rifles. The evacuees recount hearing gunshots
(Hamilton, 2006) as the police prevented them from crossing the bridge and turned
them back to the city. Two visitors trying to escape New Orleans wrote about their
experiences: ?We questioned why we couldn?t cross the bridge anyway, especially
as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West
Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdome
in their city? (Bradshaw & Slonsky, 2005). The police chief explained that ?his
town … feared for its safety from a tide of evacuees? (Sharokman, 2005). As
Sharokman (2005) observed, ?And because most of the evacuees were Black and
most of Gretna is White, the episode has stirred charges of racism? (p. 1A). This
incident remains a symbol of racism and the fundamental racial divide in New
Orleans. Six months after the incident, Rev. Jesse Jackson, who organized the
protest, led a demonstration by ?a celebrity-studded, almost exclusively AfricanAmerican
crowd of thousands who marched across the bridge, which they consider
a symbol of injustice in post-Katrina New Orleans? (Donze & Filosa, 2006, Metro,
p. 1).
Given a national context in which Blacks distrust Whites and the government
(e.g., Earl & Penny, 2001), in combination with clearly differential outcomes
for majority and minority group members (e.g., Sidanius & Pratto, 1999), and
a history of racism and flooding specifically in New Orleans, it is not surprising
that racial distrust played a role in response to Hurricane Katrina and the
recovery process. Hancock (2005) described the deepened distrust of Blacks in
the aftermath of Katrina. He found that many Blacks felt the events were ?too
coincidental,? and wrote, ?There are other, more sinister conspiracy theories.
Many Black residents believe that the Ninth Ward and other Black neighborhoods
were deliberately flooded in order to save the tourist areas and White business
areas.?
This distrust has been fueled by questions about the recovery and rebuilding
efforts. Efforts to return Blacks to their communities have appeared to be particularly
slow. Three months after Hurricane Katrina hit landfall, only 16% of the
trailers and other forms of temporary housing requested, which would have primarily
benefited those originally from low-income housing areas, had been delivered
(Hancock, 2005). Despite similar damage, residents of Lakeview, a predominantly
White community, were allowed to ?look and leave,? a key step in the recovery
process, in which residents are allowed to return temporarily to their homes during
the day, long before residents in the primarily Black area of the Lower Ninth Ward
were given this opportunity, ostensibly because the neighborhood was still flooded
Racism and Katrina 115
(Scott, 2005). In fact, bulldozing of the Lower Ninth Ward was commissioned prior
to informing residents, and it took the action of local activists to stop the bulldozing
plan.
Government actions in the rebuilding process have further fueled Blacks?
perceptions of conspiracies against them. Hancock (2005) observed, ?In Katrina?s
aftermath, rumors circulated that the area [the Ninth Ward] would be bulldozed and
returned to swampland or handed to rich, White developers.? The Mayor?s Bring
New Orleans Back Commission explicitly proposed ?greenspaces? in New Orleans
East, which would displace residents in this traditionally Black neighborhood, and
recommended turning over historically Black neighborhoods and public housing
areas not substantially damaged by Hurricane Katrina to White urban developers.
Professor John Logan, a sociologist who studied the impact of Hurricane Katrina,
concluded that New Orleans could lose up to 80% of its Black population if people
displaced by the storm are not allowed to return to live in their neighborhoods
(Smith, 2006). It is not surprising that three-quarters of Blacks reported feeling
anger in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (Saad, 2005).
Policy Implications
Although much of the public debate about the devastating consequences of
Hurricane Katrina, particularly for Blacks in New Orleans, has focused on whether
racism was involved, we have attempted to show that a focus on old-fashioned,
overt racism likely misrepresents the dynamics in the situation. Overt racism might
have played a role, but subtle and unintentional biases seemed to be a much more
significant influence. Moreover, the actions of Whites and Blacks both contributed
to varying degrees and in various ways to the lack of responsiveness that characterized
the preparation for the hurricane and the response in its aftermath. Specifically,
three key processes that we identified are institutional racism, subtle contemporary
prejudice, and racial distrust. We further propose that understanding how these
forces shaped the way both Whites and Blacks responded to the threat and damage
of Hurricane Katrina can help to guide policies that can facilitate effective recovery
and enhance emergency efforts in the future.
One of the most basic implications of our analysis is that the circumstances
of Blacks in New Orleans at the time Hurricane Katrina made landfall, which
made them especially vulnerable to flooding and which contributed to racial distrust,
were the result of historical discrimination and institutional racism. Because
race was central to these circumstances, interventions to address the consequences
of Hurricane Katrina and policies for future emergency situations cannot be colorblind.
Effective interventions and policies should consider the importance of
historical and contemporary racial disparities to the susceptibility of different
communities to harm, how racial biases may unintentionally influence the actions
of decision makers, and how race relations might influence the responses
116 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
of vulnerable groups to efforts to help. That is, the processes related to how New
Orleans got to this point need to be considered in a plan to reverse the devastating
consequences of these processes. We illustrate the application of these principles
with a recovery strategy that could meet these requirements.
It is important to establish trust for the recovery effort. Given Blacks? mistrust
for the government (Dovidio et al., 2002), some other more-trusted agency should
be chosen to work directly with citizens of New Orleans, with government sponsorship.
That is, while the government may provide financial and logistical support,
other organizations may be employed to deliver the assistance. For example, neighborhood
coalitions could be formed to meet this need and other organizations that
are already trusted in the community can provide additional assistance. To facilitate
the development of interracial trust and improve race relations, as outlined in
the Contact Hypothesis (Allport, 1954; Pettigrew, 1998), these coalitions should
include members of both Black and White communities. The efforts of Blacks and
Whites should involve personal interactions in which they are equal-status partners
in cooperative ventures with the support of both communities and the government
(Dovidio, Gaertner, & Kawakami, 2003).
In addition, the community coalitions with government support would then
be responsible for meeting the needs of storm victims not simply by giving money,
which could foster the dependency of residents on outside assistance, but by encouraging
the autonomy and agency of the storm victims themselves. For instance,
rebuilding programs might recruit members of the community as apprentices who
could acquire skills that would enable them to help others in the community in the
future. By addressing specific problems that are common among storm victims, it
would be possible to get the community members back on their feet more quickly
and effectively.
These skills that are acquired can provide either material assistance, such
as carpentry, or psychological help, such as social support, and information for
appropriate referrals. Besides the extensive damage to property, Hurricane Katrina
will have long-term adverse effects on victims? mental and physical health. A
recent report (Dewan, 2006) found that among storm victims, more than 50% of
female caregivers scored ?very low? on mental health screening exams, showing
signs of anxiety and depression in particular. Children are exhibiting symptoms of
behavioral and anxiety problems as well. Among children, 34% have asthma as
compared to 25% of the rest of the population and many of these children have gone
without prescription medication at some point since Katrina. Among adult victims,
50% have some kind of chronic condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or
cancer. Given these statistics, it is critical to provide access to medical and mental
health clinics. However, a 2001 Surgeon General?s report has shown that mistrust
of such clinics is prevalent among Black communities. We suggest establishing
a community council to help run the clinics and educate the communities about
services being offered to bolster trust.
Racism and Katrina 117
Other problems that need to be addressed are those of jobs and housing. Many
Katrina evacuees are currently fighting eviction from landlords who want to renovate
and raise prices (Kunzelman, 2006). In addition, evacuees may not have the
skills that they need to get jobs. Therefore, we propose that the recovery effort
involve job training, job placement, and housing placement programs. To counteract
the past segregation and discrimination that Blacks experienced, it would be
important for such programs to work to integrate job environments and facilitate
voluntary integration of neighborhoods. Because of the community organizations,
such intentional integration would be possible, since members of both Black and
White communities would both be responsible for training and placement.
Another problem that many evacuees have faced is that their children have
missed significant amounts of school (Dewan, 2006). Missing school only
exacerbates the effects of educational discrimination that many children of color
face, so it is critical for the children to catch up in school. This can be accomplished
through individual support, such as tutoring, or more general efforts, such
as extending the school year and expanding day care programs. Children can go
to day care while their parents are at work and receive tutoring if they have missed
significant school time. Members of the community can volunteer to provide day
care and to tutor. Since the program would be run through the community, parents
would not have the added stress of worrying about their children while they are at
work, and children would have the opportunity to continue with their schoolwork.
Although it will involve added community expense, extending the school year
will help students compensate for time and opportunities lost while schools were
closed, emphasize the priority of education, and reduce the cost of supervision of
school-age children in the summer for parents directly.
Programs addressing needs such as health care, job training and placement,
housing, and childcare are critical in the recovery process, but the process may be
overwhelming for many individuals who are trying to reestablish themselves. To
address this, we propose a mentorship or a sponsorship program where people who
are in the early stages of recovery are paired up with members of the community
who have been through the process already and can provide support and advice.
As people move through the process, they can then be in a position to mentor
others. Thus, efforts for recovery need to consider explicitly the particular needs
of victims, recognizing the historical legacy of racial biases and the potential for
contemporary subtle racial bias, and addressing these needs with race-sensitive
policies.
To some extent, neighborhood associations and charitable community organizations
are already carrying out many of the same strategies that we suggest. For
example, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is
helping residents recover financially from Hurricane Katrina and return to their
neighborhoods by cleaning out and gutting homes in low income neighborhoods
to reduce costs for homeowners. ACORN also holds regular housing workshops
118 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
to provide assistance with buying or building a home, getting rehabilitation loans,
applying for state aid, carrying out FEMA appeals, removing lead contamination,
and dealing with displacement from public housing (ACORN, 2006). Another
nonprofit group, Cityworks, is cataloguing the efforts of individual neighborhood
associations in an attempt to assess what has been done and what resources
these neighborhood associations still need. Cityworks, along with New Orleans
neighborhood associations and other nonprofit and governmental groups, recently
organized a ?Festival of Neighborhoods,? which was aimed at helping people rebuilding
from Katrina. Many of these organizations set up booths with information,
resources, and helpful items like fly and mice strips (Bazile, 2006).
In summary, the events in New Orleans related to Hurricane Katrina and its
aftermath illustrate the importance of understanding how historical race relations
and subtle and institutional racial bias can significantly influence what types of
efforts and policies can be effective for providing people the assistance they need.
Without a foundation of trust, formal government assistance programs may be met
with suspicion and resistance, compromising their effectiveness. As Nadler (2002;
see also Nadler & Halabi, 2006) noted, low power groups may resist offers of help,
even if it provides valuable material benefit, if it is perceived as reinforcing the control
of the high power group. Thus, volunteer groups and other nongovernmental
agencies are particularly important in the rebuilding of New Orleans.
Conclusions
Even if overt discrimination may not have played a role in the government?s
response to Hurricane Katrina, the fact that Blacks in New Orleans were disproportionately
affected by the disaster suggests that other, more subtle processes
were at work. These processes included contemporary personal prejudice, past
and present institutional discrimination, and cultural racism. In addition, these
processes combined to create a climate of racial distrust that served as a backdrop
for Katrina?s landfall. Although it is impossible to go back and change the
way Hurricane Katrina was handled initially, it is crucial that researchers, government
agencies, and people in positions of power learn from what happened there
and improve the recovery still in process as well as future disaster and recovery
efforts.
It is also critical to recognize that institutional and subtle forms of racism, and
even blatant racism, are not simply historical events but are also contemporary influences.
Racial biases are a formidable challenge in the rebuilding of New Orleans.
Institutional racism can take new forms, with apparently egalitarian policies having
adverse impact on race relations and opportunities for Blacks in the city. For example,
the government has further damaged its relationship with the Black community
in New Orleans by planning to tear down 5,000 apartments in public housing and
to replace them with mixed-income housing (Quigley, 2006). Although support
Racism and Katrina 119
for this likely more integrated housing seems to be a well-meaning and positive
step toward racial harmony, it would drastically reduce the amount of low-income
housing in New Orleans and displace a large number of Black residents from their
homes and, ultimately, from the city. Many of these apartments are part of buildings
that are repairable, like the Lafitte complex near the Faubourg Treme (Elie, 2006).
Displaced residents have filed a lawsuit against local and federal housing agencies,
saying that the agencies are keeping low-income Black families from returning to
their homes, which violates their civil rights (Filosa, 2006b). In this case, what
government officials may have thought was a positive step toward integration may
actually push or keep Blacks out of New Orleans.
The recovery of public education in New Orleans has also been controversial.
All but four of the city?s 128 public schools have been converted to charter
schools or taken over by state agencies. Although some residents find the charter
school system progressive, others are unhappy. For example, Louella Givens, New
Orleans? representative to the state?s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education,
has expressed concern about the amount of input communities will be able to
have on how their schools are run. Other residents believe that the charter school
system will result in more inequality (Filosa, 2006a). Thus, the reconstruction
of New Orleans illustrates the ways that apparently well-intentioned efforts and
government policies can alienate Blacks, limit their opportunities for housing, and
mute their voice in key institutions such as their schools. Without full consideration
of the long-term consequences of these actions, these efforts can enable
others with blatant racial motivations to exclude Blacks physically, politically, and
psychologically from the future of New Orleans.
Hurricane Katrina could have been and still can be a means for positive change
in New Orleans. It has created a turning point, where either racism can be eradicated
or an unfair history can be repeated. To this point, there have been mixed results
in New Orleans. Since Katrina, there has been a wave of activism in the city,
indicating that there is hope for a positive change (Bazile, 2006). Nevertheless,
problems in housing and education have further damaged the government?s image
(e.g., Elie, 2006).
More generally, after almost 250 years of racial inequality in the United States,
the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which disproportionately affected the lives of
Black citizens, could serve as a catalyst for leaders and policy makers in the United
States to commit themselves fully to addressing institutional and individual forms
of racism that continue to harm and restrict opportunities for millions of citizens.
If the United States is serious about eradicating racism and its consequences, it is
important to learn more about the dynamics of racial attitudes and their underlying
cognitive, emotional, and developmental processes. Moreover, it is important that
policy makers be made aware of these advances and incorporate them directly into
policy formulations. Thus, in addition to providing the financial support that is
necessary to address the immediate needs of victims of Hurricane Katrina, it is
120 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
also important to invest substantially, in terms of enhanced research funding, to
make the elimination of racism a national priority. Long-term national investments
to understand the basic processes of racism and discrimination and to facilitate
partnerships between scholars and policy makers can be critical in combating
racism, which can bring racial groups in the United States closer together rather
than pushing them further apart.
References
ABC News. (2006, January 13). Available housing for Katrina evacuees caught in federal red tape:
VA offered FEMA thousands of single-family homes; deal formalized four months after storm
hit. Retrieved January 13, 2006, from http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/HurricaneKatrina/story?id=
1503846.
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Retrieved July 7, 2006 from
http://www.acorn.org/index.php?id=10223.
Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Armstrong, T. D., Crum, L. D., Reiger, R. H., Bennett, T. A., & Edwards, L. J. (1999). Attitudes of
Africa Americans toward participation medical research. Journal of Applied Social Psychology,
29, 553?574.
Bazile, K. T. (2006, June 25). Celebrating teamwork: Residents and neighborhood groups share information
on rebuilding efforts?and have a little fun. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June
29, 2006 from http://www.nola.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-15/1151219042101580.xml?
NZNPMT&coll=1.
Blank, R. M. (2001). An overview of trends in social and economic well-being, by race. In N. J.
Smelser, W. J. Wilson, & F. Mitchell, F. (Eds.), Racial trends and their consequences (Vol. 1,
pp. 21?39). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Bradshaw, L., & Slonsky, L. B. (2005, September 5). Hurricane Katrina-Our Experiences. Retrieved
July 7, 2006 from http://sfsocialists.livejournal.com/3687.html.
Brewer, M. B. (1979). Ingroup bias in the minimal intergroup situation: A cognitive-motivational
analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 86, 307?324.
Broder, J. M., Wilgoren, J., & Alford, J. (2005, September 5). Storm and crisis: Racial tension; amid
criticism of federal efforts, charges of racism are lodged. New York Times, p. A9.
Burchfiel, N. (2006, January 13). Update: Statistics confirm earlier report on Katrina deaths.CNS News.
Retrieved May 7, 2006 from http://www.cnsnews.com/Nation/Archive/200601/NAT20060113a.
html.
Callebs, C., Gupta, S., Lavendera, E., Lawrence, C., & Starr, B. (2005, September 2). Convoys bring
relief to New Orleans: Refugees cheer envoys, Bush signs $10.5 billion aid package. CNN.
Retrieved April 25, 2006, from http://us.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/katrina.impact/index.html.
CensusScope. (2006). University of Michigan, Social Science Data Analysis Network, (2000: Segregation:
Dissimilarity Indices. Retrieved May 7, 2006, from the CensusScope website: http://www.
censusscope.org/us/rank dissimilarity white black.html.
CNN. (2005, September 2). The big disconnect on New Orleans: The official version; then there?s the
in-the-trenches version. Retrieved April 19, 2006, from http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/
katrina.response/index.html.
Crocker, J., Luhtanen, R., Broadnax, S., & Blaine, B. E. (1999). Belief in U.S. government conspiracies
against Blacks among Black and White college students: Powerlessness or system blame?
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 941?953.
Darley, J. M., & Latan?e, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 377?383.
Davis, S. M., & Reid, R. (1999). Practicing participatory research in American Indian communities.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 69S, 4, 755S?759S.
Racism and Katrina 121
Dewan, S. (2006, April 18). Evacuee study finds declining health. New York Times. Retrieved April 18,
2006 from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/18/us/nationalspecial/18health.html?ex=
1147320000&en=1c18f8a508471e51&ei=5070.
Donze, F., & Filosa, G. (2006, April 2). Bridge march hails justice, voter rights; Thousands join
Jesse Jackson in crossing river. The Times-Picayune, Metro, p. 1. Retrieved July 8, 2006 from
http:/ /web.lexis-nexis.com/universe/document? m=7e65e5db04cc42b210fbf69a1664dae1&
docnum=11&wchp=dGLbVtz-zSkVA& md5=baa1fcee5aa80ffba404c2ecb4fc5904.
Dovidio, J. F., Brigham, J., Johnson, B. T., & Gaertner, S. L. (1996). Stereotyping, prejudice, and
discrimination: Another look. In N. Macrae, C. Stangor, & M. Hewstone (Eds.), Stereotypes
and stereotyping (pp. 276?319). New York: Guilford.
Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2000). Aversive racism and selection decisions: 1989 and 1999.
Psychological Science, 11, 319?323.
Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2004). Aversive racism. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental
social psychology (Vol. 36, pp. 1?51). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Dovidio, J. F., Gaertner, S. L., & Kawakami, K. (2003). The contact hypothesis: The past, present, and
the future. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 6, 5?21.
Dovidio, J. F., Gaertner, S. L., Kawakami, K., & Hodson, G. (2002). Why can?t we just get along?
Interpersonal biases and interracial distrust. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology,
8, 88?102.
Dovidio, J. F., Mann, J., & Gaertner, S. L. (1989). Resistance to affirmative action: The implications
of aversive racism. In F. A. Blanchard & F. J. Crosby (Eds.), Affirmative action in perspective
(pp. 83?103). New York: Springer-Verlag.
Earl, C. E., & Penney, P. J. (2001). The significance of trust in the research consent process with
African Americans. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 23, 753?762.
Elie, L. (2006, June 16). HUD builds Katrina hall of shame. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 29,
2006 from http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-15/1150440448324
60.xml&coll=1.
Feagin, J. R., & Sikes, M. P. (1994). Living with racism: The Black middle-class experience. Boston,
MA: Beacon Press.
Feagin, F. R., & Vera, H. (1995). White racism: The basics. New York: Routledge.
Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. (2002). Nationwide summary statistics for the 2001
HMDA data fact sheet. Retrieved May 7, 2006 from http://www.ffiec.gov/hmcrpr/hm fs01.htm.
Filosa, G. (2006a, June 25). School leaders assail move to charters: Many at summit see it as invasion by
state. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 29, 2006 from http://www.nola.com/search/index.
ssf?/base/news-2/1151219470101580.xml?NSBED&coll=1.
Filosa, G. (2006b, June 28). Displaced residents file suit: Local, federal housing agencies face civil rights
allegations. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 29, 2006 from http://www.nola.com/search/
index.ssf?/base/news-15/1151476788163220.xml?NZNPMT&coll=1.
Fischer, M. J., & Massey, D. S. (2004). The ecology of racial discrimination. City and Community,
3(3), 221?241.
Gaertner, S. L., & Dovidio, J. F. (1977). The subtlety of White racism, arousal, and helping behavior.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 691?707.
Gaertner, S. L., & Dovidio, J. F. (1986). The aversive form of racism. In J. F. Dovidio & S. L. Gaertner
(Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination, and racism (pp. 61?89). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
Gaertner, S. L., Rust, M. C., Dovidio, J. F., Bachman, B. A., & Anastasio, P. A. (1996). The Contact
hypothesis: The role of a common ingroup identity on reducing intergroup bias among majority
and minority group members. In J. L. Nye & A. M. Brower (Eds.), What?s social about social
cognition? (pp. 230?360). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Gallup. (2002). Poll topics & trends: Race relations. Washington, DC: The Gallup Organization.
http:/www.gallup.com/poll/topics/race.asp.
Glanton, D. (2005, February 21). Death stokes racial tension in Big Easy.Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on
May 11, 2006, from http://web.lexis.nexis.com/universe/document? m=1084a6ceec5bb908ac
28e0f8e0c56741& docnum=1&wchp=dGLbVtb-zSkVA& md5=d9c9c411cd47dceaf1d3e679
ef2f073d.
122 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
Hamilton, B. (2006, February 26). Evacuees recount gunfire at bridge blockade; Gretna, Jeff officials
defend Katrina action. The Times-Picayune, National, p. 1. Retrieved July 8, 2006 from
http:/ /web.lexis-nexis.com/universe/document? m=7e65e5db04cc42b210fbf69a1664dae1&
docnum=17&wchp=dGLbVtz-zSkVA& md5=a2c52b77050a0db353ec86dbeb30f2cf.
Hamilton, D. L., & Trolier, T. K. (1986). Stereotypes and stereotyping: An overview of the cognitive
approach. In J. F. Dovidio & S. L. Gaertner (Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination, and racism (pp.
127?163). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
Hancock, L. (2005, December 7). In a city split and sinking before the storm, racial issues boil. The
Dallas Morning News. Retrieved on May 11, 2006, from http://web.lexis.nexis.com/universe/
document? m=949ad005ce157e5c25025cfedb3eea6f& docnum=1&wchp=dGLbVtb-zSkVA
& md5=ce9f19e57614fd49ea8dedc44a952643.
Hau, S. S. (2005, October 20). Chertoff vows to ?re-engineer? preparedness: Secretary recognizes flaws
in hurricane response but defends department. Washington Post, p. A2.
Hodson, G., Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2002). Processes in racial discrimination: Differential
weighting of conflicting information. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 460?471.
Howell, S. E., Perry, H. L., & Vile, M. (2004). Black/White cities: Evaluating the police. Political
Behavior, 26, 45?68.
Jenkins, R. R. (2001). The health of minority children in the year 2000: The role of government
programs in improving the health status of America?s children. In N. J. Smelser, W. J. Wilson,
& F. Mitchell, F. (Eds.),Racial trends and their consequences(Vol. 2, pp. 351?370). Washington,
DC: National Academy Press.
Jones, J. M. (1997). Prejudice and racism (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kovel, J. (1970). White racism: A psychohistory. New York: Pantheon.
Kunzelman, M. (2006, April 18). After Katrina, poor tenants fight eviction. Guardian Unlimited.
Retrieved April 18, 2006 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,,-5763810,00.html.
Lacey, B. C., & Lacey, J. I. (1974). Studies of heart rate and other bodily processes in sensorimotor
behavior. In P. A. Obrist, A. H. Black, J. Brenner, & L. V. DiCara (Eds.), Caridiovascular
psychophysiology (pp. 538?564). Chicago: Aldine.
Leopold, T. (2005, September 1). ?Louisiana 1927?: A song and a tragedy. CNN. Retrieved December
19, 2005, from http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/08/31/eye.ent.louisiana/.
Madden, J. F. (2000). Changes in Income Inequality within U.S. Metropolitan Areas. Kalamazoo, MI:
Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
Massey, D. S. (2001). Residential segregation and neighborhood conditions in U.S. metropolitan areas.
In N. J. Smelser, W. J. Wilson, & F. Mitchell, F. (Eds.), Racial trends and their consequences
(Vol. 1, pp. 391?434). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
McConahay, J. B. (1986). Modern racism, ambivalence, and the modern racism scale. In J. F. Dovidio
& S. L. Gaertner (Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination, and racism (pp. 91?125). Orlando, FL:
Academic Press.
Nadler, A. (2002). Inter-group helping relations as power relations: Helping relations as affirming or
challenging inter-group hierarchy. Journal of Social Issues, 58, 487?502.
Nadler, A., & Halabi, S. (2006). Intergroup helping as status relations: Effects of status stability ingroup
identification and type of help on receptivity to help from high status group. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 97-110.
Nossiter, A. (2006, March 7). Demolition of homes begins in sections of New Orleans. New York Times,
p. A12.
Oliver, M. L., & Shapiro, T. M. (2001). Wealth and racial stratification. In N. J. Smelser, W. J. Wilson, &
F. Mitchell, F. (Eds.), Racial trends and their consequences (Vol. 2, pp. 222?251). Washington,
DC: National Academy Press.
Otten, S., & Moskowitz, G. B. (2000). Evidence for implicit evaluative in-group bias: Affect-based
spontaneous trait inference in a minimal group paradigm. Journal of Experimental Social
Psychology, 36, 77?89.
Pettigrew, T. F. (1998). Intergroup Contact Theory. Annual Review of Psychology, 49, 65?85.
Phelps, R. E., Taylor, J. D., & Gerard, P. A. (2001). Cultural mistrust, ethnic identity, racial identity and
self-esteem among ethnically diverse black students. Journal of Counseling & Development,
79, 209?216.
Racism and Katrina 123
Quigley, B. (2006, June 23). No place like home. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 29, 2006 from
http:/ /www.nola.com/news/t-p/otheropinions/index.ssf?/base/news-0/115104297973020.xml
&coll=1.
Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. (1968). Washington, DC: Washington
Government Printing Office.
Ross, B. (2005, September 2). Katrina after math raises questions of race: Largely poor, Black survivors
deal with charges of lawlessness, loaded history. ABC News. Retrieved December 19, 2005,
from http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/HurricaneKatrina/story?id=1089382&page=1.
Saad, L. (2005, September 14). Blacks bash Bush for Katrina response. Gallup Poll News Service. Retrieved
May 11, 2006, from http://web.lexis.nexis.com/universe/document? m=64eb31361594
5542f8e79163963b457b& docnum=1&wchp=dGLbVtb-zSkVA& md5=bdaa8c7fa7043bf8c4
79c3ac46ae08d0.
Saucier, D. A., Miller, C. T., & Doucet, N. (2005). Differences in helping Whites and Blacks: A
meta-analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 9, 2?16.
Scott, R. T. (2005, September 28). Nagin says some residents can return Friday. The Times-Picayune.
Retrieved July 7, 2006 from http://www.nola.com/newslogs/breakingtp/index.ssf?/mtlogs/
nola Times-Picayune/archives/2005 09 28.html.
Sears, D. O., Henry, P. J., & Kosterman, R. (2000). Egalitarian values and contemporary racial politics.
In D. O. Sears, J. Sidanius, & L. Bobo (Eds.), Racialized politics: The debate about racism in
America (pp. 75?117). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Seitles, M. (1996). The perpetuation of residential racial segregation in America: Historical discrimination,
modern forms of exclusion, and inclusionary remedies. Journal of Land Use and
Environmental Law, 14(1), 1?30.
Select Bipartisan Committee toInvestigate the Preparation for andResponse to Hurricane Katrina.
(2006). A Failure of Initiative: The Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate
the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina. Retrieved May 7, 2006, from
http://katrina.house.gov/full katrina report.htm.
Sharockman, A. (2005, September 17). Neighboring town denied evacuees. St. Petersburg Times, National,
p. 1A. Retrieved July 8, 2006 from http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe/document? m=
ab7637d9749a572f7de2a64d85077bd8& docnum=60&wchp=dGLbVtz-zSkVA& md5=2a6c
8b08704ae5bbf00fb128f03382ed.
Shavers-Hornaday, V. L., Lynch, C. F., Burmeister, L. F., & Torner, J. C. (1997). Why are African
Americans underrepresented in medical research studies? Impediments to participation. Ethnicity
and Health, 2, 31?45.
Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (1999). Social dominance: An intergroup theory of social hierarchy and
oppression. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Smedley, B. D., Stith, A. Y., & Nelson, A. R. (Eds.) (2003). Unequal treatment: Confronting racial
and ethnic disparities in health care. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Smith, M. R. (2006, January 27). Study cites racial makeup of New Orleans. Associated Press Online.
Retrieved May 11, 2006, from http://web.lexis.nexis.com/universe/document? m=4bd229970d
2824f5c1f0be58a630e484& docnum=1&wchp=dGLbVtb-zSkVA& md5=9a553b535847095
6f7d1b62c5e315b4e.
Tajfel, H. (1970). Experiments in intergroup discrimination. Scientific American, 223, 96?102.
Treadway, J. (2005, June 27). Groups tackle recent racial tensions; Local organizations strive for harmony.
Times-Picayune (New Orleans). Retrieved on May 11, 2006, from http://web.lexis.nexis.
com/universe/document? m=f4b5ac9ab314380e42b64997ec7cc73e& docnum=1&wchp=dG
LbVtb-zSkVA& md5=47314d18311364c9c615747803f5fbea.
KRISTIN E. HENKEL is pursuing her Ph.D. in social psychology at the University
of Connecticut. Her current research interests are in stereotyping, prejudice, and
discrimination. She is a National Institute of Mental Health Fellow in the Social
Processes of AIDS Training Program supported by grant T32 MH074387.
124 Henkel, Dovidio, and Gaertner
JOHN F. DOVIDIO is professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut.
His research interests in social psychology are in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination;
social power and nonverbal communication; and altruism and helping.
He is the editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology?Interpersonal
Relations and Group Processes.
SAMUEL L. GAERTNER is professor of Psychology at the University of Delaware.
His research interests involve intergroup relations, with a primary focus on reducing
prejudice, discrimination and racism. He has served on the Council of the
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) and on the editorial
boards of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social
Psychology Bulletin, and Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. He and John
Dovidio shared SPSSI?s Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize in 1985 and in
1998 and the Kurt Lewin Award in 2004.


 

PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH nursing Assignment Tutor TODAY AND GET AN AMAZING DISCOUNT

get-your-custom-paper


Buy Custom Nursing Papers

Buy Nursing Papers

 

The post Discuss some of the factors that increased the vulnerability of African-American residents (Henkel article) appeared first on nursing Assignment Tutor.

 

"Are you looking for this answer? We can Help click Order Now"